Analyzing the Trent Richardson Trade

By: Evan

T-Rich will be moving on to bigger and better things with the Colts Courtesy of ESPN

The Browns shocked the NFL world Wednesday by trading Trent Richardson, the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick in this years draft. The new Browns’ front office clearly viewed the former Alabama star as expendable and proceeded to make the first major move of the regime. Cleveland will look to rebuild for the future using the first round pick to find a definitive franchise player.  Let’s look at the trade’s impact for both teams.

Indianapolis Colts:

This trade will help take the pressure off of Andrew Luck Courtesy of NFLHispano

The Indianapolis Colts now have two of the top three picks in the 2012 draft and maybe one of the most dangerous young duos in the NFL. Trent Richardson will provide balance to an air-raid squad that ranked 22nd in rushing yards last year and only scored 11 rushing touchdowns , with five of those from Andrew Luck. Trent Richardson will also provide protection for Luck, another necessity for the Colts.  Jim Irsay has been vocal about protecting his young star QB, and has even tweeted about it.  Another dimension of this trade is Richardson’s pass catching ability.   He caught 58 passes with the Browns last year and should exceed that amount with Luck at QB.  This is a major move for the Colts, and a big plus in establishing a more balanced and potent offense.

Cleveland Browns:

One of these three stars will be leading the Browns next year. Courtesy of ESPN

It seems that every year is either a bounce-back or rebuilding  year for the Browns, but this may really be the last year of tanking for Cleveland fans. The Browns experimented with the 29-year old Brandon Weeden, and now it is time for the Browns to get serious about turning around their franchise.  Although T-Rich was clearly their most talented and most promising player, the modern day NFL places emphasis on throwing the ball downfield. With this year’s potent QB draft class, the Browns should have little trouble finding the right man to lead their franchise. If they have don’t have the top pick to take an elite QB, they could use the Colts’ pick as a trading piece to move up and select their quarterback.  We have seen rookies turn around franchises (see Luck and the Colts, RG3 and the Redskins and Russell Wilson and the Seahawks),  and the Browns have the potential to do the same. Cleveland has young and emerging players like Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon, who have great potential. If the Browns add more offense skill position players using their other picks, look for the Browns to become a threat in the AFC North.  Though talented, Trent Richardson was expendable according to the new Browns’ regime, and they used his value set the stage for a much better future.

Conclusion:

This trade should be a win-win for both teams.  Trent Richardson will contribute in Indy, and expand their offense options substantially, and Cleveland will finally land its franchise QB in a stacked draft.  Let’s hope Richardson stays healthy and avoids injuries which have nagged him at Alabama and in the NFL.  And for the Browns, there are no guaranteed successes in the draft, but the deal looks good for everyone.

Stats from ESPN

Fantasy Football outlook for week 3 in the NFL

By: Jon

Quarterbacks:

After a solid week from the quarterback position that saw 8 QBs eclipse 20 points, 2 QBs passing the 30 point mark, the quarterbacks, this week, should provide more points for their owners. Some of the top quarterbacks have weak opponents, which should allow them to accumulate a lot of touchdowns and points.

Best:

Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning should be the top scoring quarterback this week in fantasy football. Manning has been the best quarterback this season and faces a dreadful Oakland Raider defense at home. The Raiders secondary will be forced to guard the most talented trio of receivers in the league plus a solid tight end in Denver. The defenders will not be used to the altitude, which should give the receivers an advantage, especially late in the game. Manning is projected to score 23 points by ESPN, but I believe that he will score more than 25 points, as long as he plays the entire game. The last two weeks Manning has picked apart the past two champions, making them look horrible. Manning should be able to pass for over 350 yards and 3 touchdowns. Peyton scored 20 points last week while only scoring two touchdowns. This week, Moreno will not have another great game so Manning will be forced to carry the load and pass for a few touchdowns. If somehow you have another top quarterback, I would sit him because Manning will be the top scoring quarterback this week.

Top quarterback unlikely to meet expectations:

Tom Brady should experience another nightmare of a week. Brady and the Pats stay at home this week and play the Tampa Bay Bucs. Brady has been uncharacteristically bad this season, 23rd among quarterbacks in fantasy points. Brady does not have any weapons on the outside, which significantly detracts from his fantasy value. While the receivers continue dropping passes, Brady should be on the bench. The Patriots look like they will be without Gronk for the third straight week, which destroys Brady’s fantasy value. Although Brady is expected to account for 17 points, I believe that he will be closer to 10 points than 20 points this week. The Bucs have a solid defense, ranked 9th against quarterbacks and allowed Brees to only score 12 points last week. I would suggest picking up a quarterback, like the one I will mention later, to start for Brady, until Gronk returns from his injury. Although it is strange sitting one of the greatest QBs of all time, I am afraid that it is a must this week against the stout Bucs secondary.

