Fantasy football is supposed to bring you joy and fun. Even for some of us that take it seriously, it really shouldn’t get you to a point where you are screaming at your computer, TV, etc. With that being said, every major site I look at has a man by the name of Trent Richardson as a top 25 running back headed into 2014.
I know projections are a guessing game and all, but predicting the things they are is like predicting that I could rush for 100 yards in an NFL game. People are just going to go through these experts rankings and assume they know what they are doing, and hey, I do that a lot too, but this was such a glaring mistake in their part that I decided to release my anger on my blog and hopefully save a few of you from drafting this guy.
Ok. So let’s look at ESPN, Yahoo, and CBS sports projections for Trent Richardson’s 2014 season:
ESPN: 264 carries, 987 yards, 3.7 average, 35 receptions, 316 yards, 7 TDs
Yahoo: 206 carries, 711 yards, 3.45 average, 30 receptions, 239 yards, 8 TDs
CBS: 241 carries, 914 yards, 3.8 average, 40 receptions, 302 yards, 7 TDs
Now, let’s look at Richardson’s career statistics in the 2 years he has been in the NFL:
2012: 267 carries, 950 yards, 3.6 average, 51 receptions, 367 yards, 12 TDs
2013: 188 carries, 563 yards, 3.0 average, 35 receptions, 316 yards, 4 TDs
If you base the projections off of what Richardson did in 2012, then you can justify the reason behind it. The problem is that 2013 happened, and ignoring that seems to be what these sites are doing. He was active in all 16 games last year, but he got benched and only technically started 10. That’s not as important (though it shows that they did get frustrated with his inability to play football).
Going into 2013, many people were all in on Richardson. Many people were putting him as a late first round selection. That is understandable. The problem that some had with doing that was Richardson’s rushing yards per attempt. 3.6 is not very good. He depended on his high volume in touches and nice amount of TDs (12). He was a rookie and some could argue that he was going to only improve and get that efficiency number up.
Well, it did the exact opposite. He averaged 3.4 yards per carry in Cleveland before they abandoned ship on him and traded him to the Colts, where he averaged 2.9 yards per carry. This can put blame on the offensive line, right? Wrong. Donald Brown was the guy who ended up starting a few games over Richardson, and he carried the ball 102 times for 537 yards (5.3 yards/carry). Donald Brown clearly ran the ball better than Trent Richardson.
Ahmad Bradshaw seems to be the only running back on the team right now that could challenge for Richardson’s carries right now, and I think people are writing him off too early. Before Bradshaw suffered a season ending injury, he was pretty efficient for the Colts (41 carries, 186 yards, 4.5 Y/C, 2TDs in 3 games). Small sample size for sure, but it just adds on to the point that running backs produced in Indianapolis.
But not Trent Richardson.
Do I expect him to be as bad as he was last year to continue? Yes. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he improved a little. 2.9 yards per carry is unacceptable and he will be benched if he keeps that up. I just find it laughable that the hype train put this guy as a top 10 RB last year and everything fell apart in a talent aspect, yet we still all believe. You want to bank on him getting double digit TDs again? Go ahead. It doesn’t happen anymore in the NFL for RBs unless you are a freak like Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, or LeSean McCoy.
Projections based solely on historical statistics are going to leave you with very flawed rankings, but in this case I can’t ignore what I see on the field AND what I see on the stat sheet. This guy is not worth my time, nor a spot on my roster this year. Let the rest of your league draft Trent Richardson.