The New England Patriots will have running back Shane Vereen back in their lineup for Monday Night’s road game against Carolina. Vereen injured his wrist in Week 1 after putting on a clinic against the Buffalo Bills. Since then, he’s undergone surgery and is finally cleared to return.
But wait, haven’t the Patriots had success running the ball this season without Vereen? Stevan Ridley has lead the Patriots backfield to be the 8th best rushing offense in the NFL thus far. Even more significantly, they’re 8th in rushing when they have one of the best quarterbacks ever at the helm of their offense. So the question remains, is there a place for Vereen in this offense right now?
As the Patriots receiving corps’ fragility is shown time and time again, Vereen will be welcomed back with open arms. Couple his creativity in open fields with his sure-handedness and Vereen is as good a receiver as any coming out of the backfield. While quarterback Tom Brady often struggles to find the hot receiver on his team, Vereen will be a safe constant for Brady.
Don’t go rushing for Vereen too quickly for your fantasy team. Although he had an impressive 159 total yards in his only performance this season, the New England coaching staff is still unsure of how hot a start he’ll get out to. After the Patriots found a comfortable rhythm between Ridley and LeGarrette Blount, it might take some time for Vereen to work his way back into a leading role on the offense.