You know that feeling when something so ridiculously unlucky happens that all you can do is laugh?
That’s exactly what it felt like to see Brandon Bolden starting at tailback over Stevan Ridley to start the game on Sunday. Of course, Bolden only carried the ball four times compared to Ridley’s 11, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that the Patriots and Ridley just don’t appear to be on the same page right now, and as a result, Ridley isn’t producing like the running back that fantasy owners drafted him to be. On Sunday, LeGarrette Blount saw more carries than Ridley (14) and was much more effective with those carries, averaging 4.6 yards per clip. After finishing sixth in the league in rushing attempts with 290 last season, Ridley only has 34 carries through three games, which places him in the bottom half of running backs in the league. The Patriots offense isn’t what we are accustomed to seeing, but especially because Ridley has been so ineffective this year, averaging a measly 3.6 yards per carry. For those who are attempting to get Ridley on the cheap right now, I’d reconsider. The usage isn’t (and won’t be) where you’d like it to be, and in all honesty, it won’t get any easier for Ridley down the stretch.
Below you will find a list of Ridley’s 2012 game stats in contests where he sees less than 20 carries. It isn’t pretty, and so far this season, he has yet to get very close to 20 touches in a game, let alone 20 carries.
Not exactly appealing fantasy numbers. Clearly, Ridley needs a good amount of work to be a strong fantasy running back, as Ridley scored at least once in every game where he saw 20 carries last year, averaging 4.8 yards per clip during those games. Considering Ridley has already struggled and placed in the doghouse this season after two fumbles in Week 1, it would be foolish to expect him to be a consistent 20-touch guy for the rest of the season, especially since he isn’t a threat at all in the passing game. Don’t forget. Shane Vereen, who was placed on IR with a wrist injury, can return to the lineup around Week 11 or so, and after an impressive start to the season, I think he’ll definitely have a role in this offense, which will cut into Ridley’s already lackluster workload. Unfortunately for owners, it may not get any easier for Ridley. Let’s look at some of the tough matchups he’ll see down the road.
- Week 4 @ Falcons (14th-most fantasy points to RB)
- Week 5 @ Bengals (5th-fewest)
- Week 7 @ Jets ( 3rd-fewest)
- Week 8 vs Dolphins (13th-fewest)
- Week 9 vs Steelers (9th-most)
- Week 13 @ Texans (15th-fewest)
- Week 14 vs Browns (7th-fewest)
- Week 16 @ Ravens (9th-fewest)
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel too comfortable with Ridley in most of those matchups. There is just a lot of uncertainty with him in this offense right now, and I think this backfield situation could possibly become even more muddled later on this season. The bad news for Ridley owners? They own him. The bad news for Ridley owners who are trying to deal him? They likely can’t do it for asking price. If the opportunity presents itself, I would hope Ridley has an absolute monster game out of nowhere in the coming weeks, and then I’d immediately look to sell high on him. But if you plan on buying him low right now, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.
I see Ridley as a year-long bust in 2013.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.