Sep 09, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) evades a tackle attempt by Tennessee Titans linebacker Will Witherspoon (92) during the second half at LP Field. The Patriots beat the Titans 34-13. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE
Week 1 Fantasy Stud
Stevan Ridley, our Patriot Start of the Week, earns Week 1 Fantasy Stud honors. Ridley made good on the advantageous matchup and ran through the Titans on Sunday, gaining 125 yards on the ground with a touchdown and adding another 27 yards on 2 receptions.
There’s never been any doubt that Ridley was very fast with a really nice burst. But what stood out on Sunday was his toughness. He ran hard, initiated contact and broke tackles leading the team with 23 touches. He looked every bit the part of a star NFL running back, able to effectively carry the load of a high-powered offense.
The Patriots’ history of a quasi-committee in the backfield will be a thing of the past if Ridley continues his early season success. He’s a back with an impressive skill-set in an offense that will probably face more pass defense packages than anything else – and his fantasy stock is certainly on the rise.
Week 1 Fantasy Review
Tom Brady was great but just average by his own fantasy standards. Owners will never complain about 2 touchdown passes and 236 yards, but they were perhaps cheated out of what could have been an “uber” day for Brady as the Patriots committed heavily to the running game on Sunday…Tight Ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez put up nearly identical games, each catching 6 passes for 60 and 59 yards respectively. More importantly, they both found the end zone for scores, justifying the unprecedented pre-season projection of two top-5 fantasy tight ends on the same team…Brandon Lloyd was welcomed into the Patriot fold on Sunday, hauling in 5 catches for 69 yards. His solid day could have been even better had Brady not missed a wide-open Lloyd in the first quarter for what would have been a 46-yard touchdown pass. With many targets and his deep-route ability on display, Lloyd looked like he will be a perfect fit for this offense as well as an every week fantasy starter…Wes Welker owners have to be feeling a little uneasy after Week 1. After being on the field 89% of the time during his 122-reception campaign last season, Welker was on the field for just 64% of the snaps on Sunday, catching only 3 passes for 14 yards. Was his reduced role just part of the game plan against Tennessee? – or is this the beginning of the Patriots phasing him out of the offense? Stay tuned…If you were sneaky enough to take a chance on the Patriot defense in Week 1, you were rewarded with an interception, a fumble recovery, two sacks and a touchdown for a unit that looks like it is much improved over the 2011 version. The Pats look like they will be running the ball more in 2012 which will mean more time on the sidelines for the defense – and with a somewhat easy schedule this year and big impact additions like Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones, the Pats defense is a unit to watch in fantasy circles.
Check Musket Fire on Thursday for the Patriots’ Week 2 Fantasy Preview to see who should be starting and who should be benched this week against Arizona.