New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden was one of the breakout performers in Week 4, but it is far too risky to toss him into fantasy football starting lineups in Week 5.
Bolden picked up 137 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in a 52-28 rout of the Buffalo Bills after receiving just seven carries for 15 yards in the first three games.
The Pats’ new threat in the backfield is an undrafted rookie out of Mississippi. He had his best season as a junior in 2010 when he gained 976 yards on 163 carries with 14 touchdowns. He also caught 32 passes for 344 yards and three more scores.
With a big day against Buffalo, Bolden has proved that he can be as productive in the NFL as he was in college. But Bill Belichick is not going to just hand him the starting running back job after one impressive performance.
While Bolden’s breakout showing will allow him to receive more opportunities going forward, Stevan Ridley will still be a factor in the backfield, as will Danny Woodhead.
Still, the chances of Bolden having another game in which he averages 8.6 yards per carry are low. In the game against Buffalo, the Patriots offense went on a scoring tear that is unusual even for them. It has been three years since the team put up this many points.
Bolden was running against a deflated and demoralized Buffalo defense. This is not to take away from his excellent game, but it will be extremely surprising to see him run that efficiently in another game this season.
Fantasy owners who have a favorable waver-wire position would be wise to pick up the Pats running back, but they should monitor how many carries he receives and how involved he is in the New England offense going forward.
There are far too many unknowns in the Patriots backfield to jump to conclusions over last week’s blowout victory. For now, Bolden should not be thought of as a fantasy football starter.
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