The New England Patriots haven’t had a strong rushing attack in some time. The team has constantly thrown first with QB Tom Brady under center and it has always limited the overall fantasy football value of the team’s running backs.
The main options to tote the ball for the Patriots this season are Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. Both backs aren’t exactly first round picks, but they have become popular picks in the middle of drafts this summer. Unfortunately, they will both come with a good deal of risk.
There are countless reports circling the web right now about how Vereen will receive the majority of carries in 2014. As a result of the extra press, there will be one owner in each league that feels the need to reach for the overrated back. However, Vereen has always dealt with injuries throughout his professional career. He is constantly on the injury report and the dual-threat back has shockingly missed 22 games through the first three seasons of his professional career.
Sure, Vereen is an amazing receiver out of the backfield, but he is a very mediocre rusher. If he doesn’t keep his average over 4.0 YPC, he will start to lose carries and may be forced into more of a situational rushing role. He really doesn’t have much job security.
Ridley, on the other hand, was projected to be the full-time starter in 2013, but he quickly lost the job after several costly fumbles in the opening weeks of the season. He earned a spot in Bill Belichick’s doghouse, and as a result, Ridley didn’t see much action down the stretch last fantasy season. Ridley will have to show a lot to get back into the good graces of the team and it may take several weeks before he even sees double-digit touches. Ridley will once again be one of the riskiest fantasy picks of the entire draft, so let someone else deal with the headache week after week.
Both backs come with a ton of questions marks, and considering the team’s propensity to use multiple backs each week, it would be better to avoid them altogether in 2014.