The Cleveland Browns traded former No. 3 overall draft pick Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday for a first-round pick, leaving them with a huge void at running back. As soon as a trade like this is made, the fantasy impact must also be analyzed.
Richardson was the only back to carry the ball for the Browns this season, so what will they do to fill that position?
Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey are the likely in-house options, but CBS’ Jason La Canfora reports that the team will sign Willis McGahee as long as he passes his physical.
McGahee is the top guy to target as long as the deal goes through. The Browns wouldn’t have traded Richardson unless they felt they had some sort of adequate replacement, and McGahee is just that. McGahee played 10 games with the Broncos last season and was released in the offseason. He must be recovered from his broken leg if the team made the trade and is planning to sign him.
McGahee turns 32 next month and averaged 4.4 yards per carry last season with Denver. Though he lost four fumbles, he still looked like an effective back prior to his injury.
Cleveland’s offense has its limitations in terms of productivity possibilities, but if you’re a fantasy football owner looking for a flex option who can give you yards and maybe the occasional touchdown, McGahee is a recommended pickup.
Ogbonnaya is more of a player to pick up for this weekend’s game at Minnesota. He’s familiar with the offense and will likely see the most carries among Cleveland’s backs, if we had to make a guess. He also could cut into McGahee’s load for the future. He’s the guy you probably want this weekend, while Willis is the longterm back to own.
Temper your expectations here because the Browns offense didn’t run the ball much even with Richardson, but like we said, if you need a back, McGahee should be satisfactory.