Here's your strange fantasy football trend for Week 7: Danny Woodhead has seen his ownership rise by 14.1 percent in ESPN fantasy football leagues this week, while over at Yahoo! he's been picked up by 10,510 owners.
I had two reactions when I saw that. The first was probably a bit dramatic.
And then I just asked myself, Why? Why are people adding the New England Patriots' running back like he's canned food in a zombie uprising?
It didn't take me long to connect the dots. The primary clue was that Brandon Bolden didn't practice on Thursday, according to Christopher Price of WEEI:
Gregory, Bolden, White, Mankins and Hernandez not at practice. Shells on fields behind Gillette Stadium.— Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) October 18, 2012
Not surprisingly, that's led to folks speculating that Woodhead might receive more snaps and touches this week with Bolden likely to miss the game, as they did over at the Boston's Herald's "The Blitz" blog:
The Pats third down back has been particularly effective the past few weeks, and has seen his playing time increase.
With Brandon Bolden likely out with an unspecified knee injury, Woodhead’s time may increase even more Sunday against the Jets.
I'm here to tell everyone to just calm down for a second.
First of all, Stevan Ridley is the back you want to have in New England. Yes, I know the New York Jets are miserable against the run (28th in rushing yards allowed), but Ridley is going to do the bulk of that damage.
I guess if you are really desperate for a running back or mediocre flex, Woodhead will give you a handful of points. He's had between six and nine fantasy points the past four weeks in standard-scoring leagues, after all.
I'll even grant you this—if the Patriots absolutely blow out the Jets, he could have garbage-time value.
But we all know how risky it is relying on players in a Bill Belichick backfield. Who thought Bolden would have fantasy relevance this season? Who expected Shane Vereen to vulture a touchdown against the Denver Broncos? Who knows what random running back Belichick might roll out there next?
Besides, since the 2011 season Woodhead has managed just one game with 10 fantasy points or more. His upside is limited in the current version of the Patriots' offense, and if you're looking for a player who might be a sleeper and score you big points, you're barking up the wrong tree.
My advice? If you are desperate to add a running back due to injuries and bye weeks, Woodhead will do. But if you need help at the flex, there are wide receivers out there that will give you more upside than Woodhead.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets never need help from the refs on the goal line.