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Start: Fred Jackson (vs. ATL)
Jackson owners are undoubtedly a bit uneasy, as the veteran running back has averaged just 52 yards per game over his past three weeks with no touchdowns. Moreover, since C.J. Spiller is back in the fold, Jackson is no longer a source of fully guaranteed touches.
And yet, there's reason to believe he will bounce back this week as a solid No. 2 option. For one, two of his opponents the past three weeks have been the Chiefs and Jets, two of tougher defenses against the run. This week, Jackson faces the putrid Falcons defense, one of the 10 worst against the run.
More importantly, Jackson is still receiving a consistent number of touches, roughly 16 per game. That's a workable amount, and against Atlanta, Jackson should be able to do plenty of damage when he gets the opportunity.
Sit: Stevan Ridley (at HOU)
Ridley will not completely disappear, as he is by far New England's best traditional running back. Shane Vereen is a solid change-up as a passing back, but neither he nor LeGarrette Blount nor Brandon Bolden are superior runners to Ridley.
And yet, there is a breaking point with every player, and the Patriots are on the cusp of that with their fumble-prone starter. The most likely outcome will see Ridley receive a limited number of carries—perhaps 10 per game, which was his workload over the first month of the season—while the Pats distribute carries more evenly among their four running backs.
That's bad news for fantasy owners, and though the occasional goal-line carry may goose Ridley's value, he's currently too unreliable to bear the load for either the Patriots or your fantasy team.