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November 30, 2013

Fantasy Forecast: Can Ridley overcome fumble-itis?

Fantasy Forecast

Andy Silva

So, recently in one of my fantasy leagues I found myself desperately in need of some running back relief.

My team was on the upswing, climbing the league ladder and I thought I could really make an impact by improving my ground attack. I made what I thought was a reasonable deal for Patriots running back Stevan Ridley. Despite some obvious flaws, Ridley has shown flashes of brilliance and tremendous upside. I was feeling good.

As I was watching the Pats-Broncos game last Sunday night those good feelings turned sour fast. Ridley’s major bug-a-boo — holding onto the football — reared its ugly head once again and has now put Ridley’s role on the team into question.

Ridley has lost four fumbles on the season, a fact surely not lost on head coach Bill Belichick. Ridley was the invisible man following his costly turnover against the Broncos leading some to question whether he is about to find himself shackled to the bench. But, there is some evidence to support the notion that Ridley will get another chance.

Perhaps the biggest thing working in his favor is the fact the LeGarrette Blount came in an immediately put the ball on the ground as well. And with Shane Vereen still working his way back to health, someone is going to get those snaps. If both are going to make you hold your breath every time they touch the ball, at least Ridley provides the potential to break off a big run and make things happen.

Moreover, both offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and even the man in the hoodie himself have give Ridley a vote of confidence this week. McDaniels said he has “great confidence in Stevan as a runner” and Belichick said on WEEI, “I don’t think any of our backs have an issue that I would say prevents them from being a productive player.” It could just be a case of Belichick not wanting to betray his true feelings, but at the very least things are sounding like they are not too bleak for Ridley.

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