As a former fantasy football owner of Stevan Ridley last season, I am scared to death of the Bill Belichick-doghouse. Now with a healthy Shane Vereen, rookie James White, Brandon Bolden and Ridley filling out the depth chart, it is hard to make a decision on who should have a spot on your roster for the 2014 fantasy football season.
Last season, Vereen was off to a promising start with 101 rushing yards and 58 receiving yards in the first game of the season, but he suffered a broken bone in his wrist during the game which sidelined him until Week 11. Vereen didn’t add much to the rushing attack after his return, but he did have two games with 60 or more receiving yards and had a monster performance in Week 14 with 153 receiving yards. With a healthy Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman in the lineup, Vereen would presumably be limited with his reception opportunities, thus making his value questionable.
Ridley saw his carries decrease after fumbling and security issues, but he was still able to produce seven rushing touchdowns. His lack of carries killed his fantasy value, however, as he rushed for 490 fewer yards than the year before. The talent is there, but one fumble could mean Ridley sits on the bench for the entire season.
Bolden has never carried the ball more than 56 times, and the third-year back may not even make the team according to some beat writers. The rookie White, on the other hand, has been showered with nothing but praise, from taking goal-line reps in practice to Belichick calling the rookie a three-down back.
Some combination of Vereen, Ridley and White will see the field, and Belichick will go with the hot hand. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Veeren has an ADP of 4.11 and Ridley is being drafted in the middle of the sixth round. Veeren is too risky for a fourth-round pick for my tastes, but Ridley isn’t a bad investment in the sixth. If he can hang onto the ball, he could produce numbers similar to his 2012 season. Whether you own Ridley or Vereen, you will have to add White to your roster. That shouldn’t be much of an issue, however, as he is going undrafted in many standard leagues.
Whatever route you take, you have to handcuff any Patriots running back with White this season.