Patriots running back Stevan Ridley had his most carries in a game in a while with 15 for 54 yards. It may be a sign that Ridley is back in the fold with New England coaches realizing sitting Ridley’s talent is just silly.
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman paced the New England receivers, leading the team in targets (11), catches (7), and yards (77). Closing in on a 100-catch, 1,000-yard season, it’ll be interesting to see what the Patriots do with the free agent in 2014.
Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith had 11 more tackles, a half sack, and another pass defended. That’s now 19 passes defended on the year to go along with 118 tackles. Smith was supposed to be nothing more than a place holder for Arthur Brown but has taken over Ray Lewis’ position with authority. If he re-signs with Baltimore, he’ll be in the LB2 conversation.
The Patriots running game appears to include Shane Vereen running the ball in addition to catching passes. With Stevan Ridley benched, the Patriots will need to fill the void in the running game. Vereen rushed 10 times for 38 yards along with five catches for 37 yards and a touchdown. For all intents and purposes, Vereen is the running back to own in New England.
On the other side of the field, Texans running back Ben Tate ran for 102 yards for 22 yards and three touchdowns. There was no time share with backup Dennis Johnson and it put Tate back on track to be the starter somewhere else in 2014.
Patriots slot receiver Julian Edelman tied for the team lead with 12 targets for nine catches and 101 yards. You have to wonder if New England would want to bring Edelman back next year or roll with Danny Amendola. Edelman has been the preferred receiver the last couple weeks and is on pace for 90+ catches and 900+ yards.
Texans receiver Andre Johnson went off, again, for eight catches and 121 yards on nine targets. Johnson is quarterback- and team-proof so no matter where he plays next year, he’s still a strong WR in dynasty circles.
Buccaneers rookie tight end Tim Wright is going to be utilized even more this season, providing a golden opportunity to increase his value for dynasty leaguers. He played receiver in college and has the skills to be a force in the passing game.
Raiders running back Rashad Jennings will be forced to give up carries to Darren McFadden this week but should still outperform him. The real question for dynasty leaguers is who will be starting next year in Oakland? Both Jennings and McFadden will be free agents and aren’t getting any younger.
Raiders running back Rashad Jennings will still be involved with the offense when incumbent Darren McFadden comes back. Neither are strong dynasty players and both are free agents after 2013. Expect the Raiders to either re-sign McFadden at a bargain or move on.
Patriots running back Stevan Ridley lost another fumble Monday night. However, he was still in the game for a handful of plays after and was not completely in the dog house. I’d be nervous this off-season as a Ridley owner. You never know what the brain trust in New England is thinking.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finally woke up and went off for 432 yards and four touchdowns. Even with his age, Brady is in a pass-first offense and should be around for at least 2-3 years. He’s still a fine pickup in dynasty leagues.
The recipient of some of those yards was rookie Aaron Dobson who had five receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets. If Dobson can improve his catch rate, he’ll be the beneficiary for a long time.
Patriots running back Stevan Ridley also made a bit of a comeback with 115 rushing yards on 26 carries. Ridley will probably never be a top-tier option at running back but he should provide value with his youth and opportunity.
Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones had another two sacks to bring his season total up to 8.5. The second-year defensive end should also continue to improve and has an unusually high (for a defensive linemen) 50 tackles in nine games.
The Patriots continue to split carries with Stevan Ridley having 14 against LeGarrette Blount’s 11. The New England running game is one to avoid until there’s some level of consistency.
The Dolphins also seem to not notice who the more talented runner is as they had a 2/3 / 1/3 split with their runners. Lamar Miller (luckily) had 18 carries compared to Daniel Thomas’ 9. This is another situation to monitor to insure Miller gets an opportunity at maximizing his value.
Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace had three catches even though he led the team with 10 targets. Something is off and until Miami switches gears and institutes a game plan that works better with Wallace’s long-ball skill set, just avoid.
Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower had his second solid outing in a row with 10 tackles, a sack and two tackles for a loss. At just 23, Hightower has potential to be a solid LB2/3 for many dynasty years.
Patriots running back Stevan Ridley is back with 20 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, it could just be a sick joke by Bill Belichick but hopefully it’s a trend that continues.
On the other side of the field, Saints running back Darren Sproles had 12 targets to go with six catches and 58 yards. Sproles also had five carries. It’s the type of game fantasy owners of Sproles love but how long can it last for dynasty leaguers? Sproles is already 30 and only has one more year on his contract. Sproles fills a very niche role so it would be interesting to see if he could catch on with another team after his time in New Orleans is up.
Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton is showing his Pro Bowl form with 12 tackles, a sack and a tackle for a loss. Still just 27, Lofton is one of the few linebackers to play in the middle each down and should still be considered in the LB2 discussion.
Quarterback Tom Brady went without a touchdown pass for the first time in four years. Luckily, it appears Rob Gronkowski will be back this week and all will be right with the world.
Running back LeGarrette Blount ran for a respectable 4.3 YPC in his 12 carries for New England. Of course, he also fumbled in the game so don’t be surprised if Stevan Ridley gets another chance to lock down the position.
On the other side of the field, Giovani Bernard had 13 carries compared to BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ 19. Dynasty owners can expect the back-and-forth routine this year but Bernard should be good for years to come.
Bengals rookie tight end Tyler Eifert saw a career-high seven targets to go along with five catches and 53 yards. The changing of the guard could become official soon so now would be the time to jump on the Eifert bandwagon.
Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes had his best game of 2013 with 12 tackles, two tackles for a loss, a pass defended, and an interception. Spikes had a solid 2012 with 92 tackles but that appears to have been his ceiling. I’d sell high on Spikes right now.
Patriots rookie receiver Kenbrell Thompkins is quickly becoming Tom Brady’s favorite target not named Gronkowski. Thompkins still is learning, which is evident when you consider Thompkins had 11 targets but only six catches. But he offers the most ability for Tom Brady and is the receiver to own in dynasty circles.
With Stevan Jackson still out, the Falcons continue to split running back duties, giving Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling equal billing. Whoever wins the battle to the death is the backup to own in Atlanta as Stevan Jackson, as we’ve seen, might be breaking down more and more.
Patriots running back Stevan Ridley continues to be downplayed by Bill Belichick. At this point last year he had 74 carries. This year? 47. Something is up but until Ridley has a breakout game, He’s a risk. Of course, his value has also taken a dive so he’s a good hold candidate at the moment.