It’s only week 4 of the NFL season and already there have been some ridiculous fantasy surprises. Last week saw the #3 pick from the 2012 NFL draft swap the brown and orange uniforms for the blue and white of the Indianapolis Colts. In what has been deemed a truly bizarre move and one that shows the Browns are throwing in the towel for this season, it appears that Trent Richardson is going to be an even more formidable force in an offense that moves the football. Expect the impact to take a couple weeks as he picks up the offense and begins to gel with his new team. I love the short goal line opportunities that abound and the way the Colts’ offense opens up will prevent the 8 in the box sets that teams had set against the Browns.
If there is one thing that this trade negatively impacts it’s the value of Ahmad Bradshaw who appeared to be the true #1 after Vick Ballard suffered a season-ending injury. Bradshaw should see carries this week against San Francisco, but moving forward he’ll play rather sparingly.
Willis McGahee now becomes fantasy relevant as he’s reunited with one of his coaches from the University of Miami in Cleveland. The Browns will feature him and he should have value moving forward for those owners who are desperate for an additional starting running back.
While Richardson’s stock goes up significantly, there are other players on the rise too who should be on the look-out given that bye-weeks start next week. James Starks appears to be a candidate who can snag the starting job away from Eddie Lacy in Green Bay. If he can build on his 100 plus yard performance from last week there is significant upside. DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans has emerged as a playmaker for Matt Schaub in Houston. Hopkins along with Viking’s wide-receiver Cordarrelle Patterson appear to have long-term value this season. Tyler Eifert is another talent in the Bengals 2 tight end sets that is chomping to break out too in his rookie campaign.
There is also a crop of early surprises that I don’t believe can sustain their early season success. A few of the leading contenders for this group are: Knowshon Moreno, Joique Bell and Eddie Royal. By the end of the season I foresee a Montee Ball coming out party, Reggie Bush emerging as an All-Pro and Eddie Royal coming back to mediocrity like he’s been the last few seasons of his NFL career.
Fantasy Tip of the Week
Don’t overthink your lineup. It’s easy to fall in love with a player but it’s more important to think what is likely to happen as opposed to what you would like to see happen.