Its early preseason and we are already seeing some crazy hype behind a couple players that have yet to even make it to training camp. We are going to take a look at two of them and give you some perspective.
The Akron Beacon-Journal calls Trent Richardson “a lock” to be the Browns’ “workhorse” back as a rookie. No Peyton Hillis on a team that was 8th in the league with 337 rushes in 2011.
It seems obvious that Richardson is the man, but is notable because we’ve seen recent suggestions that Brandon Jackson and Montario Hardesty could rotate in. When the Browns get to training camp, the skill level between Richardson and the other two isn’t even will become apparent. Jackson may enter the game on some third downs as a blitz-protection specialist, but Richardson should flirt with 325-350 touches. Interestingly enough, CLE was 12th in the NFL in 2011 with 65 receptions by RBs.
Shurmur is still in town. Despite relinquishing some of his Offensive Coordinator duties Childress, Shurmur will still be heavily involved in the team’s philosophy on the offensive side.
Childress has been more of a run-first coach, as compared to pass-first Shurmur. It certainly helped that Childress had Adrian Peterson, but Shurmur has worked with Steven Jackson and Peyton Hillis, which isn’t too shabby. Across the board, we see that Childress’ team’s since 2008 have been significantly more productive than Shurmur’s Rams/Browns.
In terms of target distribution, there’s not a huge variation between the two. Shurmur is pretty close to the league averages, while Childress steals away a few targets from the wide receivers and sends them to his backs. This could mean a boost for whoever lines up in the backfield on passing downs for the Browns in 2012. Right now, Brandon Jackson has that role, but it could change depending on the draft.
The Browns’ top beat writer, Tony Grossi, believes Trent Richardson will be a top-10 fantasy back as a rookie. He obviously believes Richardson’s real-life role will be big enough to make an impact on the fantasy front.
Richardson will dominate early-down carries in Cleveland, and should rarely if ever come off the field on passing downs. He’s a legitimate candidate to lead the NFL in touches as a rookie. Browns GM Tom Heckert even said, ”I think it’s pretty safe to say we draft a guy third overall, he’s going to be the guy”.
Can he handle the load? Trent had 1,679 rushing yards in 2011, breaking Mark Ingram’s record for most rushing yards in a season, and 21 touchdowns.
CLE was the second WORST in combined fantasy RB fantasy point/game in 2011. However that can be blamed on personnel. Also, he is a rookie. We have heard this same hype about other rookie runners in the past. There is a bit of “Show Me” here.
He did have a minor knee surgery in February, but Trent was a full participant in Browns rookie minicamp. NFL teams were never concerned with the minor injury. It’s not a concern going forward.
Last time we heard such “workhorse” hype about a rookie was in 2010 with Ryan Mathews.
The Chargers’ official website expects Ryan Mathews to be “one of the NFL’s top workhorses and a Fantasy Football favorite in 2012.” New FB Le’Ron McClain, Mike Tolbert inexplicably sent off to CAR.
SI’s Peter King says Mathews could get King suggested that Mathews could approach 400 touches in 2012. He did that in College at Fresno State. As a junior in 2009, Mathews led college football in rushing with an average of 150.67 yards per game in 12 games.
Check this out: A Norv Turner RB has led the league in rushing six times between 1991 and 2007 (Emmit, Ricky Williams, LaDanian) Also his backs have finished in the top 5 in touches 11 times over that span…
Mathews could surpass 60 receptions in Turners scheme this year. SD was second in the NFl last year with 123 receptions to RBs. PPR leaguers, take note
My favorite! his schedule….he finished strong agains soft opponents in the last third of the season last year. Averaging 15 fantasy points a game over his last 5. He has that same soft schedule all year with the #2 overall easiest schedule for fantasy running backs. (CLE is #5 easiest).
Sound familiar? Yeah it was # 1 overall Fantasy RB Ray Rice last year after McGahee left and they picked up a new FB in
Mathews got the same preseason hype in 201o as Richardson is getting now. Turner guaranteed 245 touches. Yet he couldn’t stay healthy and missed 5 games. I spoke to one of his old college coaches that year who said he had the skills to fit the scheme in SD yet had conditioning problems in college.