Fantasy Football: History Says We Should Be High on Anthony Richardson in 2024

Brandon Gdula
Brandon Gdula@gdula13
Fantasy Football: History Says We Should Be High on Anthony Richardson in 2024

Last season, the Indianapolis Colts had high hopes for fourth overall pick Anthony Richardson -- as did a lot of fantasy football managers.

But Richardson logged only four games before a season-ending shoulder injury.

In those games, we learned a lot about his fantasy football potential, however, and that is part of why his fantasy football average draft position (ADP) has climbed from QB15 last season to QB5 this season.

With all that in mind, just how high is Richardson's fantasy ceiling -- and is he worth an early-round pick in 2024 drafts?

Anthony Richardson Fantasy Football Outlook

Richardson's 2023 Season

As I mentioned, the former Florida Gator played only four games in 2023, but in two of those games, he failed to play even 35% of the Colts' offensive snaps.

So, we really have two full games of production from Richardson: Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Week 4 against the Los Angeles Rams.

In that Week 1 matchup, Richardson threw 37 times for 223 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran 10 times for 40 yards and a touchdown.

In Week 4, he threw just 25 times -- but for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns. More importantly (from a fantasy football standpoint), Richardson ran 10 times for 56 yards and a touchdown.

That rushing ability is what we'll key in on.

But looking into only these two full games would mean glossing over a 3-carry, 2-touchdown game against the Houston Texans in Week 2 across only 18 snaps.

Richardson's Rushing Potential

Now, Richardson ran 10 times in each of his full games. It would be technically correct (the best kind of correct) to say that he averaged 6.3 attempts per game, but we know that two of his four featured limited snaps.

How can we project his workload this year?

numberFire's fantasy football projections is slotting him in for 134.4 carries, which would be 7.9 per game over a full 17-game schedule and third-most of all quarterbacks.

Only six quarterbacks have a season rushing prop at FanDuel Sportsbook, and Richardson is one of them.

Richardson's rushing prop is set at 525.5 yards with -112 odds on the over and the under. Only Lamar Jackson (725.5) and Jalen Hurts (550.5) have higher props. They're also the only two QBs projected for more carries than Richardson, per numberFire.

Further, Richardson has chalked up his injury more to poor luck than his play style, suggesting that he will run often again in 2024. This allows us to buy into the idea that he will be one of the most voluminous rushers at the position this season.

Here's why all this matters so much.

Since 2000, of the 121 quarterbacks to finish fifth or higher in carries (including a year with a tie for fifth), 41 of them finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback for the season (33.9%).

Let's pause there quickly and let that sink in.

This means that a third of top-five fantasy QBs have been even just in the top five in rushing volume. We don't know anything about their passing production or even their rushing efficiency. Just their rushing volume.

That's pretty sick.

Further, 81 (66.9%) of these top-five rushers by volume were top-12 fantasy quarterbacks. Again, rushing volume alone can tell us a great deal about fantasy points.

But if we narrow the scope a bit, we see that 53 of 72 (73.6%) quarterbacks who finished inside the top three in rushing volume were top-12 fantasy QBs, and 31 of 72 (43.1%) were top-six fantasy QBs.

So, yeah, the rushing matters a lot, and Richardson is a key candidate to vie for the top of the rushing volume board among quarterbacks

What About the Passing?

I'll be rather brief here.

Richardson averaged 7.0 adjusted yards per attempt and 6.9 yards per attempt across 84 passes in 2024. That's a pretty small sample, of course, but those weren't even amazing numbers that we need to fear he can't sustain.

Let's go back to that 121-QB sample, the ones who were top-five in rushing attempts in a give season.

Of the 57 who finished worse than the QB12, they had an average adjusted yards per attempt rate of 6.48. The top-12 QBs in this sample clocked in at a 7.42.

That's the difference of being a top-12 to top-15 passer and one outside the top 24 or so in terms of efficiency.

It would take some bottom-of-the-barrel passing efficiency for Richardson to fall flat while still running at a top-tier rate.

Anthony Richardson Fantasy Football Projection

numberFire's model projects Richardson for 3,749.6 passing yards and 23.0 passing touchdowns. Both of those rank outside the top 20 among quarterbacks, which isn't really what you want or expect for a quarterback going as a top-five positional pick.

But it's the 134.4 rushes and 702.0 rushing yards and 7.3 rushing touchdowns that help him project for the fifth-most fantasy points at the position, per numberFire.

That's right in line with his QB5 ADP. Interestingly, though, FanDuel's best-ball drafts have Richardson as the QB8, which makes him a bit of a value in that format.

Unless you anticipate Richardson struggling to maintain a semblance of passing efficiency, history suggests he's going to be a fantasy football stud in 2024.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.