This era of the NFL has been marked by the passing game, but there is always going to be a place for special running backs. All you have to do is look at the Seattle Seahawks, who have played in the last two Super Bowls on the strength of Marshawn Lynch and his Beast Mode escapades through enemy defenses. At one time, it was thought that Trent Richardson was going to be special. After all, the Cleveland Browns traded up to draft him third overall in 2012. When Richardson scored 12 touchdowns that year, all seemed well. Then Richardson was shockingly dealt to the Indianapolis Colts and his Indianapolis tenure was a major disappointment as every other back on the Colts repeatedly outplayed him. The Raiders, known for questionable decisions, signed Richardson earlier this year. Is there any chance at all Richardson can rebound?
While unlikely, it is possible Trent could get some playing time in Oakland. Latavius Murray, while promising, is largely unproven. Roy Helu is a third down back who might not be able to handle a full load. And of course, fullback Marcel Reece is an afterthought. There is a chance, albeit a slim one, that Richardson could become important to the Raiders. T-Rich has also gotten in better shape and the new Oakland coaching staff has a history of building around the running game.
We saw him play in Indianapolis. If Richardson had a hard time being productive with Andrew Luck as an ally and defenses overly worried about the pass, what are the odds of him suddenly improving on a much weaker squad? He may not even make the final, and even if he does, does anyone really expect Richardson to outplay the other Oakland backs?
Even if Richardson ends up becoming an integral player for the Raiders at some point, fantasy owners should continue to forget him unless he somehow finds a way to revert back to the player he was at Alabama and briefly with the Browns. That would be an unbelievable development, however, as Richardson has been the poster child for futility the past two seasons.