For fantasy owners with Stevan Ridley, taking the good with the bad in the Patriots backfield has worked out well five weeks into the season. As the second-year runner displayed against the Broncos, he’s done a terrific job fighting for extra yards, taking on would-be tacklers at the point of contact and winning and at the same time showing a burst through the hole some didn’t think he had coming out of LSU.
If Ridley were to keep the same role he’s had thus far, we would have to believe his odds of finishing as one of the top 10 backs in fantasy are good.
Unfortunately, Ridley has one problem that could be his Achilles' heel toward the path to a Pro Bowl season, and that is his fumbling woes. Late in the game against Denver, Ridley coughed the football up allowing the Broncos to have an opportunity to pull the game down to one score.
Fortunately for the Patriots, Willis McGahee had a fumble of his own, and they got the football back. What is interesting is that Ridley wasn’t back on the field to run the clock out as rookie Brandon Bolden finished the game.
This was the second week in a row that Ridley fumbled the football, a problem that got him benched in the team's final two playoffs games last year.
What I do like is that in an interview after the game, Ridley owned up to his poor play and looks focused to continue working on ball security.
This isn’t the first-time Ridley has impressed me with his response to the media. After losing some ground to Shane Vereen in OTAs, he told the press he was going to go out and win the starting job in training champ, which he did.
It would be foolish for me to recommend you bench Ridley this week as the Patriots head out to Seattle and play one of the better run defenses in football. While Seattle has arguably the best defense in the league (when playing at home), it is Ridley’s ball security issues that could lead to a reduced role.
Because Ridley has owned up to his fumbling problem and has improved his game in so many ways from last year (obviously a sign he has worked hard this off-season), I’m willing to believe he will start and touch the football up to 20 times.
Don’t expect over 100 yards on the ground this week, but he could find 70 and a score as defenses will be challenged with the Patriots' hurry-up offense.
What Did We Learn From Week 5?
- Rashard Mendenhall was back in the starting lineup for the Steelers. He had a good game and appears to have his feature role back. While Mendenhall will likely work his way into RB2 status going forward, I have some concerns about his workload this week as the Steelers play Thursday.
Still, Mendenhall gets a tasty matchup against the Titans, so get him in the lineup as at least a flex-play option.
- Ryan Mathews ended up as the starter and main option in the backfield after all against the Saints. While Mathews didn’t have big-time numbers, he did run for more than 80 yards and found the end zone. This performance had to take some weight off of his fantasy owners, and we should feel good about his role going forward.
Sean’s Week 6 Watch List
- With an extra week of rest, let’s see how Mikel Leshoure responds after a poor performance against the Vikings in Week 4. The Eagles gave up more than 100 total yards of offense this week to Rashard Mendenhall, who was coming off an ACL injury.
- It was second-year tailback Alex Green who saw a majority of the touches for Green Bay after Cedric Benson went down. Green had only nine carries and would be a low-end flex option this week against a stout Texans defense. Let’s see how Green performs, because I like his skill-set and perhaps he can cut into Benson’s role, if the veteran should come back slowly from his injury.
- I was disappointed in Doug Martin’s workload and the usage of LeGarrette Blount in the Buccaneers loss to the Redskins last week before the team's bye week. On paper, Martin has a matchup against the Chiefs that could make him a low-end RB1 option, but because his role is unclear, look to him as no higher than a low-end RB2 option.
Hopefully Martin will be back to over 20 touches and receive goal-line work; if not, it will be a troublesome sign for his fantasy prospects going forward.
- With D’Qwell Jackson down with a concussion in the second quarter, the Giants ran all over the Browns defense. If Jackson is out this week, expect BenJarvus Green-Ellis to have over 100 yards and possibly more than one score. Get him in the lineup.
|2||Jamaal Charles||@ Bucs|
|6||Adrian Peterson||@ Redskins|
|10||Darren McFadden||@ Falcons|
|12||Willis McGahee||@ Chargers|
|13||BenJarvus Green-Ellis||@ Browns|
|16||Stevan Ridley||@ Seahawks|
|17||Ahmad Bradshaw||@ 49ers|
|18||Rashard Mendenhall||@ Titans|
|20||Mikel Leshoure||@ Eagles|
|21||C.J. Spiller||@ Cardinals|
|22||DeMarco Murray||@ Ravens|
|23||Steven Jackson||@ Dolphins|
|24||Donald Brown||@ Jets|
|25||Fred Jackson||@ Cardinals|
|28||Alex Green||@ Texans|
|31||Brandon Bolden||@ Seahawks|
|34||Ben Tate (I)||Packers|