Wow, could Fantasy owners have been any more disappointed in New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley? Just because the back had a rough Week 1 doesn’t mean that you should automatically throw him on the bench for Week 2. In fact, Ridley should be a lock for a starting Fantasy position in all leagues.
After a second-quarter fumble, Ridley was pulled from the game with only nine carries for 46 yards. This is typical from Head coach Bill Belichik who has no tolerance what-so-ever for players who put the ball on the turf.
A second chance arises for Ridley who had an average draft position of 24th overall in this year’s Fantasy draft. The running back who replaced Ridley after his fumble, Shane Vereen, is now out until at least Week 11 with a wrist injury. All hope is not yet lost for Fantasy owners who used their high draft pick on the back.
With Vereen out, that leaves LaGarrett Blount and Brandon Boldin to back-up Ridley. Neither of the two backs have shown they have what it takes to overtake Ridley for the starting position and carries. If Belichik surprisingly sits Ridley again, the whole world will be questioning his thinking and there’s almost a zero-percent chance of that happening.
Let me remind you that, surprisingly, the Patriots have led the league in total rushing touchdowns during the last three years. With many weapons gone from Tom Brady’s arsenal, the Patriots and Brady will look to get more carries to Ridley. With more carries coming his way and a Week 1 fumble, it is a sure bet that ball security will be ingrained into Ridley’s head. He will hold on to the ball with dear life and won’t let himself get sent back to the bench.
The Patriots do enter Week 2 at home against the New York Jets who pulled out a miraculous win on Sunday. The Jets allowed only 65 yards and one touchdown to Doug Martin and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While Martin is slotted as one of the top running backs in the league, he had a tough time finding room against the Buccaneers, fumbling once and really struggling on all aspects.
While it may not be a good sign that Martin had a tough outing, the Patriots are an all around completely different team than the Buccaneers and have Belichick’s mind behind the offense. The arm of Brady will threaten the defense more than Josh Freeman’s had and less respect could be given to the running game, opening it up for Ridley to succeed.
Give Ridley his second chance to prove he’s worthy of a starting role. At worst, he’s a solid flex position option with the potential to explode.