Trent Richardson: Fantasy Owners Must Bench Banged-Up Browns RB vs. Chargers

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14: Running back Trent Richardson #33 of the Cleveland Browns runs for a gain against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

One week after the worst performance of his young NFL career against the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson is in store for an even worse outing, if he even plays that is. 

The first-year back rushed for eight yards on eight carries against the Colts in Week 7 and was benched for his ineffectiveness.

Richardson and the Browns will host the San Diego Chargers in Week 8.

And if Pat Shurmur and the Cleveland coaching staff determine Richardson is healthy enough to play, he'll be asked to go out and find uncommon success against the NFL's No. 1 rush defense.

No team in the league is allowing fewer yards on the ground per game than San Diego, who has held its first six opponents this season to an average of 71.2 yards per game.

Only two teams have even scored a rushing touchdown on the Chargers this season. 

It's safe to assume that Richardson owners are in store for another nightmare this Sunday if the rookie is activated for Week 8. 

But there is still the potential that the Browns will put long-term goals ahead of short-term success and rest T-Rich this weekend. The setback came when he suffered a painful rib injury in Cleveland's Week 6 win over Cincinnati according to NBC Sports Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.

This was Richardson on his rib injury following his poor performance at Indy in Week 7 (via's Nate Ulrich and Marla Ridenour):

The injury I have is much bigger than what folks think it is, and I don’t want to do anything to hurt the team. I’m not myself out there right now. You look at me, I guess I’m not running hard like I’m used to, so I’m not out there right now.

Clearly he's not the powerful, destructive runner he was earlier this fall, and fantasy owners are taking notice.

Of course it would be ridiculous to suggest dropping or trading Richardson, considering he is among the Top 15 highest scoring fantasy running backs in 2012. But benching him this weekend is hardly an outrageous decision to make. 

There are too many factors going against Richardson in Week 8. There isn't a worse matchup out there for him at a worse possible time. 

The drama surrounding Richardson's playing status has become soap opera worthy. Even Richardson is confused according to ESPN's Will Burge via Twitter:

Trent Richardson flip flopped back and forth between saying he could have played and saying it was the right choice to sit him down #Browns

— Will Burge (@WillBurge) October 21, 2012

No matter how confident or desperate, fantasy owners must sit T-Rich this weekend and wait out the storm by playing a healthier and more predictable option at RB.


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