LeGarrette Blount has emerged as a legitimate fantasy option in the New England Patriots' backfield after consecutive solid performances.
Blount's fantasy value has jumped even higher now that Stevan Ridley will officially miss Sunday's contest against the Cincinnati Bengals as confirmed by Mike Reiss:
Patriots RB Stevan Ridley (knee) is officially out for Week 5; TE Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm) & WR Danny Amendola (groin) questionable.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 4, 2013
If owners have failed to grab Blount up to this point, now is the time to do so. Even NFL Network's Michael Fabiano engaged the caps lock to stress the point:
Looks like Stevan Ridley is out in Week 5. Pick up LeGarrette Blount NOW.— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) October 4, 2013
Ridley has disappointed this year anyway, hence the coaching staff's decision to roll with a committee approach. The 24-year-old had only received a total of 22 carries the past two games and has failed to score a touchdown all year.
Things have been much better for Blount. While he does not participate in passing situations and the team defers to Brandon Bolden in goal-line scenarios, Blount has still managed to scrape together enough fantasy production to warrant an add without Ridley's injury.
Blount has rushed for 155 yards this year on just 34 carries. It is important to note much of that production has come in the last two games as Blount has rushed for over 60 yards in both contests and ripped off a 47-yard touchdown run against Atlanta last week.
Keep in mind those friendly numbers came against top-10 rush defenses in Atlanta (92.3 yards per game) and Tampa Bay (94.3), so Blount is clearly finding major success as defenses focus primarily on Tom Brady.
As fantasy owners are well aware, it does not matter how Blount gets his numbers as long as he does. Defenses will not suddenly throw more resources to stop Blount out of the backfield, especially with Brady getting elite tight end Rob Gronkowski back in a week or so.
Is Blount worth a start this weekend?
The numbers against stout defenses also bodes well for this weekend's matchup against Cincinnati and its defense that ranks just outside of the top 10 in rush defense. After that, Blount has an easy matchup against a weak New Orleans front that ranks No. 22 versus the run.
With Ridley out of the way, Blount is due for an uptick in production. Bolden will still handle passing and goal-line scenarios, but Blount will be the early-down bruiser.
Blount should be owned in all leagues at this point, but that is now especially the case with Ridley hurt. Expect borderline No. 1 production from Blount for at least the next few weeks.
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