Brandon Bolden: Patriots RB Is a Smart Waiver Wire Pickup for Week 5

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Brandon Bolden #38 of the New England Patriots carries the ball during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 30, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden has emerged as a good waiver-wire pickup in your fantasy football league after a spectacular performance against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

If you play in an ESPN fantasy league, there's a strong chance Bolden is available.

Brandon Bolden scored 20 fantasy points on Sunday as Ridley's "backup". He's owned in just 0.3 percent of leagues.

— ESPN Fantasy Sports (@ESPNFantasy) October 1, 2012

If there is one thing that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has tried to do more of this season with the Patriots offense, it's having more balance by running the football.

In Sunday's come-from-behind win over the Bills, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for 340 yards, yet the team still rushed for 247 yards as well.

It was a historic day for the Patriots offense.

Today Patriots became 2nd team in @nflhistory w/a 300-yd passer, 2 100-yard rushers Bolden & Ridley) & 2 100-yd receivers (Welker & Gronk)

— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 1, 2012

Bolden was a major part of the running attack against Buffalo, racking up 137 yards on 16 carries, plus a touchdown.

While Bolden also scored a touchdown in the Patriots' Week 3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday was the first time he was given a large role in the offense. Going into the Bills game, Bolden had just seven carries through the first three games.

Is Bolden going to replace Stevan Ridley as the starter? No, but it could happen at some point. Ridley also had a strong game versus the Bills with 106 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns.

Ridley has now rushed for an average of 84.75 yards per game this season and has three total touchdowns, so he's going to be the starter unless he plays poorly for a number of weeks in a row.

However, McDaniels isn't afraid to spread the wealth, and for the last few years, the Patriots have done a nice job of using multiple running backs in the passing and running games.

Bolden should be able to run the ball as well as he did Sunday for most of the season. There will be enough carries for him even though Ridley is the starter, and Bolden has shown that he can be effective at the goal line.

Bolden is a smart pickup in your fantasy league, regardless of the type of scoring format you play in. He's worthy of a start if you lack depth at the running back position or need a bye-week replacement in the future.

The Patriots don't play a lot of good run defenses this season and their schedule is one of the easiest in the NFL, so there won't be too many weeks when Bolden has a bad fantasy matchup.

Strongly consider picking up Bolden off your league's waiver wire because his Week 4 performance against Buffalo wasn't a fluke. He's a talented running back who could become a real weapon in the Patriots offense this season.


Nicholas Goss is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report, follow him on Twitter.