Rookie running back Trent Richardson has been productive for the Cleveland Browns and fantasy owners this season, but starting him in Week 8 against the San Diego Chargers is only asking for trouble.
Not only is Richardson battling a rib injury (per the Akron Beacon-Journal), he faces a Chargers defense that has allowed just 3.5 yards per carry (fourth in the NFL) and two rushing touchdowns so far.
Last week, we saw the Chargers hold Denver Broncos veteran Willis McGahee to 56 yards on 17 carries.
There's also the chance that this game gets out of hand quickly for the 1-6 Browns, which will force them to go to the air with Brandon Weeden and Co. The Browns have actually thrown the ball 38.9 times per game this season, eighth-most in the NFL.
Of course, there's still a chance Richardson does some damage in the receiving department, but I don't expect it to make up for the likelihood that he will be limited on the ground, or the fact that he's, well, limited with a rib injury.
That brings me to another point.
Even if Richardson starts, I doubt the Browns are going to seriously risk his health mired in a 1-6 season. He's their future and I doubt they play with that. In that respect, I expect Montario Hardesty to take a few carries from him.
While San Diego has been inconsistent this season, the run defense has not and it's hard to trust the Browns' banged-up running game against this unit. I could see decent production from Richardson, but nothing worth starting in standard fantasy leagues.
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