The downfall of Trent Richardson appears to be complete. The third overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft has already been traded this season, from Cleveland to Indianapolis. Now, he’s close to losing his starting job.
Richardson carried the ball just eight times last week against Tennessee, while former first-round pick Donald Brown got 14 carries. The Colts have been hesitant to completely faze Richardson out of the offense, but if he continues to average 2.8 yards per carry – while Brown averages 5.9 – it appears to be only a matter of time before the move has to be made.
Richardson’s one saving grace in fantasy is that he’s still used in the passing game, which gives him minimal value in points per reception leagues. He had five catches for 31 yards last week against the Titans.
Both Brown and Richardson are risky plays in Week 12 against an Arizona defense that is holding opposing running backs to just 11.8 points per game in CBS Sports leagues. If he’s available in your league, however, Brown is an intriguing addition to your roster with the fantasy postseason approaching.
Another change in the backfield looks to be going down in Miami, where Lamar Miller received only four carries for 17 yards in Week 11 against the Chargers. Daniel Thomas, meanwhile, carried 10 times for 57 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins have a difficult matchup Sunday at home against Carolina, meaning neither player is an attractive start. Their usage could go a long way toward determining how they’ll be utilized in the coming weeks.
In New Orleans, Pierre Thomas have averaged 18 touches per game since Week Five and seems to have separated himself slightly from Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles. Thomas is the early-downs back, and is a good receiver out of the backfield. That gives him more value than Sproles, who is simply a PPR fantasy option, while Ingram’s huge game in Week 10 (145 rushing yards, one touchdown) was an aberration.
Lastly, in Cleveland, Chris Ogbonnaya set career highs in snaps (48), touches (14) and total yards (99) in Week 11. He’s a decent flex option in deeper leagues, and should see starting playing time over Willis McGahee the rest of the season.
Fleener coming along
His status as a first-round draft pick has caused Colts tight end Coby Fleener to have some fantasy value over the past couple of seasons, but it has largely been unjustified.
Fleener had cracked double digits in fantasy points only twice this season, and his high for receiving yards in a game was 77. He topped that total by 30, though, in a Week 11 victory over Tennessee, finishing with 107 yards on eight catches – finally showing some of the expected chemistry with Andrew Luck, his college teammate at Stanford.
Fleener faces the Cardinals on Sunday. Arizona has given up the most fantasy points of any team in the NFL to opposing tight ends this season. Fleener’s schedule is also favorable, with home games against Tennessee and Houston coming up over the next three weeks – just in time for fantasy playoffs.
While Fleener’s production is trending up, a pair of tight ends are headed in the other direction. Cleveland’s Jordan Cameron was a beast at the start of the season with five touchdowns in the first three weeks, but he’s been held to just one touchdown since then. The problem for Cameron is the quarterback change in Cleveland. Jason Campbell simply doesn’t look his way. Cameron has not been targeted in the red zone at all the past three games.
In the same time frame, Chicago’s Martellus Bennett has just 10 catches for 113 yards and no touchdowns. Bennett scored three times in the first two weeks of the season, but since then has only one touchdown.
Floyd heating up in desert
Arizona receiver Michael Floyd put up eye-popping numbers in Week 11 against Jacksonville, catching six passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. There is reason to believe that performance is more than just feasting on the Jaguars.
Floyd has three touchdowns in the past five weeks, and in one of those games he suffered a shoulder injury in the first quarter and did not return. The former first-round draft goes against an Indianapolis defense that has struggled in the secondary, allowing 11 touchdowns to wide receivers in the past six games.
Like Floyd, teammate Larry Fitzgerald also has three touchdowns in the past five games, as quarterback Carson Palmer continues to develop some chemistry with his top two receivers.
Bye weeks: Buffalo, Seattle, Cincinnati, Philadelphia.