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2012 stats: 16 games, 290 carries, 1,263 yards, 12 TDs
2013 stats: 14 games, 178 carries, 773 yards, 7 TDs
After sharing the workload with LeGarrette Blount in 2013, Stevan Ridley can have the backfield mostly to himself this year if he can eliminate mistakes.
Blount joined the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Ridley's primary competition will come from Shane Vereen, with Brandon Bolden and fourth-round rookie James White also pressing for carries.
Ridley remains the most potent fantasy back on New England's roster. He rushed for more than 1,200 yards and 12 scores in 2012, but he carried the ball 112 fewer times last season.
This year, Ridley is actually getting drafted after Vereen in Yahoo leagues, partly because Vereen offers much greater versatility as a receiver.
Two major issues detract from Ridley as a fantasy asset. First, he's not a pass-catcher, with just 19 career receptions. Second, he suffers from a debilitating issue that affects certain running backs: fumble-itis.
Ridley laid the ball on the ground four times in each of the last two seasons, and he got himself benched after his first playoff game in January 2012, when he lost a fumble against the Denver Broncos.
As head coach Bill Belichick said in a conference call Saturday, via WEEI's Mike Petraglia: “We always talk about ball security, taking care of the ball. There’s nothing that correlates more to winning and losing than turnovers, so that’s always a high priority for us."
Fortunately, fumble-itis is a curable disease. Just ask Tiki Barber.
Ridley will remain a risky pick, but that will ward off skittish owners and make the potential reward even sweeter for those who draft him. Want a guy who scored 19 TDs the last two years? Yes, please!
2014 projection: 240 carries, 1,100 yards, 9 TDs