Fantasy watch: Trent Richardson’s last stand

Trumaine Johnson,  Trent Richardson

The Rams’ Trumaine Johnson attempts to corral the Colts’ Trent Richardson. (Darron Cummings/Associated Press)

After a miserable first half of the season, Trent Richardson is on the verge of fantasy irrelevance, if not already slotted in that position by most owners who drafted the second-year player to be an RB1. But for owners who are holding out hope, as slim as it may be, of Richardson ending his string of five consecutive games without a touchdown, tonight’s matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans provides the best chance for last year’s No. 3 overall pick to prove he’s still worth keeping on fantasy rosters.

Following a rookie season in which he scored 11 touchdowns, Richardson’s fantasy stock was on the rise when the Cleveland Browns traded him to the Colts for a first-round pick. The thought was with quarterback Andrew Luck and a talented cast of wide receivers, Richardson would n0t  face eight-man fronts and thus be able to flourish, even if he were sharing carries with Ahmad Bradshaw. Then when Bradshaw was lost for the season because of injury, Richardson owners figured he would become the featured back in a dynamic offense.

It hardly worked out that way. Richardson, who is coming off five carries for two yards in a 38-8 loss to the St. Louis Rams, has not rushed for more than 60 yards in a game since he joined the Colts, and he hasn’t been in the end zone since Sept. 29, when he rushed for one touchdown.

But Richardson has an extremely favorable matchup against the Titans, who allow nearly 115 rushing yards per game and have yielded 12 rushing touchdowns, tied for second most in the NFL. Tennessee also is surrendering 21.5 fantasy points per week to running backs. That total is tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for third most in the league.

There’s no doubt the Colts want to get back to a power running game, especially in light of the season-ending injury to No. 1 wide receiver Reggie Wayne. Coach Chuck Pagano has indicated as much by being critical of the team’s running swoon, so look for offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to try to get Richardson jumpstarted as Indianapolis seeks to remain in playoff contention.

Have a fantasy football question? Tweet at Gene Wang at @gene_wang.

What’s ahead:

● Mark Bullock looks at how the Redskins and Eagles match up.

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Davis not surprised about lost bonus | Redskins struggle to stop quick passes

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