Quarterback that will surprise owners:

For the second straight week, I will pick Sam Bradford to be my overachiever. The Rams finally gave the former first overall pick some weapons and it looks like he is improving rapidly. Bradford has passed for at least 299 yards and two touchdowns the last two weeks. Bradford has been one of the best fantasy quarterbacks this season, fifth most points among quarterbacks. Bradford is available in about 8% of league, but he should be apart of every fantasy roster this week. Although Bradford does not have the pedigree like Tom Brady, I would start him over Brady because he has more options and a more favorable match up this week. Bradford will face another favorable matchup this week when he heads into Dallas to play the Dallas Cowboys. The Boys are ranked 28th against quarterbacks this season. As a fantasy owner myself, I know that you must ride the hot hand and Bradford has been one of the best quarterbacks during the opening quarter of the season.

Sleepers this week: Schaub, Stafford, Romo, and Flacco

Running Backs:

After a shocking week that saw three of the top four running back performances coming from sleepers, fantasy owners should be searching to find the next great performance. The running back position has fluctuated this season because of injury and poor performance.

Top Running Back:

Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch should attempt to reproduced the greatness that he accomplished last week. After a 30 point, 3 touchdown performance, Lynch will have the opportunity to replicate his performance. Lynch and the Seahawks remain at home to play the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars are one of the worst teams and defenses in football, which plays into the benefit of fantasy owners. The Seahawks should be up early and attempt to run the ball in order to slow down the game. Lynch is expected to score only 16 points according to ESPN, but I believe that he will score closer to 20 or 25 points. Lynch should be able to reach the end zone at least twice while rumbling for around 100 yards. Lynch should be the top scoring running back again this week as long as he is not injured or taken out of the game prematurely.

Top running back unlikely to meet expectations:

CJ Spiller is rated as third best running back for week 3. However, I vehemently disagree with ESPN’s assertion. Although Spiller is a great back in the NFL, he is not a great fantasy back. Since he splits carries with Fred Jackson, his production takes a major hit. Spiller averaged 16 carries per game for the first two weeks while other top runners usually average between 20-25 carries per game. Although that may not seem like a big difference between 22 and 16, the running back with 6 more touches usually gains 25 more yards and has a higher chance of reaching the end zone. During the first two games, Spiller only has 14 points and has not reached the end zone. Spiller will also run into trouble because he is facing the New York Jets. The Jets have one of the best defenses in the league and their run defense has been great so far. Besides for shutting down other top picks, Doug Martin and Stevan Ridley, in the first two games, the defense is ranked fifth among fantasy defenses against the run. I would not suggest starting Spiller unless one does not have another decent running back because I cannot see him gaining more than 12 points.

Running back who will surprise owners:

DeAngelo Williams looks like he may have a big game at home against the Giants this week. Although he has not been great this season, 15 points, he has the potential to score a lot of points. Williams is a solid fantasy back because he is the Panther’s only legitimate threat at the running back position. Williams has averaged 20 carries and 85 yards during the first two games of the season. Williams is due for a touchdown because of the number of touches he receives during the game. The Giants have been poor this season against the run. Last week, Moreno looked like one of the best backs in football and scored two touchdowns. Although I expect the Giants to play hard and get the win, Williams should be able to put up about 15 points this game, which is solid for a flex option.

Sleepers this week: Powell, Murray, McGahee, and McFadden

Wide Receivers:

The wide receiver posted solid performances last week, 6 20 point performers. Wide receivers have become increasingly more valuable as teams decide to throw the ball over 40 times per game.

