After the opening week performance from Steven Ridlay, I don't think anyone expected the New England Patriots to look elsewhere for help in the backfield. In their week four domination of the Buffalo Bills, the Patriots looked to Ridlay (22 carries, 106 yards, 2 touchdowns) and a rookie from Mississippi named Brandon Bolden to help pace the running game. Bolden carried the ball 16 times for 137 yards and one score, becoming the biggest breakout star for fantasy GMs in week four.
Coming into the game, Bolden had played in two games and carried the ball seven times for 15 yards and a touchdown. In the Patriots' backfield, he had been an afterthought, especially considering Ridlay had rushed for 233 yards on 52 carries coming into play.
Bolden was owned in just four percent of Yahoo! fantasy football leagues before the game and if was actually in a starting lineup this week, would have scored 20.8 points. For anybody to have started the rookie, their offensive attack would have to have been decimated by injuries and be hurt by the two teams that were on a bye week.
When the waiver wire opens up on Wednesday morning, I am expecting the new GMs to jump all over picking Bolden up. The veteran GMs know better already. If you have one of the top three or four waiver priorities, then leave Bolden out there and save your pick on somebody that is more of a given each week. In the New England backfield, the ball is moved around often; just ask Danny Woodhead, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and even Ridlay all about the split from the 2011 season.
I'm not trying to take anything away from how good Bolden looked, but it was against the Bills. The Bills defense has been suspect this season, as the 52-point performance the Patriots put on them can attest to, but If Ridlay were to suffer a serious injury at some point, Bolden showed that he might be able to put up solid numbers and serve as a reliable second or third rushing option in fantasy play.
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Hobson Lopes has been playing fantasy football for more than 10 years and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
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