Stevan Ridley: Complete Fantasy Profile and Draft Strategy

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24:  Stevan Ridley #22 of the New England Patriots stiff arms Cameron Wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins during the fourth quarter of New England's 27-24 win at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Will Tom Brady and the passing game of the New England Patriots render any and all running backs, including Stevan Ridley, irrelevant for fantasy owners this year?

It's always possible, but given that BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored 11 touchdowns last season and Ridley seems destined to inherit his role, there is unquestionably upside for the young running back. 

Sure, he had fumbleitis last year and has plenty of competition for touches at the running back position. Yes, New England is one of those teams—like the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins—where owning any running back is always a little scary.

But Ridley is worth keeping in mind this season for your team. How high should he be drafted, and what will his output for this season be?

Read on, dear readers.


What Round Should You Target Him?

Ridley's generally being targeted in the sixth or seventh round. I would start targeting him in the seventh or eighth, as I think there are more promising backs in that section of the draft.


Injury News and General Updates

Has Ridley clearly won the starting role in New England? On the Fantasy Guru podcast, NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell said he believes Ridley will be the main man (via RotoWorld):

"I think Ridley has the physical attributes to be a volume sustainer," said Cosell. "He's a physical guy, excellent short area burst, speed through the hole, even speed to the perimeter on outside zone." Cosell points out that the Pats knew Ridley was a more talented runner than BenJarvus Green-Ellis last year, but blitz pickup and ball security held him back. Cosell believes Shane Vereen is a back who only performs well in space. "I will be surprised if Vereen makes it [as a major contributor]," said Cosell. "But that's just me."

Sounds like Ridley is not only the guy you want in fantasy, but has the upside to be an improvement over Green-Ellis as a pure runner.


Stat Projections

900 yards from scrimmage, eight touchdowns.



Green-Ellis had 190 total touches as the primary runner in New England's offense a year ago, an average of 11.9 per week. That's probably about what you can expect from Ridley as well.

Of course, as long as he gets the lion's share of the work at the goal line and also replicates the Law Firm's 11 touchdowns from a year ago, you'll live with his limited touches.


Running Backs With a Similar ADP That You Should Draft Before Ridley

Darren Sproles, Ahmad Bradshaw, Reggie Bush, Willis McGahee, Doug Martin, BenJarvus Green-Ellis


Running Backs With a Similar ADP That You Should Draft After Ridley

Jonathan Stewart, Shonn Greene, Roy Helu, Ben Tate


The Last Word

On an offense that is more focused on the pass and typically recycles backs in and out of the games, Ridley's upside this year is likely to be a flex consideration for your team each week.


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