Through four weeks of play, the New England Patriots are leading the NFL in offensive yardage, compiling a whopping 1,752.8 yards thus far. They have gained 576 of those – or 33% of their output – on the ground, up from 25% last season.
This would seem like good news, not only for fans of the team, but for fantasy owners who want to capitalize on the league’s best offense being able to add a dominant rusher to the mix. Right?
In preseason projections, LSU product Stevan Ridley was widely tabbed as the main man in the New England backfield. Indeed, he had earned it, amassing a 5.1 yards per carry average last season as a backup to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. And when Ridley came flying out of the gates in Week 1 this season with a 21.2 fantasy point performance, those owners who put faith in the young back were handsomely rewarded.
Since that Week 1 breakout, though, Ridley has been competing for touches with Danny Woodhead and Brandon Bolden, and I only have one person to blame for this:
The notoriously-shifty Patriots head coach must hate fantasy football. He is always tinkering with his backfield lineup, causing fake football headaches akin to those administered by Sean Payton and Mike Shanahan. Just when you think you can count on a runner, he goes and inserts a nobody like Bolden and allows him to acquire 137 yards or vulture goal line touchdowns from Ridley.
In short, it is a nightmare – a nightmare I refer to as The Curse of the Hoodie.
So what are fantasy owners to do? It’s not like running out and adding Bolden off of waivers is a sure bet, and neither is Ridley at this point.
Simply put, Ridley owners have to put their faith in their man and hope for New England to keep putting up 50 spots on opposing defenses.
Regardless, this is a situation to monitor, as it may end up diminishing Ridley’s value as the season wears on.
Damn you, Belichick.
Other thoughts from the weekend that was…
Top QBs bounce back. With Drew Brees (29.84 fantasy points), Aaron Rodgers (29.06), and Tom Brady (32) all posting massive days, owners were reassured that offense is alive and well in the NFL, at least for their high-end, top of the draft quarterbacks. Even Peyton Manning (25.42) got in on the fun. It was like 2009 all over again!
Miami continues to impress. Playing against an Arizona defense that managed to keep Tom Brady and Michael Vick in check, Ryan Tannehill put on a passing clinic (431 yards) against the Cards yesterday while falling in an overtime loss. Miami came into the season known for their defense, but with Reggie Bush and Brian Hartline playing out of their minds, the ‘Phins have become a team to keep an eye on.
Janikowski’s reign coming to an end? It’s not often I am going to spill a ton of ink on kickers, but this one bears noting: Sebastian Janikowski’s run as biggest leg in the league may be over, as St. Louis Rams rookie Greg Zuerlein is poised to take the crown. With field goals of 50 and 60 yards yesterday, “Greg the Leg” has now converted 100% of his tries this season, including three from 50 or more yards. Playing for an offense that is serviceable, but certainly not deadly, will leave him with plenty of opportunities to keep adding to his resume.
Forte set to return tonight, but Bush still a decent play. Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte is slated to play this evening after sitting out last week with an ankle injury, which slightly devalues Michael Bush’s fantasy standing. However, Bush still has plenty of muscle and will handle goal line duties, so take a look at defensive matchups before you decide to bail on him each week. He’s still an excellent handcuff.
Now that we have teams on bye every week, I thought it would only make sense to combine the Waiver Watch with a matching bye week segment each week. As a result, the Waiver Watch and bye week pickups will be coming each week on Tuesday – still with enough time to make your claims, and hopefully with a more catchy moniker.