Stevan Ridley Ready to Fly with the Jets

Stevan Ridley can be a difference maker for Gang Green

Stevan Ridley can be a difference maker for Gang Green

WRITTEN BY CONNOR O’HALLORAN

Stevan Ridley has yet to fully recover from the knee injury that abruptly ended his 2014 season, but the New York Jets are determined to have him leading their rushing attack coming into the 2015 season.

Ridley and his doctors believe that the former New England running back will be firing on all cylinders when training camp kicks off later this summer. It’s been five months since his knee surgery and many believe that this former fantasy RB stud can lead a crowded New York backfield.

Ridley’s 2014 season was cut short when he tore his ACL and MCL in October playing for the Patriots. His injury dropped his stock in free agency dramatically considering he’s only two years removed from a 1,200 yard, 12 TD season.

Ridley has always had issues with ball security but if he can protect the ball and get back to his old self, he could regain fantasy relevance.

Ridley joins Chris Ivory as the second power-back on the roster. Ridley will need to establish himself in the passing game if he wants to get on the field during third down situations. Ridley has always had success finding the end zone so there is a lot of upside for the Jets.

At 26, Ridley has plenty of good years left in the tank and could end up being the go-to-guy for Gang Green’s backfield this season.

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Week 16 Running Back Sit and Start Report

Ryan Mathews is a great play against a WORTHLESS Raiders defense

Ryan Mathews is a great play against a WORTHLESS Raiders defense

Week 16 is here, and with that comes fantasy football championships. All of your hard work and maybe some luck have brought you to this point and it all comes down to one more Sunday of football. If you still have some questions at the running back position, this will be your guide to bringing home the title.

Start:

Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers: After being the butt of fantasy football jokes for most of his career, Mathews has put together a solid 2013 season which has seen him catch fire in recent weeks. He has scored a combined 60 fantasy points in his last 4 weeks and is seeing a huge workload. Mathews has had 29 carries in each of his last two games which has resulted in two straight 100 yard rushing games. With a matchup against an Oakland Raiders defense which surrendered 5 TDs to Jamaal Charles last week, Mathews should be a great play this week.

DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys: On the start list for the second straight week, Murray has been ridiculously good in recent weeks. He gauged the Packers for 134 yards and a score last week and is now averaging 6.3 yards per carry since his return from injury in Week 9. This week the Cowboys take on the Washington Redskins who are horrendous against the run. With the Redskins surrendering the most rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs, it’s a good bet we’ll see Murray in the end zone sometime on Sunday.

Sit:

Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints: With a division title on the line in the Saints matchup against the Carolina Panthers this week, don’t expect much from the Saints primary back. Thomas has cooled off from his hot streak earlier in the season and is only averaging 4.4 fantasy points in his last three games. Travelling to Carolina, Thomas will not have any running room in what will be one of the best games of the week.

Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots: Overcoming his fumbling woes, Ridley has come back in the past two weeks to get back most of his carries. However, even with 8 carries in each of the last two weeks, Ridley has been non-productive, averaging only 35 yards per game. His hot stretch in November is long gone, and a matchup with a solid Baltimore Ravens defense doesn’t bode well for the back. Ridley is still unreliable at this point.

Monday Night Football: Sit and Start Report

Ridley will have quiet night against a brutal Panthers defense

Ridley will have quiet night against a brutal Panthers defense

Week 11 wraps up with the New England Patriots high-powered offense taking on the stingy Carolina Panthers defense. Both teams have players who possess plenty of fantasy value and could be the difference in you taking home a win this week.

Start:

Cam Newton- Cam Newton’s ability to produce strong numbers through both the air and on the ground makes him an extremely valuable fantasy option. His Monday night matchup against the New England Patriots will allow him to take advantage of both skill sets. The Patriots rank 12th in the league against the pass and 29th against the run. Fantasy owners can expect Newton to produce in both categories and is a must start on Monday Night Football.

Danny Amendola- The New England Patriots are coming off their bye week, which means that the injury prone Danny Amendola had extra time to rest up. While the Panthers pass defense is top five in the NFL, a lot of the focus will be on tight end Rob Gronkowski. Amendola, when healthy, is one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. His fantasy value is strongest in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues, however, he is worth a start in all fantasy formats.

