Fantasy Football Rankings 2012: Montario Hardesty's Value Increased With Trent Richardson Injury

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 23: Running back Montario Hardesty #31 of the Cleveland Browns runs during the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Seahawks 6-3. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Trent Richardson's injury has hurt his fantasy football value, but it has in turn helped the case for Cleveland Browns backup running back Montario Hardesty.

The Trent Richardson injury is obviously cause for concern when it comes to fans of the Cleveland Browns, but there's another sub-sector keeping a close eye on the rookie running back. Fantasy football owners are watching the situation in Cleveland as they attempt to keep their rankings updated for the 2012 season.

Richardson's injury has obviously hurt his standing in that respect, too, as our friends over at Fake Teams -- SB Nation's fantasy sports blog -- have decided he's not worth drafting in the first three rounds of most leagues. With Richardson's value falling, though, Montario Hardesty has returned to fantasy relevance.

Welp. The opener is still one month away and it's possible he won't miss any time. That said, there's still no way you can invest a top-40 pick on a rookie that doesn't get any preseason action. Montario Hardesty is worth drafting in almost every league now, too.

Ideally Richardson hits the ground running when the regular seasons begins. If he doesn't, though, there's obviously value in Hardesty until the rookie is ready to go.

For more on the Cleveland Browns, check out their SB Nation blog at Dawgs By Nature. More news and analysis on the NFL as preseason begins can be found over at SB Nation's dedicated NFL hub.

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