Top wide receiver:

Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson

The top wide receiver this week will be Calvin Johnson. Megatron is one of the most dynamic and dangerous players in the league because of his size, skill, and physicality. After a poor week one where he caught only 4 passes for 37 yards, Johnson exploded in week two by posting 117 yards and most importantly 2 touchdowns. Johnson is a machine that should be started every week. This week Johnson and the Lions are facing the Washington Redskins on the road. This season, Washington has been horrible on defense, especially against the pass. Last week, it looked like Aaron Rodgers was going to throw for 600 yards and 6 touchdowns. However, he settled for 480 and 4 touchdowns. Last week, James Jones, a big and physical receiver, dominated the Redskins because of his size and ability to find holes in the zone. Stafford should be able to post similar numbers because he has Johnson exploiting the defense. Johnson should have a huge game, 150 yards and a pair of scores.

Overrated Wide Receiver:

Julian Edelman is projected to score the fourth most fantasy points for wide receivers according to ESPN. However, I disagree with that statement because he is facing the Bucs. Julian Edelman is the top receiver on the Pats so he will be blanketed by Darrelle Revis. Revis is the best corner in the game and should shut Edelman down on the outside. Even when Revis lays off Edelman, he will be smothered by safeties Mark Barron and Deshon Goldson. Edelman may be Brady’s favorite target, but he is not a big play receiver and does not score a lot of touchdowns. Last week, Edelman had a good game, 13 catches, but he only accumulated 78 yards. In order for Edelman to be a top wide receiver, he must score at least two touchdowns. However, I do not see that occurring. Edelman will probably score in the 5-10 point range so owners should keep him on the bench, unless their wide receivers are depleted, like the Pats.

Wide Receiver who will have a surprisingly good game:

The rookie out of Clemson, DeAndre Hopkins, should have his second straight good day at wide receiver. Hopkins is a physically imposing player that can dominate corners and score a lot of touchdowns. Last week, Hopkins broke out for 117 yards and the game winning touchdown. With Andre Johnson’s status in flux, Hopkins could become the number one receiver for the Texans against the Ravens. Even if Johnson does play, Hopkins should have a good game because Johnson will demand double coverage. Although he is old, Johnson is still a great wide receiver and teams must put a safety to limit his success. Against 1-1 match ups, Hopkins has the physical ability to catch the ball when the defender is in his face. The Ravens have been a bad defense this year. Currently, they rank 27th against the pass. Hopkins is the complementary wide receiver that the Texans have wanted for a long time.

Sleepers at Wide Receiver: Austin, Brown, Hill, and Steve Johnson

Tight end:

The tight end position had a poor week as only one player recorded more than 20 points. However, with the possible addition of Gronk, the tight end position will grow deeper.

Best:

Jimmy Graham
Jimmy Graham

Jimmy Graham should have a solid game for the Saints this week against the poor Arizona defense at home. Graham is tied for the most points among tight ends, after his great performance against the Bucs. Graham is currently the best tight end in the game because of his size, speed, and skill. Graham is slated to be the number one tight end this week and I agree with ESPN’s prediction. In week one, the Cardinals were devastated when they had to play a tight end like Jared Cook. However, this week they will be in a lot of trouble because Graham should be able to put on a show at home. Last week, Graham scored 23 points while totalling 179 yards and 1 touchdown. Although he will not put up better or similar numbers, I think that Graham will finish with more than 100 yards and one or two touchdowns.

Overrated tight end:

Jason Witten looks like he may have another tough week against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams have been a solid defense, especially against tight ends. The Ram’s safeties and linebackers have done a great job at containing the tight end position. After a great game, I expect Tony Romo to throw at Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, instead of Witten. Last week, the Chiefs were able to limit Witten to 3 catches and 12 yards. The Rams will use a similar tactic in order to limit the Cowboys offense and stop them from gaining first downs. Last week, the Rams were able Tony Gonzalez to 37 yards and almost won the game. The Rams seem dedicated to stopping the tight end, which will spell trouble for Witten and his owners this weekend.

Underrated tight end:

Many owners should consider starting Greg Olsen this week against the New York Giants at home. Olsen has been solid this season, 19 points, including 14 from last week. Olsen and Cam Newton seem to have a relationship that should make owners happy. Last week, Olsen caught seven passes for 84 yards and a touchdown against the Bills. The Giants have been one of the worst teams at defending the run for a long time because of their poor safety and linebacker performances. Over the past two weeks, the Giants have allowed 29 points and 3 touchdowns to tight ends, which ranks 26th in the NFL. Cam should be able to find his safety blanket for 75 yards and a touchdown this week. Unless you have a top five tight end, every owner should consider starting Olsen this week at tight end.

Sleepers at Tight End: Bennett, Winslow, Fleener, and Pettigrew

Stats and pics from ESPN.com