The New England Patriots' rushing attack has greatly improved on the field in 2012, but New England's backfield is a worst-case scenario for fantasy owners. It seems like every week a different player is stepping up and taking over as the lead guy, only to be shunned in favor of someone else the next week.
Brandon Bolden is only the most recent example of this phenomenon.
His Week 4 performance was exceptional, rushing for 137 yards and a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills.
Any idea what his production was through the first three games?
Seven rushes for 15 yards and a score.
Bill Belichick simply does not rely on one RB to carry a heavy workload every week and be "the guy." He has too many pieces that fit the puzzle to utilize that philosophy.
Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley and Bolden are all threats to be the leading rusher in a given game. Belichick's gameplan means opponents cannot prepare for just one back, they have to prepare for a handful.
And fantasy football players are put into a tough predicament as a result.
In Week 3, Woodhead had 15 carries.
In Week 4, he had zero.
Against Buffalo, Ridley had over a 100 yards for the second time this season, but in Week 3 he managed a mere 37.
This type of hot-n-cold, unreliability is a headache that most fantasy owners should be smart enough to stay away from.
Yes, Bolden is a hot ticket item after exploding in Week 4, but what are the chances he becomes the first Patriots running back to rush for 100 yards in back-to-back games this season in Week 5?
Slim to none.
Even keeping a talent like Ridley or Bolden on your fantasy bench is somewhat of a waste, because you are never sure what week they will be seeing the majority of the carries.
Belichick gives away nothing during weekly preparation, and he utilizes too many quality backs for any to gain real fantasy traction.
If you are in a bind and have to take one, Ridley has at least seen 13 carries each week.
He is the best choice you don't want to have to make, because fantasy owners will never be able to trust a New England RB.