Is Stevan Ridley the Answer to the New England Patriots' Fantasy Riddle at RB?

Ryan LesterSenior Writer ISeptember 10, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 9:   Stevan Ridley #22 of the New England Patriots is tackled by Robert Johnson #32 of the Tennessee Titans during the season opener at LP Field on September 8, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Patriots defeated the Titans 34 to 13.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

In the New England Patriots' pass-happy world, it has been Tom Brady, a plethora of wide receivers and more recently his monster tight-end combo that have been the apple of the fantasy world’s eye.

The running-back scene in New England has been one to almost completely avoid. Coming off a 125-rushing-yard (152 total), one-touchdown day from Stevan Ridley, perhaps it’s the dawn of a new day.

The Patriots remain a passing team at heart, and there are other options in the passing game, but Ridley's heavy use would suggest that the starting running-back gig is his to lose. After his brilliant start, that shouldn’t happen any time soon.

Ridley was impressive last year, averaging 5.1 yards per carry on his 87 rushing attempts. That ability to move the chains is why the Patriots found BenJarvus Green-Ellis expendable.

Againt the Tennessee Titans, Ridley averaged six yards per tote on his 21 carries. He managed to get in the end zone on a one-yard plunge to equal his touchdown total from last year.

Another area in which he showed improvement was the passing game. His 27 receiving yards were more than double his season total as a rookie, and his two catches were one shy of the three he caught all of last year.

Danny Woodhead had six carries, Brandon Bolden had five and Aaron Hernandez had one. Woodhead should continue to get a few looks, as will Shane Vareen when he returns from his most recent ailment.

Neither appear to threaten the 5’11", 220-pound Ridley.

While I wouldn’t expect 150-plus total yards or even 20-plus carries on a weekly basis from Ridley, he is looking like a solid RB2.

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