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Fantasy Football: Trent Richardson Running like Scalded Dog Earns Short Leash

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

You'd be hard-pressed to find a player that was more frustrating in fantasy football last year than Trent Richardson. Regarded as one of the best running backs in fantasy football heading into the 2013 season, Richardson was a massive disappointment last year.

He began the year with the Cleveland Browns, but gained only 105 yards on 31 carries (3.4 ypc) in two games. Richardson was then traded to the Indianapolis Colts, where he gained a mere 458 yards on 157 carries (2.9 ypc) and three scores. That kind of production won't cut it this year, but the Colts are still going to give him the chance to start, writes Mike Wells of ESPN.

He'll likely get the first shot at starting over Bradshaw and Ballard because the latter two are coming off injuries that cost them almost all of the 2013 season. But Richardson will have to produce right away because it's unlikely the Colts will wait for him to get going if Bradshaw and Ballard are producing when given the opportunity.

It's safe to say Richardson is getting a short leash in terms of being the top back, which is kind of ironic, since he's the one who was tasked with watching the family dog at A.J. McCarron's wedding this past weekend.

Hopefully, Richardson doesn't run like a scalded dog this year, and runs more like the thoroughbred everyone made him out to be coming out of the 2012 NFL draft.

He's got a great situation with Indy. Last year's starting RB, Donald Brown, is now in San Diego. Bradshaw can't stay healthy, and Ballard never looked like anything more than a backup. That said, Richardson's inconsistency, lack of vision and durability have prevented the former No, 3 overall pick from living up to his draft status.

As a rookie, Richardson underwent surgery that cost him most of training camp and all four preseason games. He also suffered through a number of broken ribs in Week 2 against the Bengals, but played through the injury before being sidelined in the regular-season finale with a left high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 16 against the Denver Broncos.

Despite all of those ailments, Richardson started 15 games and rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns while chipping in 51 receptions for 367 yards and one TD.

If Richardson is healthy and can stay so throughout the 2014 NFL Season, he’ll be a quality RB2 that you can start most weeks.