The Cleveland Browns selected Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the third overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Fantasy analysis: Cleveland traded up one spot to ensure they landed Richardson, and if they are right it will be worth every bit of the deal. Cleveland's backfield provides little competition for Richardson, so expect him to receive the lion's share of carries during his first season. The offensive line is capable of opening holes for him, and the Browns need a competent back to take some pressure off Colt McCoy.
Fantasy owners should consider the Alabama product as the best rookie option at the position in 2012, but that doesn't mean he is a lock for elite production. Cleveland's defense still has holes that could prevent the offense from being able to rely on the run as much as they would like to.
A fair projection is just over 1,000 rushing yards and a half-dozen ground scores. Based on talent alone, he certainly could achieve greater success. However, circumstance may limit him. Richardson, a reasonably capable receiver out of the backfield, could see a lot of work through the air due to Cleveland's lackluster receiving corps.
Draft him as a low-end No. 2 back if you must, but he is a safer third option for fantasy football teams in single-year leagues. His long-term prognostication is much more appealing once Cleveland establishes more talent around him.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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