Not until he is approaching retirement will Trent Richardson's fantasy value be lower than it is right now.
In other words: Buy! Buy! Buy!
The rookie out of Alabama is having a solid debut for the Cleveland Browns, but he is banged up and coming off arguably his worst outing of the year.
Richardson is dealing with a rib injury from last week's game against the Bengals. If it's up to him, that won't keep him off the field this week. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer captured this quote from T-Rich.
#browns Trent Richardson (ribs): "in my mind I'm ready for Sunday. I'll be ready to play whole game."'will wear flak or some padding.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) October 17, 2012
However, the decision to play is not his and the official injury report tells us he was limited in Wednesday's practice, which is actually a good sign for his playing status, but it also points to the fact that he is dealing with some rib issues.
So combine the poor performance and injury issues with the fact the Browns have an approaching bye, and it comes together to make dealing Richardson a more enticing prospect for fantasy owners looking for a quick boost.
Here's the real kicker, though. Richardson's value during fantasy playoff time is looking good. While playing on the lowly Browns, fantasy owners do not have to worry about Richardson being put on light duty while the team saves him for the playoffs.
Cleveland will simply be trying to build some momentum for next year and finding an offense that works, and Richardson will be a central figure in that.
Richardson has already proven to be a dependable producer. He has 340 rushing yards and prior to last week's game, he had rushed for a touchdown in four straight contests. He is also a threat out of the backfield, and he has 22 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown.
He will produce all year, and there is not an opponent on the Browns finishing schedule that would intimidate anyone from starting Richardson.
Starting at Week 13 the Browns finish the season with the Raiders, Chiefs, Redskins, Broncos, Steelers.
The Raiders, Chiefs and Broncos are all in the bottom half of fantasy points allowed to running backs in standard leagues, and the Redskins at No. 10 are the highest ranked of those five team in Football Outsiders' overall rush defense rankings.
Richardson is going to put up numbers of a No. 1 fantasy back down the stretch, and he can likely be pried away from an owner for less at this point in the season.