Sit:

Stevan Ridley- The Carolina Panthers defense has been very good this year and is a majority of the reason for the team’s success this season. With the leagues third best rush defense, not many running backs have had success against the Panthers. Stevan Ridley, who has really developed into a strong fantasy option since his weak start to the season, will take a majority of the carries Monday night, however Shane Vereen will dress for the first time since week 1. With Vereen’s return and the dominance of the Panthers rush defense, Ridley will serve a better purpose on your bench.

DeAngelo Williams- The Carolina Panthers have struggled to get their running game going this season. With Jonathan Stewart returning to the team’s backfield rotation, DeAngelo Williams’ stock has dropped. Fantasy owners can expect an equal workload from Williams and Stewart against the Patriots on Monday Night Football, making Williams a weak flex option in fantasy leagues.

NFL Week 9 Sit and Start Report

Brady is in for a rough Week 9 against the Steelers pass defense

Brady is in for a rough Week 9 against the Steelers pass defense

Week 9 is upon us and the time has come for fantasy owners to keep resetting their fantasy lineups. With plenty of good players on bye weeks, it’s very important to start putting together wins as we approach the end of the season.

Sit:

Tom Brady- It’s a hard thing for fantasy owners to swallow, but Tom Brady has been a complete bust for fantasy football purposes this season. Brady has only thrown for 300 or more yards once this season and has an interception in each of his last 4 games. The Patriots will be hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers who boast the leagues second best pass defense, allowing an average of just 181.4 yards per game through the air.

Mike James- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers matchup against the Seattle Seahawks this week spells trouble for them all over the field. Unfortunately for Mike James, he is facing a Seahawks rush defense that is allowing just 105.1 yards per game on the ground and a pass defense that ranks third in the league. The Bucs offense will struggle to get things going this week so sit running back Mike James.

Start:

Stevan Ridley- While the Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the top pass defenses in the league, their rush defense ranks 27th in the NFL. Ridley has turned his season around, rushing for four touchdowns and 225 yards in his past three games. Expect the Patriots to rely more on the run game against the Steelers defense.

DeSean Jackson- Nick Foles’ return to the starting lineup for the Eagles allows DeSean Jackson to breathe a sigh of relief. The Eagles will face the Oakland Raiders who possess the 17th ranked pass defense in the NFL. Expect Foles to look for the speedy Jackson time and time again in the passing game this week.

Shane Vereen Sets Comeback for Week 11

Vereen's return will take a bite out of Stevan Ridley's production

Vereen’s return will take a bite out of Stevan Ridley’s production

Patriots running back Shane Vereen is planning to return to action during week 11 after New England’s bye week. Vereen got knocked out during Week 1 against the Bills after posting 14 carries for 101 yards.

Since then, Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden haven been used as a platoon running back system.

Coach Bill Belichick has Stevan Ridley owners guessing week in and week out. Ridley has put up great numbers in the last three games by scoring a touchdown and rushing for at least 50 yards in each. What is concerning is that Ridley did not receive a carry in last week’s victory over Miami until the second quarter.

Ridley is clearly a better back than Blount and Bolden, but Vereen poses serious a threat towards Ridley’s production. The Patriots love to use Vereen in passing situations and during their hurry up offense. This leaves fantasy owners in a real bind when Vereen comes back.

All we know is that when Vereen is healthy, the Pats are going to utilize his array of skills in both the passing and rushing game. This is going to hurt Ridley’s value and you may want to sell high on him while he is still putting up decent fantasy numbers.

Bench These Running Backs During Week 7

Through 6 games, Chris Johnson has 327 lousy yards

Through 6 games, Chris Johnson has 327 lousy yards

It’s time to stop waiting around for that player you had a hunch about to break out for a 20 point week. It’s time to play with your head, not your heart. With that in mind, here are a few running backs that should be riding the bench when you double (and triple) check your lineup this weekend.

Chris Johnson: Despite Johnson being first on the sit list for Week 7, this is not a condemnation of him for the rest of the season. The Titans schedule clears up quite a bit after Week 8 when Tennessee faces the Rams, Jaguars and Raiders in weeks 9, 10 and 12 (and the Colts in Week 11).

However, Johnson is likely to get shut down during Week 7 when the 49ers come to town. The 28 year old running back is off to another slow start in 2013 and only has one touchdown this season. Johnson has only 37 carries in the last three weeks and has also failed to break off a run of over 8 yards in that time.

