Fantasy answers for injury-plagued Patriots

Brandon Funston
Yahoo! Fantasy MinuteSeptember 11, 2013

New England was dealt a tough blow this week, sending Shane Vereen to the IR because of a broken wrist. He won't return until Week 11, at the earliest. The news isn't so bad if you're a Stevan Ridley owner, however. The Pats lead back was benched early in Week 1 against Buffalo because of a fumble. But the loss of Vereen means that Ridley's stay in the doghouse is likely to be short-lived. Backup LeGarrette Blount represents a substantial talent downgrade from Ridley, so it's hard to fathom Blount becoming more than a bit backfield piece under any circumstances. With Ridley back in a lead role, don't be surprised if Leon Washington becomes that all-important third-down back for New England. There's been a strong history with this role, with Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead and, Shane Vereen all making valuable contributions in recent years. Washington is widely available in Yahoo leagues, and he's certainly worth a flyer in PPR leagues of 12 teams and deeper.

In the receiving game, New England could also be without Danny Amendola on Thursday night against the Jets. Amendola is dealing with a groin injury that has limited him greatly this week. It's looking like he'll be a dreaded game-time decision on Thursday. If he doesn't suit up, look for Julian Edelman to step up yet again. Edelman is coming off a strong 79-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Bills. And given the forgettable Week 1 debut from undrafted rookie wideout Kenbrell Thompkins, in addition to Amendola's injury, Edelman is seemingly in line for another standout performance.

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