As we close in toward a new season, the ever-changing NFL landscape has player fantasy football values constantly on the move, and nothing shakes up the league like the recently finished NFL Draft, where young rookies begin their NFL careers.
Should You Draft Anthony Richardson?
It’s so refreshing when you see a team fall in love with the attributes and make what many call, a risky pick. When you’re a GM or a coach, it’s easy to take the safe option because of the potential reproductions and people in the parking lot with pitchforks. But the Colts went for the home run when they selected former Florida Gator Anthony Richardson at No. 4 overall.
I couldn’t be a bigger fan of this if I tried. Richardson has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in his class. He’s big (6’4″ and 244) and can scramble with the best of them, but he does it in a physical manner while having the speed to run away from defenders. It’s very reminiscent to Justin Fields; in fact, I think these two players are on a similar trajectory.
Richardson’s Combine numbers alone make fantasy managers and NFL general managers alike drool: 4.43 40-yard dash (1.53 10-yard split), 40.5″ vertical, and 10’9″ broad, giving him a perfect 10.00 RAS.
Indianapolis was arguably the second-best landing spot for any QB outside of the Detroit Lions. It’s easy to begin looking at the players on the field, but it’s the coach in his ear which matters the most to me.
Shane Steichen Will Be Critical in Richardson’s Development…That’s A Good Thing
While Jalen Hurts was a much more polished quarterback and a proven winner coming out of college, he greatly benefited from the scheme of Shane Steichen, who implemented RPOs and capitalized on Hurts’ elite athletic skill set. That’s precisely what’s going to happen in Indianapolis.
Rushing upside is everything for a top-tier fantasy QB. If you don’t have that, unless you have the accuracy of Drew Brees or the passing volume of Tom Brady and even Joe Burrow, you’ll struggle to be anything more than a low-end QB1 in part of the “they’re all kind of the same” range.
That rushing upside is everything for Richardson because he’s still a very raw thrower of the football. Sometimes he hesitates to throw the wide-open receiver, and his ball placement is erratic. He throws a Randy Johnson fastball at times when he needs to throw a Tim Wakefield knuckleball and take a bit of steam off of it on shorter throws.
That’s going to come in time. Richardson only knows how to play at one level, and that’s as hard and as fast as he can. I love that. I would rather have to teach someone to heal rather than sick’em.
Given Steichen’s record not only with Hurts but also going back to Justin Herbert and even Philip Rivers, I struggle to find any way someone who can have Richardson not as the QB1 of his class.
Richardson’s already the 1.01 for me amongst all rookies, and his rushing upside-down loan will give him a top-12 fantasy floor in his rookie season, assuming he starts Week 1, which I can’t rationalize why he wouldn’t. Reps behind Gardner Minshew will not help him get better than being on the field.
Anthony Richardson’s Fantasy Ranking
One of the reasons we love the landing spot so much is the talent on the team. Indianapolis, despite the record, is not a bad football team. The offensive line is solid, and then we look at the skill players around Richardson.
He can lean on the rushing game with Jonathan Taylor, and at any moment, the Colts can call an RPO. I have no idea how a defense is going to take that away outside of stacking everyone and the dude from Row 65 in the nosebleeds.
While Richardson will stand out because he’s smaller than the rest, Indianapolis also added one of the best slot receivers in this class, Josh Downs, to fill the role vacated by Parris Campbell, who never worked out. This is a team that can beat you on the ground and in the air, especially given Richardson’s howitzer of an arm.
It should come as no surprise that I have Richardson ranked pretty highly in dynasty already. While he’s yet to step on the field, Richardson is my QB9 for dynasty. I’ve repeatedly stated that I believe he has a Cam Newton-level ceiling, which I do not say lightly.
The only quarterbacks I am taking ahead of Richardson if I were doing a startup dynasty draft are Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Hurts, Burrow, Herbert, Trevor Lawrence, Fields, and Lamar Jackson. That’s it.
Similar to how I expect Fields to take a Hurts-level leap in 2023, I see the same thing happening to Richardson in his second season in 2024, and we’ll be viewing him as a minimum top-five quarterback in dynasty. I’m going to do exactly what Indianapolis did and trust the intangibles of Richardson to help take my team to the next level.
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