In Johnson’s defense, these last 3 weeks have been tough for Titans after tussles with the Jets, Chiefs and Seahawks. As we said, Johnson’s best chance to turn things around won’t come until Week 8.

Le’Veon Bell: The NFL can be a tough place for a rookie running back and the Baltimore Ravens will surely be looking to prove that this week when they face Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Eddie Lacy was able to muscle his way through the notorious Ravens defense last week, picking up 120 yards, but he was the first rusher all season long to break the 100-yard mark against Baltimore.

To make matters worse for Bell, the Bills Fred Jackson is the only running back to score against the Ravens this year. Bell is coming off a tough Week 6 against the Jets, when he ran for just 34 yards on 16 carries. Mike Tomlin has been pleased with the 21-year-old out of Michigan State, but he’s likely to get an NFL reality check during this tough Week 7 matchup.

Stevan Ridley: The New England Patriots running back shocked the fantasy world last week when he ran for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Saints. However, that flash in the pan doesn’t mean you should count on Ridley this week against a hard-hitting New York Jets. The Jets are giving up less than 76 yards a game to opposing running backs.

Last week’s breakout game was the first time Ridley rushed for more than 53 yards in a game and also was the first time he scored. Unless Ridley and the Patriots have developed some new formula to break through the Jets defensive line, you should let Ridley ride the pine for Week 7.

Bench These Running Backs During Week 7

Through 6 games, Chris Johnson has 327 lousy yards

Through 6 games, Chris Johnson has 327 lousy yards

It’s time to stop waiting around for that player you had a hunch about to break out for a 20 point week. It’s time to play with your head, not your heart. With that in mind, here are a few running backs that should be riding the bench when you double (and triple) check your lineup this weekend.

Chris Johnson: Despite Johnson being first on the sit list for Week 7, this is not a condemnation of him for the rest of the season. The Titans schedule clears up quite a bit after Week 8 when Tennessee faces the Rams, Jaguars and Raiders in weeks 9, 10 and 12 (and the Colts in Week 11).

However, Johnson is likely to get shut down during Week 7 when the 49ers come to town. The 28 year old running back is off to another slow start in 2013 and only has one touchdown this season. Johnson has only 37 carries in the last three weeks and has also failed to break off a run of over 8 yards in that time.

In Johnson’s defense, these last 3 weeks have been tough for Titans after tussles with the Jets, Chiefs and Seahawks. As we said, Johnson’s best chance to turn things around won’t come until Week 8.

Le’Veon Bell: The NFL can be a tough place for a rookie running back and the Baltimore Ravens will surely be looking to prove that this week when they face Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Eddie Lacy was able to muscle his way through the notorious Ravens defense last week, picking up 120 yards, but he was the first rusher all season long to break the 100-yard mark against Baltimore.

To make matters worse for Bell, the Bills Fred Jackson is the only running back to score against the Ravens this year. Bell is coming off a tough Week 6 against the Jets, when he ran for just 34 yards on 16 carries. Mike Tomlin has been pleased with the 21-year-old out of Michigan State, but he’s likely to get an NFL reality check during this tough Week 7 matchup.

Stevan Ridley: The New England Patriots running back shocked the fantasy world last week when he ran for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Saints. However, that flash in the pan doesn’t mean you should count on Ridley this week against a hard-hitting New York Jets. The Jets are giving up less than 76 yards a game to opposing running backs.

Last week’s breakout game was the first time Ridley rushed for more than 53 yards in a game and also was the first time he scored. Unless Ridley and the Patriots have developed some new formula to break through the Jets defensive line, you should let Ridley ride the pine for Week 7.

Waiver Wire Gems for Week 4

After some impressive performances in their Week 3 match-ups, many players could be serious candidates for waiver wire pickups in standard fantasy formats. It’s important to assess each player carefully, in order to avoid the one hit wonders and the ones that got lucky.

There are definitely a couple promising standouts that are available in most leagues, but others are too risky and should therefore be left alone.

1. Brian Hoyer, CLE:

Brian Hoyer had an astounding performance in a 31-27 win against the Minnesota Vikings, throwing for 321 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. In his start for the injured Brandon Weeden, Hoyer could have very well earned himself the starting job. His numbers are not completely overwhelming, but the former 3rd string quarterback led the Browns to their first win of the season just days after trading Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts.

