“Wow.” That was the reaction had by every football fan in the United States after Trent Richardson’s trade to the Colts. Every Fantasy Footballer? “Wow; who’s gonna start for the Browns?”
Vets know that starting running backs are the most sought after piece in FFB – and rightfully so. Most leagues allow teams to start 2-3 RBs in a given week; considering that true #1 backs touch the ball close to 30 times a game, it’s no surprise they get scoffed up quickly. The opportunity that awaits top running backs is also what gives immense value – if not more – to those who hold the position on a bad offense. Coaches who are not so confident in their QB or pass-blockers are likely to call more running plays. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the Browns are starting former undrafted free agent Brian Hoyer this week, in place of injured Brandon Weeden. Hmm.
So, who will be leading the way for the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 and beyond? As of right now, it’s Bobby Rainey. The Western Kentucky graduate went undrafted in 2012, despite being the second-leading rusher in all the FBS with 141.25 YPG (three spots ahead of Trent Richardson, by the way). He made it onto the Ravens practice squad and made some noise as a kick returner, but signed with the Browns earlier this month upon being cut. Rainey is only 5’7, but he runs hard and has good vision.
Rainey is not alone in the backfield, though, as veteran Chris Ogbonnaya is looking to re-ignite the moderate success he enjoyed as the Browns back for some time in 2011.
The former Texas Longhorn has actually been used as the team’s fullback so far this season, but Browns fans don’t have to look too far back for a fullback who had some success as the primary ball-carrier (Peyton Hillis, anyone?) Ogbonnaya is expected to play a larger role as the offense, whether he is the starting half-back or not.
Alas, all this thorough analysis may be for nothing if the Browns do what many expect and sign Willis McGahee. The 31-year old has been out of action since losing a spot on the Broncos. His 2012 season featured solid production, but it ended early thanks to a knee injury. While McGahee, who’s signing appears imminent, would certainly start over the likes of Rainey and Ogbonnaya, though he is definitely not the long-term solution for the Browns. Thus, don’t be surprised to see the younger guys, and even perhaps some not currently on the roster, get 14 weeks-worth of chances to prove themselves.
Now, does all of this mean Trent Richardson’s value will take a hit since he’s on the high-powered passing Colts? Maybe, but not likely. With Andrew Luck under center, Richardson will see more friendly defenses, not to mention bigger holes thanks to a better offensive line. Richardson’s chances to touch the ball will certainly decrease, especially with Ahmad Bradshaw still in town and healthy, but he is likely to do much, much more with the opportunities he’s given.
Finally, does anyone think the Cowboys should have made the move for Trent Richardson if all it took was a 1st rounder? Sound off in the comment below!
Also, e-mail questions and ideas to [email protected] for next Thursday’s Fantasy Football segment!
Topics: Andrew Luck, Bobby Rainey, Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, Broncos, Browns Offense, Browns Rb, Browns Running Back, Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland Browns, Colts, Denver Broncos, Fantasy Football, Indianapolis Colts, New Rb, New Running Back, NFL Trades, Peyton Hillis, Rainey, Rb, Richardson, Robert Rainey, Running Back, Trade, Trades, Trent, Trent Richardson, Willis McGahee