NFL Fantasy football: Richardson has big plans

Do it all: Rookies often come into the league with a certain swagger, but Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson is setting the bar as high as it gets. Speaking with Alex Marvez and Jim Miller on Sirius XM NFL Radio, the Alabama product stated he wants to be “the best thing that ever happened to Cleveland.” Richardson will have the opportunity to reach that goal, adding “There ain’t no sugarcoating. I’m going to get the ball. I’m going to catch the ball. I’m going to block. I’m going to do everything I can and they’re going to put me in the best situation. I want to be that guy they don’t have to take off the field.” The Browns have limited options offensively, so Richardson figures to see a heavy workload as the team’s centerpiece. He is a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy RB, and the hype surrounding him is inflating his stock. Though he will be one of the few workhorse backs in the league, he plays for a offense which ranked 30th in points scored last year. He deserves early-round draft value, but temper expectations a bit.

In no rush: Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports doesn’t sense “any real motivation” for the Patriots to extend the contract of receiver Wes Welker. Though a deal could be reached at a later date, it looks like the veteran will play out his one-year deal. Despite recording career highs in receiving yards (1,569) and TDs (9) last season, his production this year could hinge on the effectiveness of Brandon Lloyd. During the 2007 to 2010 seasons when Welker played alongside Randy Moss, he never surpassed eight TDs or 1,348 receiving yards. Make no mistake, he will still be the favorite target of Tom Brady, but expecting a repeat of last season could prove a tough goal to reach. Regardless, Welker remains a No. 1 fantasy WR, and should go off the board by the second-round.

Big gun: Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is considered to have the league’s strongest arm according to ESPN’s Ron Jaworski. “I get so tired of hearing how arm strength is overrated. It’s far more important than people think. He has the strongest arm in the NFL.” While the analysis is a complement to Flacco’s physical attributes, it does little for his fantasy value. The fifth-year QB has never passed for more than 3,622 yards or 25 touchdowns, while never throwing fewer than 10 interceptions. Flacco’s track record makes him a borderline No. 2 fantasy quarterback, safest taken in the later-rounds.

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