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski says he will evaluate Hoyer’s performance against the Vikings, as well as Weeden’s progress before making the decision. In deeper leagues, Hoyer may be worth a look to make up for the possible loss of Brandon Weeden, but do not expect a crazy amount of production on a consistent basis.

2. Santonio Holmes, NYJ:

Holmes went off during Week 3 hauling in the 69-yard difference making touchdown to beat the Bills 27-20. The 29-year-old wideout hauled in 5 receptions off of 10 targets for 154 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, he and rookie quarterback Geno Smith can continue to build a good rapport as the season progresses and Holmes will get more opportunities to put a dent in opposing defenses.

He may also be able to help fantasy teams struggling with lackluster receivers. It is definitely a good decision to target Holmes as a waiver wire pickup heading into Week 4 even though the Jets face a stiff Tennessee pass defense. Holmes could wind up being the perfect guy to step in as a bye week replacement or fill the void for an injured starter.

3. LeGarrette Blount, NE:

LeGarrette Blount carried the workload at tailback for New England in their 23-3 win against his former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He led the team in carries and rushing yards with 14 and 65 respectively, with a long run of 23 yards. With Stevan Ridley playing poorly and Shane Vereen being out for a significant period of time, this is Blount’s time to shine.

The 26-year-old rusher is a better fit for fantasy owners than Ridley right now. It would be wise to pick up Blount in hopes that he can be the feature back and possibly get involved as a receiver in Tom Brady’s pass-heavy offense.

 

LeGarrette Blount Leads Patriots Rushing Attack

The New England Patriots backfield situation seemed to get a whole lot more complicated on Sunday during their win over the Tampa Bay. New England running backs Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden, and LeGarrette Blount all saw a hefty amount of snaps during the game. Blount finished the game as New England’s leading rusher with 65 yards on 14 carries – 10 of those carries coming in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Brandon Bolden, who had not suited up all year before Sunday, drew the unlikely starting nod from head coach, Bill Belichick. Although Bolden was not called upon much as the game progressed (8 touches), he made the most out of his opportunities as he gained 51 yards on only three carries and caught 5 passes for 49 yards.

Stevan Ridley was terrible again finishing his day with a paltry 35 yards on 11 carries, Ridley was overlooked in the fourth quarter as the Pats looked to put the game away. With the game still somewhat close at 20-3, Belichick opted to use Blount as his primary rusher in the fourth quarter. Ridley’s season is becoming a nightmare in real football as well as fantasy.

For Ridley owners, this week may have closed the case on whether or not Ridley will be considered a bust in 2013. Nonexistent in the Patriots passing game, Ridley’s value is plummeting as he continues to lose touches by failing miserably when his number is called.

Ridley owners can only hope that he snaps out of his funk soon, but the Patriots seem prepared to move to a running back by committee approach. The situation will get even worse when Shane Vereen returns in a couple of months. The Patriots backfield is now one fantasy owners should avoid for the foreseeable future.

2 Fantasy Starters Who Should Ride the Pine During Week 3

Week 3 is knocking and it’s time to get your fantasy lineups locked in for Sunday. Remember that most success on the fantasy football field comes from shifting a lineup due to unfavorable matchups.

Colin Kaepernick probably had his worst game of the season during Week 2 because of a ferocious Seattle defense and would have been better off on the bench. So if one of your starters has a terrible matchup, consider giving him the week off.

Stevan Ridley:  Stevan Ridley has been more than a disappointment this season. He was benched before halftime week 1 and was only able to rush for 40 yards against the New York Jets last week. In Week 3, the New England Patriots face the rough and tumble Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have one of the stronger rush defenses in the league.

With Ridley’s inability to surpass 50 rushing yards in each of the first two weeks, do not expect him to do so against Gerald McCoy and the Bucs’ defense. Bench him if you can afford to.

Jordan Cameron:   The Cleveland Browns sent shock-waves through the NFL and sporting world when they traded away last year’s third round pick, running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts. Not only did they trade their starting running back, the Browns also announced that backup quarterback Brian Hoyer would be starting against the Minnesota Vikings.

Jordan Cameron has been having a breakout season so far, recording 14 receptions for 203 total receiving yards and one touchdown through the first two games. With all the drama in Cleveland right now and a new quarterback under center, Cameron would serve a better purpose on your bench against the Vikings.