Assessing Stevan Ridley's Fantasy Outlook and Trade Value After Week 6

Tim KeeneyContributor IOctober 14, 2013

Oct 13, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) stiff arms New Orleans Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Saints 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Much like Steve Urkel would turn into Stefan Urquelle, Week 6 saw the lackluster Stevan Ridley transform into the fantasy-stud Stephen Ridleigh. 

And Stephen Ridleigh is someone you want on your team

(I'm sorry. That didn't really work that well, but I wanted to make a reference to Steve Urkel way too bad. Plain ol' selfishness)

In all seriousness, the New England Patriots starting running back, just one Sunday after being forced to sit out Week 5 with a knee injury, looked like a completely different running back than he had so far in 2013.

Despite not entering the game until late in the first quarter, Ridley led the Patriots backfield in snaps (38) and carries (20), as he churned out a monster fantasy day with 110 total yards (96 rushing, 14 receiving) and two touchdowns. 

By comparison, in the first four games of the season, Ridley tallied just 208 yards (174 rushing, 34 rushing) and zero scores. 

If Ridley is still magically available in your league (he's owned in just 95.9 percent of ESPN leagues as of writing this), it's time to put in a waiver claim and do whatever you have to do (I mean whatever) to make sure your leaguemates don't do the same. 

In the more realistic situation that he's already owned and you want to trade for him, you should treat him like a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 depending on your league size.

Ridley is still going to lose snaps to Brandon Bolden (and Shane Vereen once he returns) on obvious passing downs. But he is far (far, far, far) more talented than LeGarrette Blount (who had seven carries for nine yards on Sunday) and looked dangerously explosive this weekend. 

Twenty touches—the Patriots are eighth in the NFL in rushing attempts this season and were second in 2012—and all the goal-line work he can handle should be on the horizon for Ridley, and as long as he shows the same kind of burst from 2012 and from Sunday, he's going to produce in a big way. 

The New York Jets—the stiffest team in the league against the run this year—in Week 7 may result in the unexciting early 2013 version Ridley, but after that, it's going to be the far more appealing Stephen Ridleigh all the way. 

Make a move for him while you can.