Anthony Richardson Fantasy Outlook: Is He a Dual-Threat Weapon, or a One-Dimensional QB?

    Indianapolis Colts QB Anthony Richardson could be the next Lamar Jackson -- or the next Kordell Stewart. What is Richardson's fantasy outlook in 2023?

    At PFN, we’ve researched more than 350 fantasy football players, trying to identify which ones are overrated, underrated, and priced right. With that in mind, here is Indianapolis Colts QB Anthony Richardson’s fantasy outlook for 2023.

    Behind in research? Get a trade offer in your dynasty or redraft league? Not sure who to start or sit this week? Leverage PFN’s FREE fantasy tools — our Fantasy Football Draft Kit, Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Calculator, and Start/Sit Optimizer! Put the finishing touch on your A+ draft with 1 of our 425+ fantasy football team names.

    Anthony Richardson’s 2023 Fantasy Outlook

    If you’re in a dynasty league, Richardson might be a lottery ticket. If you’re in a two-QB or Superflex league, Richardson is a no-brainer pick. But if you’re in a redraft, one-QB league, there are enough red flags to attract a herd of bulls.

    On the positive side, he might immediately become one of the best rushing QBs in the game. He’s one of a long line of dual-threat quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, and Justin Fields. Of course, all of those guys needed at least a year (sometimes two) to find their groove as passers. But we’ll get to that shortly.

    Richardson’s surrounding talent is above-average at a minimum and top-10 at most. A healthy Jonathan Taylor – assuming he’s in Indianapolis this season – would be a boon for an offense that frequently struggled last season en route to the third-fewest points and the fourth-worst third-down conversion rate.

    Meanwhile, Richardson benefits from having an ascending receiving corps led by the 25-year-old Michael Pittman Jr. The remaining primary and secondary targets are Jelani Woods (24), Alec Pierce (23), and rookie Josh Downs (22). Patient fantasy managers might witness improved production from Richardson as he and his young teammates gel over the course of the season.

    Additionally, Indy has the fourth-easiest schedule. Of course, an easy schedule didn’t help them much last year. But at least this trend line is going in the right direction — and by “right,” I mean their schedule couldn’t be more favorable.

    Richardson is a big-play quarterback with monster long-term upside. In college, he ran for four touchdowns of 60 yards or longer. He improved as a passer in his final year at Florida, finishing strong in his final half-dozen outings. And his Colts teammates have enough after-the-catch spark to bolster his value, even if he operates relatively conservatively as a rookie.

    But on the downside, we need to keep in mind that Indy drafted him not because they think they can win the title this year (although that would be nice). He’s a developmental project. They’re hoping he’ll be a franchise-elevating QB by 2024 or 2025.

    They’ve cycled through quarterbacks each year since Andrew Luck’s early retirement. This franchise hopes and believes Richardson will give them long-term stability at football’s most important position.

    As a result, we should expect a walk-before-we-run approach to Richardson’s acclimation to the NFL. He’s completed only 215 passes since graduating high school, and as alluded to above, while he finished strong in his final season, that promising stretch came shortly after he threw two interceptions vs. the eventual 1-11 South Florida Bulls and one interception vs. the Eastern Washington Eagles of the FCS (previously known as Division I-AA).

    As Richardson gets up to speed, he might be asked to throw less than nearly every other starting quarterback. The Colts averaged the ninth-most pass attempts per game last season with 604. That could realistically drop to 525 or lower this year with a presumably lower completion percentage.

    It’s almost inconceivable that the rookie will come anywhere close to last year’s team passing yardage (3,854).

    And while he could easily gain 500+ rushing yards and 5+ rushing scores, let’s keep in mind that Marcus Mariota had a 438-4 rushing line last year, and he barely registered on fantasy radars in one-QB leagues.

    Whether a highly touted rookie or simply “promising,” rookie quarterbacks rarely break out in fantasy, often needing a year or two to get their footing — either as a starter (Peyton Manning) or while holding a clipboard (Patrick Mahomes).

    This is even true for dual-threat quarterbacks. For every Robert Griffin III (2012), there are many muted performers. To thrive in Year 1, Richardson needs to defy history and expectations while quickly overcoming his own glaring weaknesses.

    His running ability should give him a nice floor. But if you’re looking for a weekly starter, you might need to wait at least a year or two.

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

    Related Articles