Versatile RB Shane Vereen is not the most well-known player in the NFL. In fact, before his name started showing up in the fifth and sixth rounds of Fantasy Football draft boards this year, casual fans probably had never heard of him.
The fourth-year running back has maintained a low profile through his career, just what you’d expect of a New England Patriot. But expect to hear his name early and often in 2014.
Last year, Vereen broke his wrist and missed eight games, but in the eight he played, he was the ideal player for a Tom Brady offense. While the former California Bear is listed as a running back, he had more receptions than rush attempts. In fact, while only playing half the season, he had the 15th-most receptions for a running back. If he maintained his pace, Vereen would have finished the year with 94 catches for 854 yards.
Don’t think he can’t run the ball though. In Week 1, Vereen had 14 carries for 101 yards. But after his injury, the Patriots established their ground attack elsewhere, leaving Vereen only 30 more carries over his last seven games.
Now healthy, Vereen should be a viable option on the ground, as well as the receiving threat that he is out of the backfield. In standard leagues, the 25-year-old should be a solid flex starter. But in PPR leagues, Vereen should be a completely solid No. 2 running back and should have weeks of “Fantasy Hero” written all over him. Without any real options at receiver, Vereen will be one of Brady’s favorite targets so expect him to rack up yards on the ground and through the air.
Getting starting running back value, out of a fifth- or sixth-round pick this year is unheard of. Draft Vereen confidently.