Aften an unexpected season where Ridley accumulated 1,263 yards on 290 carries averaging 4.4 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns. The question is can Ridley keep this up? Will he get the opportunity or will it be a Running Back by Committee. One thing we do know about the Patriots is that they do not throw the ball to Ridley, that's all shane vereen. We also know Ridley had some fumbling issues last season and also got knocked out by bernard pollard. Who knows how much that hit affected him. I have seen alot of rankings where he is placed in the top 15, I have a hard time accepting that, I personally think this will be a fall off year for Ridley...
I'd expect similar stats from him, except the ypc will go down. With the loss of several targets for Brady, I think that Belichick goes back to a more run focused offense, and Ridley will be the top producer, even if they go to RBBC.
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With so many ??????? at the TE position, Ridley's value will only increase in the red zone - Vereen and Bolden will also see a bump in value as well, how they divide the workload remains to be seen but Ridley appears to be the main benefactor.
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IMO Ridley and Vereen are both going to benefit from the loss of weapons in NE.
As a matter of fact, as of today, they are the only 2 Patriots I want anything to do with come draft day... Brady is down to oft-injured Danny Amendola, a handful of rookies & NFL journeymen @ WR, and major question marks at TE.
Vereen has a very legit shot to become a PPR RB2 & IMO - Danny Woodhead was RB26 in PPR formats last year... Woodhead & Vereen combined for 552 yards rushing, 48 catches, 454 yards recieving, and 11 TD... 214.6 PPR points. Woodhead isn't there & IMO Leon Washington is a return specialist.
Ridley is a virtual lock for 1000+ yards rushing & 10+ TD (think Michael Turner in ATL numbers) provided he stays healthy.
The Patriots currently have an absurd 9 RB on their roster.
Not sure of the cap hit if they release Washington (he's due an insane $3,375,000 2013 salary).
Ridley/Vereen/Bolden are all pretty much locks to make the roster.
Assuming that Washington makes the roster - that's 4.
3 rookies, Blount, and a 2nd year guy named James Develin
I would assume 1 of those 5 makes the final roster.
Ridley & Vereen are both going to see a hefty share of touches.
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Here's my take on Ridley. I had him last year and he did just about what I thought he could. Many people don't know or don't even realize how much the Pat's actually run the ball due to the crazy success of Tom Brady and the passing game. I believe the Pat's were 6th in rushing attempts for the '12 season. Ridley had 290 or so carries in what is a true committee backfield. 290 carries seems like a lot for a guy in a time share. There were another 190 or so carries divided up between Woodhead, Vereen, Boldin, etc...Here's the reason why Ridley was able to have so many carries in a shared backfield. The Patriots run a massive amount of offensive plays each game. They are so effective in converting 3rd downs and getting near the goal line in comparison to the rest of the league, the lead back in the Pat's rotation (Ridley) is able to have success within that rotation due to sheer volume of opportunity. How many backs in the NFL that carry the ball roughly 60% of the time end up with near 300 carries. Damn few. Ridley might be the only one. Now, here's my problem going into this year. The personnel that Brady is throwing to is going to be vastly different. No Welker, Hernandez, Lloyd, and who knows what's up with Gronk and his health. He's not even running yet. Even if Gronk comes back, as beastly as he is, he's gonna attract much more attention due to the lack of talent around him. I don't care what anyone says, Amendola is not Welker. With that being said, I don't see the volume of plays that we're accustomed to seeing carrying over to the 2013 season. Brady is one of the best, but the talent just isn't there to consistently convert 3rd downs, marching up the field drive after drive during the course of a game. Consequently, less plays means less opportunity for Ridley, fewer goalline scoring opportunites, and an overall decline in fantasy production. If he loses 5 carries a game over 16 games, that's 80 carries for the year at, say 4.1 YPC that's 328 yards less. That puts him right about 900-1,000 yards and I'll give him 7-8 TD's. That's a far cry from nearly 1,300 yards and 12 TD's.
Seems to me like the TDs will certainly be there for him. Even if he regresses somewhat yardage-wise it doesn't seem his floor is any lower than what the Law-Firm did a few years ago with the pats. 1000 yards and 13 TDs? I'll take that.