Week Twelve Analysis:
We were treated to the full spectrum of the Stevan Ridley experience Monday night in Carolina. He lost a fumble for the second consecutive week, got benched, yet returned to score his seventh touchdown in New England's last five games. While he's scoring with great regularity, he's ranged from 13-to-29 touches during the productive five-game stretch, so his yardage has been all over the board. Denver's fourth-ranked run defense allows just 3.4 yards per carry, but they've surrendered a rather charitable eight rushing scores, so expect modest yardage and a goal-line opportunity for Ridley.
Week Eleven Analysis:
When Stevan Ridley travels to Carolina this week, an irresistible force will meet an immovable object. The Panthers' fifth-ranked run defense has allowed just two rushing touchdowns all season, and none in their last four games. Meanwhile, after his frustrating start, Ridley went into last week's bye as one of the hottest backs in the league. He scored six times in his last four games, while averaging 92 combo yards and 4.8 yards per carry. All things considered, this is one of the trickiest calls of the week, but I think Ridley's earned our faith.
Week Nine Analysis:
With four touchdowns in his last three games, Stevan Ridley has earned his way back into our good graces. He's averaged 70 yards on 5.0 yards per carry over his past four games, and he'll look to keep rolling this week against a Pittsburgh defense that's allowed nine touchdowns to opposing backs through seven games. Despite the big touchdown number, the Steelers have actually been pretty stingy, allowing just 3.8 yards per carry. Moreover, the Patriots just lost elite-level right tackle Sebastian Vollmer for the season. Ridley's been running hot, but he'll have his work cut out for him here.
Week Eight Analysis:
Just when it appeared that Stevan Ridley was back, Bill Belichick reminded us all that he's the boss, and that the boss hates fantasy football. Ridley saw his carries plummet from 20 down to 11, thanks to Brandon Bolden's completely random domination of the first half snap count. Fortunately, Ridley supplemented his meager 50 yards with his third touchdown in his last two games, and that trend could continue here. Miami is most vulnerable to opposing backs through the air, where Ridley's a non-factor, but they've also given up four rushing scores in their last three games. Ridley's a very solid option week.
Week Seven Analysis:
Stevan Ridley had been so bad prior to last week that his 110-yard, two-touchdown breakout went wasted on thousands of benches. His 20 carries against New Orleans were easily a season-high, and he's clearly reestablished himself as the lead dog in the New England backfield committee going forward. Unfortunately, a repeat performance this week is a long shot. The Jets are giving up just 2.8 yards per carry and a half-touchdown per game to opposing rushers, and they held Ridley to 40 total yards in the first meeting. The arrow is certainly pointed back in the right direction for Ridley, but temper expectations this week.
Week Three Analysis:
The good news is that Stevan Ridley held onto the ball last week. The bad news… is everything else! He's yet to score a touchdown or register a single reception, and he's fallen shy of 50 rushing yards in back-to-back weeks. Fantasy owners have felt obligated to start him, but you might want to consider other options this week if you can. The Bucs were the league's top run defense last season, and this year they've been even better, holding opposing backs to just 2.8 yards per carry. They've also yet to allow a score to the position, so it's a scary matchup for a struggling player.
Week Two Analysis:
Stevan Ridley fumbled his first carry of the season, and while he was saved by an official's review, Bill Belichick was less forgiving after Ridley fumbled again in the second quarter. His day was over after just 46 yards, and Shane Vereen danced on his grave to the tune of 159 yards on 21 touches. However, Vereen's post-game diagnosis of a broken wrist will give Ridley an undeserved second chance at the featured role, beginning tonight against the Jets. The Jets were terrible against runners last year, including the last time they saw Ridley, who scored and posted 91 yards. But, New York just held Doug Martin to 65 yards on 24 carries. Ridley has a lot of upside against a beatable defense, but tons of downside if he's still in Bill Belichick's doghouse.
Week One Analysis:
Stevan Ridley has a pretty good gig—he's the early-down and goal-line back in a high-powered offense that runs like crazy in the red zone. That role yielded a dozen touchdowns and over 1,300 combo yards last season, as well as great fantasy success against the Buffalo Bills. In two meetings last season, Ridley ran for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Against opposing backs last season, Buffalo ranked 29th in rushing yards, and dead last with 21 total touchdowns allowed. With undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel potentially under center for the Bills, this game has blowout written all over it, meaning a heavy dose of Ridley between the tackles.
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Stevan Ridley's value last season was derived almost entirely from cashing in on short-yardage scoring opportunities in a high-powered offense. Only Arian Foster and Alfred Morris scored more than Ridley's 12 rushing touchdowns, and only one of those 12 came from further than 10 yards out. As a pass-catcher, he finished in a heated tie for 95th place among backs with six catches. Total. Six catches. In 16 games. Moreover, in the six games that he failed to hit pay dirt, Ridley averaged just 47 rushing yards, so he carried significant bust-ability. Fortunately, with Tom Brady left throwing to the replacements, Ridley figures to remain very busy as the hammer in a two-man committee with Shane Vereen.