1. The big news of the week was the Browns trade of running back Trent Richardson, the 3rd overall selection in the 2012 draft, to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 1st round pick. First off, we should all send our condolences to long suffering Browns fans who have had to endure some of the worst football the NFL has to offer over the past 15 years. Now this. While the trade was amongst the worst the league has seen in decades (to be fair, there aren’t that many blockbusters in the NFL so the sample size is small and usually inconsequential), Browns management added insult to injury by claiming that they hadn’t given up on the 2013 season. Then they promptly announced that Brian Hoyer and not Jason Campbell would start for the injured Brandon Weeden at quarterback this week against the Vikings. Let’s be clear about what president Joe Banner, general manager Mike Lombardi, head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner are telling Browns fans. Folks, we’re not only not good enough to develop Weeden, we’re also not smart enough to use a sure fire top 10 pick in this year’s draft as well as all of our other picks and additional 3rd and 4th round picks and our 2015 1st round pick to acquire a franchise signal caller in the 2014 draft. Of course, let’s not jump to the conclusion that Browns owner Jimmy Haslem ever considered that thought when he allowed his newly hired management and coaching staff to jettison Richardson. Or whether he considered that his new staff might just be buying themselves another year or two of employment by extending the rebuilding process. While the team’s local columnists and some national writers can justify this move as the team doing what is necessary to find a franchise quarterback in a passing league, don’t be fooled. The new brain trust has already proven they aren’t going to be up to the task of putting together a team that can contend. If their personnel evaluation concluded that the consensus top running back in the 2013 draft, a player the former regime felt the need to move up one spot to acquire, is worth a 1st round pick near the bottom of the 2014 draft, then Browns fans had better close their eyes not just for the balance of this season but for years to come.
2. Every year, teams make personnel decisions that give fantasy owners comfort to acquire those players in their drafts and auctions. And then they get burned. In Washington, the Redskins seem to have moved on from tight end Fred Davis even though they signed him to a one year contract worth up to $3.75-million. Davis was benched this week against the Packers and has been targeted just six times this season compared to nine targets for rookie 3rd round pick Jordan Reed. Other than very deep leagues, Davis is no longer worth owning.
3. With Ryan Broyles sitting out the first two weeks of the season, the assumption has been that the receiver is not fully recovered from the torn ACL that ended his 2013 season. However, Lions coach Jim Schwartz stated this week that health wasn’t the only reason Broyles hasn’t played. Patrick Edwards, another speedy second-year player, and Kris Durham have played the outside wide receiver position opposite Calvin Johnson with Nate Burleson operating out of the slot. Broyles will likely dress this week with Edwards likely out with an injured ankle and he needs to play well in order to earn back a spot on the active roster on game day.
4. If you’re desperate for help at running back, you might want to take a flyer out on Saints running back Pierre Thomas. While Darren Sproles has played well, the diminutive back has accumulated 27 touches in two games, putting him on pace to finish the season with 216 which would easily surpass his career high of 176. In addition, Mark Ingram has struggled with just 31 yards rushing on 17 carries as he continues to prove that the Saints erred in selecting him late in the 1st round of the 2011 draft. If Ingram continues to struggle and Sproles sees his touches reduced, Thomas will see his fantasy value rise. Over the balance of the season, the Saints face six run defenses that are ranked 21st or lower.