Jun 17, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen (34) , running back Brandon Bolden (38) , tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) and running back Stevan Ridley (22) during mini camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football 2014: New England Patriots RB Rundown

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The Patriots offense regularly ranks among the best in the league, but trying to secure fantasy points from their running game is always tricky since Bill Belichick rotates backs and plays matchups as well as any coach in the NFL.  There is definitely value to be had in the New England backfield, but finding it isn’t always easy.

Like with all running backs, you need to understand how your leagues scores performances to find exactly the right back for you, but I think regardless of your scoring Shane Vereen is going to be the most productive of the Patriots rushers. Vereen has big-time upside especially in PPR leagues but will need to stay healthy to give Tom Brady and the Pats as many weapons as possible.

Here’s my quick take on all the Patriots running backs headed into the season including each of their rankings from my top 80 RB which came out last week and which will be updated later this week.

18

Shane Vereen

RB, New England Patriots

Vereen is definitely the leader of the backfield by committee and will get virtually all the work on passing downs.  In PPR leagues, he could easily be a RB1 if he gets the kind of targets he got last year and can stay healthy, but he hasn’t shown very much to confirm or deny that role this preseason.  Vereen will need to get more early down work to be a top option in non-PPR leagues, but he’s a low-end RB2 when healthy and a great flex play in all formats.
30

Stevan Ridley

RB, New England Patriots

The Patriots best pure rusher is definitely Ridley aside from one major issue–fumbles.  Coach Bill Belichick has sent Ridley to the doghouse for his fumble-itis in the past, and he coughed up another turnover in week 2 of the preseason.  Ridley could be an RB2 if he can get his ball security under control, but that’s a huge caveat for this talented runner.  He’s a high-upside RB4, and he could be a steal if he can solidify his early-down prominence in the Patriots offense by hanging onto the ball.  
80

James White

RB, New England Patriots

The Patriots coaches have raved about White this preseason, but he hasn’t been able to show it in any games yet this preseason.  If Ridley can’t fix his fumbles or Vereen gets injured again, White could step into a meaningful fantasy role. If you have the space, you could do worse on a late-round flier, but don’t count on any action early in the season based on the current situation.
NR

Roy Finch

RB, New England Patriots

Finch has been solid this preseason and looks like he’ll make the Patriots roster out of training camp.  He’s not a fantasy factor yet, but he has the tools to step in if an injury or benching shake up the depth chart.  Finch is a name to know in deep dynasty leagues and to remember as the Patriots RB situation progresses throughout the season.

This post is part of a series detailing the backfield situation for each NFL team from a fantasy football perspective. Check out my top 80 rankings and click here for the full series.

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Tags: 2014 Fantasy Football Fantasy Football Preview Fantasy Football RB James White New England Patriots RB Rankings RB Rundown Roy Finch Shane Vereen Stevan Ridley

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