LeGarrette Blount Replaces Stevan Ridley After Fumble, Analyzing Patriots RB's Fantasy Value
The New England Patriots were already riddled with uncertainty at wide receiver and tight end, but fantasy owners must now track a brewing situation at running back.
Starter Stevan Ridley fumbled the ball untouched, paving the way for Da'Norris Searcy to score a 74-yard touchdown for the Buffalo Bills. That led to Bill Belichick yanking Ridley from the contest, awarding his touches to veteran LeGarrette Blount.
Fantasy regulars will remember Blount from 2010, when he amassed 1,007 rushing yards and six touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The hefty 250-pound bruiser was expected to resume a larger role the following season, but he instead veered in the opposite direction, gaining 781 rushing yards as his yards per carry dropped from 5.0 to 4.2.
The downward trend continued last year, as he averaged just 3.7 yards on 41 attempts. If New England keeps giving him the ball, Blount has value as a goal-line threat. After all, BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored a combined 21 touchdowns in two seasons while entrenched in that role.
But were Ridley to fade into obscurity, Shane Vereen is the main benefactor. The 24-year-old figures to play a key role in New England's passing attack, having already reeled in three catches for 29 yards at halftime.
He also showed his stuff on the ground, breaking free for a 21-yard run. While he won't snatch many touchdowns away, Vereen should earn plenty of yards, and he's especially valuable in points-per-reception leagues.
Keep an eye on how Belichick manages his running backs during the second half.
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