Montario Hardesty: Browns Running Back Is Short-Term Fix in Fantasy Football

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IOctober 16, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 16: Montario Hardesty #20 of the Cleveland Browns runs against the Green Bay Packers during a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 16, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Montario Hardesty had a solid showing in Week 6 of the NFL season against the Cincinnati Bengals, but fantasy owners should only pick Hardesty up off the waiver wire as a short-term solution.

In the win, Hardesty carried the ball 15 times for 56 yards and a touchdown while replacing the injured Trent Richardson. As for Richardson, he is being listed as questionable (per for this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, so Hardesty figures to have an increased workload once again.

Starting Hardesty would be a great way for fantasy owners to pick up some solid points from the running back position this week.

The Browns will be taking on the Colts, a team that has been horrid against the run this season, ranking No. 29 in the NFL. Last week, Indianapolis allowed the New York Jets and their No. 15-ranked rushing attack to scorch them for 252 yards on the ground, 161 of which came from Shonn Greene.

As bad as the Colts have been at stopping the run, their No. 3-ranked pass defense has been outstanding. That will make it difficult for the Brandon Weeden and the Browns' passing attack to gain major yardage through the air.

Hardesty will be relied upon to open things up for the passing attack and if nothing happens for Weeden, look for Cleveland to lean heavily on its running back, giving Hardesty extra attempts.

Again, Richardson could very well be in the mix, but poor health will have him more like a backup at most this week.

Fantasy owners should be wary of depending on Hardesty in the coming weeks of the season, however.

It will be important to watch the continued injury status of Richardson. There is no doubt the Browns' No. 1 pick in the draft is the future of this team at running back, so eventually he'll find his way back to every-down duties.

But if his injury lingers, don't expect the Browns to force him out on the field when they are doing as poorly as they are this season with a 1-5 record. Richardson's future is just too important to risk on a season that looks to be a throwaway in the first place.

Rest easy in knowing that Hardesty will be a major player in the Browns offense this week, but keep a close eye on that injury report in the games to follow, as Richardson figures to be the starter once again when healthy.