Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Blount-force trauma: LeGarrette Blount has outscored Stevan Ridley, minimizing Ridley's fantasy value.
As I alluded to on the intro slide, Stevan Ridley owners should be among the most frustrated in all of fantasy. He is stuck in the Patriots' dreaded running-back-by-committee scenario with no apparent end in sight.
Through one quarter of the season, Ridley only has 174 yards rushing and 34 yards receiving. Those are numbers you might have expected for one game, but not for one month.
The worst part of his slow start is that, unlike Doug Martin, his bad numbers are not only a function of his lack of production, but also his lack of use. When Shane Vereen went down for most of the season with a wrist surgery, Ridley had a chance to become a workhorse in the Pats offense, a unit that was already without its leading targets in tight end Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm) and wide receiver Danny Amendola (groin).
Instead, Ridley has surrendered more carries to LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden, especially in the red zone. Blount had nine carries for 64 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons on Sunday night while Bolden received seven touches, including one short-yardage score that was overturned by replay.
Ridley not only is not getting enough touches, but he is also not getting the important ones for fantasy owners. Blount and Bolden have replaced Ridley in the red zone too much for fantasy owners to consider Ridley a trustworthy starter.
"We have a lot of things we need to improve on, the red zone being one of them," Ridley told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald before the Patriots' victory in Atlanta. "While we’re without a few players, we can still get stronger as a whole with guys stepping up."
Ridley's red-zone situation doesn't figure to get any better once Gronk and Amendola return, perhaps as soon as Week 5 at Cincinnati. You cannot trust Ridley, Blount or Bolden in that matchup against a sturdy Bengals' front coming off a bad loss to the Browns, especially on the road.
Trading Ridley is a dicey proposition, too. No one is going to offer anything in the way of a fantasy starter for him. Unfortunately, you're stuck holding the bag—one filled with something wretched.