Mostly NFL Notes: Trent Richardson is Top-10 material


The moment T knows he just got Rich (USP)

I can't see how Trent Richardson isn't a top-10 fantasy pick. While few rookie runners enjoyed sustained success last season, and plenty of owners were burned by Ryan Mathews the year prior, that doesn't mean a first year back can't make a major impact in 2012. It's the easiest position to learn, and we are talking about the best RB prospect to enter the league since Adrian Peterson. There's obvious risk since we haven't seen him perform at the pro level, but other options like Maurice Jones-Drew, DeMarco Murray, Darren McFadden, Adrian Peterson, etc., all carry plenty of risk on their own. The Browns are far from an ideal situation, as they averaged just 13.6 ppg last season, but it's possible Brandon Weeden is an upgrade at QB, and it's not like Cleveland's inept offense prevented a much less physically gifted Peyton Hillis from having a big season in 2010. After the Browns traded four picks to move up one spot in order to select Richardson, he will be asked to be a workhorse immediately. Richardson is a rookie playing for a bad team that has to face the Ravens and Steelers in 25 percent of its games, but he looks like a special talent who will be one of the NFL's few "every-down" backs.

Funny Zombie experiment in NYC.

Sensitive umpire ejects music guy when he plays "Three Blind Mice" after a questionable call.

I take an extreme wait on quarterbacks approach, but I also find Michael Vick intriguing. After being a universal first round pick last year, his price tag is way down (ADP of 47), and I actually prefer buying players coming off disappointing seasons. Vick can't match Cam Newton when it comes to rushing touchdowns, but while expecting a repeat of nine over just 12 games like he did in 2010 may be unrealistic, he should get closer to that than his measly one last season. Moreover, after averaging 56.3 rushing yards per game in 2010, he averaged 45.3 last year (while taking 11 fewer sacks in one more game), so his rushing ability remains in tact. Vick got a strong 7.8 YPA last season (including 9.7 over the final three games), and as Ron Jaworski recently pointed out, this will be the first time since 2006 Vick will be going through a full training camp as the starting quarterback. With DeSean Jackson's head supposedly now on straight after getting paid and a fully healthy Jeremy Maclin, Vick is absolutely loaded with weapons in a terrific scheme. Before last year's disappointing campaign (although admittedly he remains an injury risk), if you prorated his 11 healthy games started in 2010 over a full season, you'd get: 4,319 passing yards, 31 passing touchdowns, 959 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. In standard scoring formats, that's equivalent to throwing for 6,237 yards with 51 passing touchdowns, making Tom Brady's 2007 campaign look tame in comparison. It's a bit crazy (and speaks also to the league's current passing outburst) that Vick is currently not going as a top-five fantasy QB.

Someone is getting kicked out of the Magician's alliance. Seriously, watch this clip.

Crazy crash in which this guy's motorcycle is demolished yet he seemingly is able to land on his feet. Also, the other driver really just bounced?

Stevan Ridley scored just one touchdown and caught only three passes as a rookie last year, but he also got 5.1 YPC and is looking at a bigger workload in 2012 with BenJarvus Green-Ellis gone. The team's running-back-by-committee philosophy appears to remain, but that's also what's keeping Ridley's price tag so reasonable. After all, if he emerged as a feature back in this offense, he'd have legitimate top-5 upside, and few backs can make that claim, especially ones with an ADP outside of 70. Ridley converted none of his five goal-line attempts for scores last year, but he's a bigger back than Shane Vereen, and this is a team that should provide a ton of scoring opportunities (of course, we are talking about the unorthodox Pats here. Aaron Hernandez may get all about the goal-line carries for all we know). Ridley, whose 3.1 YPC after contact would have tied for fifth best had he qualified, has impressed so far in camp, and while New England may keep a committee approach, it's possible Bill Belichick has utilized that recently purely out of necessity, as BGE, Laurence Maroney, et al simply were below average talents at his disposal. Calling Ridley a sleeper would be insulting, but there's still plenty of profit to be made here.

Man crashes into deer on motorcycle. Isn't too worried about it.

Yeah, this is real normal.

I made some recent futures bets, and here they are for your viewing pleasure: I normally hate backing extremes, and 12 wins definitely counts as much, but have you seen the Patriots' schedule this year? They loaded up on defense in the draft and replaced Chad Johnson with Brandon Lloyd on an offense that already has Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker. RB production should also improve, and again, please take a look at that schedule…The Browns made upgrades at skill positions, but in that division, 6-10 will be tough…As of right now, Cantor Gaming has the Jaguars favored in exactly one game in 2012. Of course, some of those are 45/55 type propositions, but so is the lone favored one (-3.5 at home vs. Indy). I have strong concerns about Blaine Gabbert and made this my biggest bet…This was admittedly dumb, but when it comes to player props, the odds are ridiculously bad (I wanted Julio Jones, but he was like 12/1). Demaryius Thomas seemed like the best "long shot."

Will Ferrell has strong opinions about a recent Hollywood breakup.

 "Oh, that's Charlie. He likes to ride."

Long read: Lagos sure does sound like a crazy city.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for just 667 yards last season, though he added 11 touchdowns, giving him 24 scores over the past two years. He can best be described as a runner who takes what's blocked for him, not producing many negative plays and never putting the ball on the ground. Signing with Cincinnati has its plusses and minuses, as he'll likely see more than the 11.9 touches per game he got in New England last season, but he'll almost certainly be given fewer scoring opportunities (his 20 goal-line carries were the fourth most in the NFL). "The Law Firm" got just 3.7 YPC last year on an offense that scored 32.1 ppg and got 428.0 ypg — both of which were best in the AFC — so it's worrisome to think what he'll produce for Cincinnati, especially having to face Baltimore and Pittsburgh defenses four times. In fact, Green-Ellis' 2.1 YPC after contact tied for 58th among running backs. It's possible it was just a scheme thing, but he also has never shown the ability to rack up receptions (just nine last season, 12 the year before that). Cedric Benson proved to be an OK fantasy option on the Bengals based purely on volume, but coaches have spoken about splitting work with Bernard Scott more moving forward. Green-Ellis may have a higher floor, but it would be crazy to take him ahead of the aforementioned Stevan Ridley in fantasy drafts.

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