Week Seventeen Analysis: Stevan Ridley has now failed to score back-to-back weeks, after scoring in each of his previous six games. However, he did get back on track in Jacksonville with 18 carries for 84 yards, while Danny Woodhead got just three attempts. There's certainly been some volatility this season in terms of fantasy production, but Ridley enters the final week ranking seventh in three major rushing categories: attempts, yardage and touchdowns. He went for 71 yards and a score against Miami's top-ten run defense last month, and C.J. Spiller just lit them up for 173 total yards, so use Ridley if you usually would.
Week Sixteen Analysis: Stevan Ridley's six-game touchdown streak, in which he averaged 18 carries for 82 yards, felt too good to be true. And it was. Ridley fumbled for the second consecutive week Sunday night against San Francisco, and the Patriots' huge deficit resulted in a pass-heavy game script that favored Danny Woodhead. Woodhead touched the ball 17 times for 84 total yards and a pair of scores, while Ridley ended the night with nine carries for 23 yards. Although there's suddenly some added risk, I think you stick with Ridley this week. Jacksonville's 32nd-ranked run defense has given up 15 touchdowns to the position, and New England should be playing with a lead.
Week Fifteen Analysis: Believe it or not, Stevan Ridley's now scored in six consecutive games. He's averaged 18 carries for 82 yards during that span, while only dipping below 70 yards once, so he's been a very steady producer after an up-and-down first half of the season. San Francisco's 2nd-ranked run defense has given up just 3.4 yards per carry and a league-low two rushing touchdowns, so this is a brutal matchup. However, Ridley's topped 70 yards and scored in each of his last two games against the similarly dominant run defenses of the Dolphins and Texans, so pencil him in for decent yardage and a 50-50 shot at another touchdown.
Week Fourteen Analysis: Make it five straight games with a touchdown for Stevan Ridley. During the five-game stretch he's averaged 17 carries for 84 yards, while failing to record a single catch, so he's settled into a fairly predictable pattern after a tumultuous start. We'll see if it holds true this week against the No. 2 Houston run defense. The Texans surrender less than 4.0 yards per carry to opposing backs, and no back has topped 80 yards in Houston's last eight games. Ridley's bread and butter has been touchdowns, but Houston's allowed just two rushing scores all season, so it's a terrible matchup any way you slice it.
Week Thirteen Analysis: After a volatile start to his season, Stevan Ridley's fantasy value has been surprisingly stable over the last month. He's now scored in four straight games, and rushed for at least 97 yards in three of those four as well. Unfortunately, this week's matchup with Miami marks the start of a brutal three-game stretch of top-five run defenses that also includes Houston and San Francisco. The Dolphins give up just 3.6 yards per carry, and they've only surrendered one rushing touchdown in their last 10 games. Last week Marshawn Lynch only managed 46 yards on 19 carries in Miami, so proceed with caution.
Week Twelve Analysis: Every time we think we've uncovered some kind of pattern for Stevan Ridley's wildly inconsistent usage, Bill Belichick reminds us that we're playing checkers and he's playing chess. It's a complete crapshoot every week, but what we do know is that he ranks fifth in the NFL with over 18 carries per game, he's scored in three straight contests, and the Jets rank 30th in the league in run defense. Ridley managed just 65 scoreless yards in the first meeting, which means absolutely nothing. My best advice is to start Ridley, but for the sake of your sanity, avoid watching the game if at all possible.
Week Eleven Analysis: Stevan Ridley has been a front-runner all season. In New England's three losses, he's averaged 47 rushing yards and failed to score a single touchdown. Conversely, in their six wins, he's scored six times and averaged 112 rushing yards. New England is heavy favorites at home this week, against an Indianapolis team that ranks bottom-10 against opposing backs in both rushing yards and touchdowns. The Colts have held their own against smaller speed backs, but they've been steamrolled by power backs all season, so it's a perfect storm for the hard-charging Ridley.
Week Ten Analysis: Stevan Ridley is only getting 54 percent of the Patriots' carries, but in a surprisingly run-heavy offense, that's good enough for 19 attempts per game. Despite the healthy workload, however, he's been highly inconsistent. Ridley has scored and topped 100 yards in four different games, which is tied with Marshawn Lynch for the league lead, but he's gone scoreless and averaged 52 yards in his other four games. This week he faces a Buffalo run defense that's given up five rushing scores and 5.8 yards per carry in their last two games alone. Ridley went for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the first meeting, and another big game is well within reach.
