New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen was a popular preseason sleeper in fantasy football circles this year, and he confirmed his upside with 14 carries for 101 yards and seven receptions for 58 yards against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. But he suffered a right wrist injury during that game, had surgery immediately and was placed on injured reserve/designated for return by the team. The Patriots play it close to the vest (to say the least) in regard to injuries, but Vereen returned to practice two weeks ago and is eligible to be added to the 53-man roster this week.
With his return to action coming soon, and quite possibly next Monday night against the Carolina Panthers as things sit right now, should fantasy owners have Vereen back on their radar?
Stevan Ridley is the most reliable fantasy option in New England’s running back mix, with 118 carries for 514 yards and six touchdowns in eight games this season, but Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount have also been worthy of a roster spot in some leagues while Vereen was sidelined. Someone will lose playing time with Vereen’s return to action, and my personal bet is Bolden, who may also find himself without a spot on the Patriots’ roster.
Vereen may not be available in a lot of leagues, and he is already (or still?) owned in all the competitive leagues I’m in, but for an overall sense of his possible availability he is owned in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues as we speak. It’s unlikely we’ll get definitive word on if he’ll play in Week 11 until the Patriots absolutely have to declare his status, but now would be the time to add Vereen if he is available and he could be a particular difference maker in PPR leagues down the stretch.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.