Pherson's Fantasty Column: How's that for a fantasy shakeup?

How's that for an NFL shakeup?

The NFL world was rocked Wednesday when it was announced the Browns had traded star running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round draft choice.

Major NFL trades are rare, and they almost never happen during the season. But the Colts are an organization that always has been willing to go get a guy they like.

The news rocked the league, but it also offers some interesting opportunities for fantasy football players.

At the time of the trade, Ahmad Bradshaw owners were riding high, thinking they might have stolen a possible flex player or even an RB2 after last week's effort.


Conversely, Richardson owners were wondering what to do with their high draft pick. The Richardson owner in my regular league already had been shopping him with little to no interest.

After the trade, Bradshaw is nothing more than a handcuff and suddenly Richardson returns to his status among the NFL's elite backs.

Temper your expectations, but he's definitely an RB1 moving forward. The Colts will want to give him the ball often after paying a hefty price for the workhorse back. It's a passing team, but Richardson will be their No. 1 option the rest of the way.

Pick him up

The Browns are now signing Willis McGahee, and they intend to start him at RB.

McGahee, along with Eddie Royal and James Starks, were all big additions this week in fantasy leagues around the world.

On McGahee, hold your horse. He's 31 and he's playing behind an awful offensive line. McGahee is not Richardson, and even he was struggling behind that line.

The Browns will be terrible all season, so why would you ever count on a running back from that team?


If you've got an open spot, go ahead and pick up McGahee. But he's nothing more than a flex play on his best day.

Royal has exploded, and while I was against picking him up after Week 1, it's hard to argue now. Go ahead and grab him and insert him as a flex play for now if you're hurting. If he does it again this week, he's a WR2 for sure.

Starks is another interesting play. If you're hurting at RB, he is an RB2 while Eddie Lacy is out.

It's not like Lacy was tearing it up while he was healthy, so Starks is a solid addition to any fantasy team moving forward. Don't count on him just yet. But he's an intriguing option.


I only received two questions (in time) this week, so here we go:

Matt S: I pulled off a trade that landed me Arian Foster, which means I now start Foster, Doug Martin and C.J. Spiller as my two running back and flex. Most would be thrilled, and I am, but I'm still looking to improve. My question is, if you could have one of my running backs and one other RB in the league, who would they be (I'm thinking of trading two of those backs for one stud)?... Matt, that's a nice team. Adrian Peterson is the clear top back, but I can't imagine AP's owner will part with him, even for two stud RBs. If he will, go for it. LeSean McCoy is my next pick. He's a monster, and as I predicted before the season, he's a key cog in that new Eagles offense. As for who I'd keep, Spiller is definitely out. If you don't have Ben Tate on your roster, go ahead and trade Foster, too. Keep Martin, and if you can get McCoy, you've easily got the best RB tandem in your league.

Jarrod L.: Flex question for you. Should I play Joique Bell or DeMarco Murray? ... Jarrod, this question might be a game-time decision. If Reggie Bush is out, I think Bell is a must-play in all leagues. The Redskins defense allowed James Starks to run for 100 yards, and Bell already has shown he's capable if being a big-play back. But Bush is a game-time decision, and if he's playing, Bell is probably still on your bench. Murray is a workhorse and the Cowboys are going to keep feeding him the ball. Having a guy who's going to get 25 touches as your flex is never a bad play. Wait and see if Bush is out, and then make your decision.

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