Week Eight Analysis: Stevan Ridley owners are like court jesters that exist purely for Bill Belichick's entertainment. Last week Shane Vereen became the third inferior back to steal a significant number of carries from Ridley this season, and Ridley's also caught just one ball in his last five games. With a total of 99 scoreless combo yards in his last two outings, Ridley has lost all momentum as he heads across seas to face an improving St. Louis run defense. Over the last three weeks the Rams have given up a total of 46 carries for 85 scoreless yards to Ryan Williams, Reggie Bush and Alex Green, so it's a tricky start for Ridley.
Week Seven Analysis: Despite all the backfield shuffling in New England, Stevan Ridley trails only Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch in rushing attempts. Yet despite the heavy workload, his production has been painfully erratic. While Ridley is the only back in the league who's rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown on three separate occasions, he's also turned in a pair of scoreless, sub-40-yard efforts. If there's a silver lining to his inconsistency, it's that Ridley has performed true to his matchups. The Jets rank 31st in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns allowed to opposing backs, and with Brandon Bolden banged up, we should get the good Ridley this week.
Week Six Analysis: Trying to decipher the method behind Bill Belichick's running back machinations this year has been as difficult to decipher as Lady Gaga's gender. Despite having a young stud in Stevan Ridley, Belichick has toyed with fantasy owners by giving the ball to everyone but Ridley at the goal line. Ridley does have four touchdowns this year, but the Patriots runners as a whole have ten. Seattle has the secondary to contain the Patriots explosive passing attack, and more importantly to Ridley, they've got the number one rushing defense, allowing only 43 yards per game to opposing running backs. And, only two have scored.
Week Five Analysis: We're at the quarter pole, and Stevan Ridley's statistical outlier is his 13-touch clunker two weeks ago. He's touched the ball at least 21 times in his other three contests, and he's coming off the first two-touchdown performance of his career. While Bill Belichick continues to play musical chairs with his backfield, Ridley remains the one constant. Unfortunately, this week he'll face a Denver run defense that's surrendering just 3.2 yards per carry to opposing backs, and that's only given up one rushing score all season. There's just not a lot to like about Ridley this week.
Week Four Analysis: After touching the ball 44 times in his first two contests, an up-tempo game plan landed Stevan Ridley on the sidelines for large chunks of Sunday night's loss to Baltimore. Not only did Danny Woodhead out-carry Ridley 15-to-13, but both Woodhead and undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden sniped touchdowns. While Bill Belichick is a notorious running back shuffler, the supremely talented Ridley figures to rise back to the top of his backfield this week. Buffalo's subpar run defense just inexplicably held Trent Richardson to 27 yards, but Brandon Weeden obviously doesn't require the amount of defensive resources that Tom Brady does. Ridley should regain some momentum this week.
Week Three Analysis: Stevan Ridley has touched the ball 23 and 21 times in New England's first two games, and he's further distanced himself from his backfield counterparts every step of the way. This is great news, because Ridley seems to get stronger as games go on—in six career games in which he's notched double-digit carries, he's averaged an outstanding 5.7 yards per attempt. Both BenJarvus Green-Ellis and LeSean McCoy topped 80 rushing yards and scored against Baltimore's typically stout run defense, so Ridley remains a very solid play based on sheer volume.
Week Two Analysis: Stevan Ridley touched the ball 23 times in the opener—a number BenJarvus Green-Ellis hit just once in the last two years—perhaps signifying a shift to a more-balanced New England attack. Ridley turned those 23 touches into 152 combo yards and a score, and looked the part of a legit No. 1 fantasy back in the process. Arizona is an above-average run defense that just did a respectable job against Marshawn Lynch, but this game has garbage time written all over it. Expect another heavy workload and highly productive day from Ridley.
Week One Analysis: While many are calling Stevan Ridley "Lawfirm 2.0," that label is actually a slight, as the sophomore power back is a markedly more talented runner than his predecessor. Ridley averaged a very good 5.0-yards per-carry in his rookie campaign, and he'll step into a role that saw the ordinary BenJarvus Green-Ellis score 24 touchdowns over the past two seasons. The Titans allowed the sixth most total yards to opposing backs last season, and considering that New England trailed only Houston in red zone rushing attempts last season, Ridley could be set up for a big day.
NEXT: #14 FRANK GORE