Friday, September 19, 2014, 7:09pm
Patriots RB Shane Vereen (shoulder, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 3. Vereen is expected to play, but owners should have James White on speed dial. He’d likely be active if Vereen can’t play. Brandon Bolden is in the mix as well. One thing is for sure — Stevan Ridley looks like a great start against a very bad Oakland rush defense. The Pats play early on Sunday.
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 6:30pm
Patriots RB Shane Vereen (shoulder) took limited practice reps again Thursday. We’ll monitor his practice reps this week, but we’re guessing that he’ll be questionable heading into an early kickoff on Sunday. Stevan Ridley would be an excellent start if Vereen were limited/out.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 6:15pm
Patriots RB Shane Vereen (shoulder) took limited practice reps Wednesday. This could explain the limited touches in Week 2. We’ll monitor his practice reps this week, but we’re guessing that he’ll be questionable heading into an early kickoff heading into Sunday. Stevan Ridley would be a great start if Vereen were limited/out.
Patriots players tell me they weren't happy with the way they ran the ball in the season opener and there will be a concerted effort to improve in that area Sunday in Minnesota. Shane Vereen (61 snaps) was the primary running back in the opener over Stevan Ridley (22 snaps) and Brandon Bolden (nine snaps). The team wants to feed that group a bit more, starting with Vereen. Players were impressed with how Vereen performed in early-down and short-yardage situations in the opener. Look for him to get more opportunities in those situations this week.
Vereen saw seven carries compared to Ridley's eight, which is more even than we were expecting heading into the season. This is great news for longtime 4for4 favorite Vereen, who is already a high-end RB2 in PPR formats without the extra carries. If he starts to get consistent looks in the running game (including red zone work, like he did in Week 1), watch out.
Monday, September 8, 2014, 8:14pm
The 26-year-old spent the past three seasons with the Dolphins, but was released at the end of the 2014 preseason. He's a bigger back (6-1, 235) who has struggled in pass protection in games against the Patriots. Career stats: 40 games played, 3 starts. 365 carries for 1,312 yards (3.6 avg.). He entered the NFL as a second-round draft choice (62nd overall) out of Kansas State.
After Shane Vereen led the Pats RBs in snaps and also scored a TD from in close, it makes sense the Pats are looking for a back to perhaps save Vereen from the hard, inside runs. Steven Ridley saw limited time in Week 1.
Monday, September 8, 2014, 9:00am
Vereen had a short-yardage TD in the game on top of his normal pass-catching duties James White was inactive. It's hard to get a feel for the Pats offense week-to-week, but Vereen continues to be the safest play.
TE Rob Gronkowski played on just 38 of 76 snaps but did catch a TD. It was expected he wouldn't see significant time. If that trend continues next week, he's still worth putting in fantasy lineups for his red zone presence alone.
Sunday, August 24, 2014, 1:52pm
He caught A.J. Klein sleeping in coverage for a 40-yard touchdown, and then looked like Superman extending for the pylon on his second score of the night. He tallied five catches, on five targets, for 57 yards.
He only had 18 yards on six rushes, but that came in a backfield that never got rolling as a unit.
Vereen remains a matchup problem for defenses, and the Patriots use of split backs could be a weapon that makes the most of his unique skills. He may have his share of up and down weeks but Vereen is a very good PPR option who is usually available in rounds three or four in most formats.
Shane Vereen is the only Patriots running back with a cemented status as they wind down their preparations for the regular season, and he showcased why last night during a 30-7 victory against the Panthers at Gillette Stadium.
Vereen caught all five passes thrown in his direction for 57 yards and two touchdowns, and he added six carries for 18 yards. While Stevan Ridley appears to be the favorite to corral the bulk of the carries and James White is shaping up as a worthy backup, Vereen has unquestionably solidified his job as the back in charge of the pass-catching responsibilities.
For a team run by Tom Brady, those chances will be aplenty.
“He’s really had such a dependable role for us for the last few years and just done a great job,” Brady said. “When the ball is in his hands, good things are happening for our team. We’re going to try to just keep getting him the ball.”
Vereen is one reason why we're not at all opposed to drafting one or two wideouts at the 1/2 turn since he's often available around the 3/4 turn and is great in PPR formats. Last year, over the course of eight regular season games and two playoff games, Vereen averaged 10.7 touches (including 5.4 catches) for 76 yards and 0.40 TD, though his usage in the running game was limited once the Patriots decided to lean on LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley between the tackles. With Blount gone, Vereen’s role could increase. He should be a fringe RB2 (at least) in standard formats and a solid RB2 in PPR leagues, provided he stays healthy.
When the Patriots put two versatile running backs in the game at the same time, how will defenses match them? That’s something to consider after watching Shane Vereen catch a short pass from Tom Brady and race 40 yards up the right sideline for a touchdown in the second quarter. Vereen and running back James White were on the field at the same time on the play, as the Patriots used that “pony” grouping six times in the opening half.
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 5:07pm
After fumbling against the Eagles Friday night, now we'll wait to see if there are further repercussions with Patriots rB Steven Ridley's opportunities this week. If that is the case, the primary beneficiaries figure to be rookie James White and third-year veteran Brandon Bolden, who the team turned to exclusively in the ensuing plays after Ridley fumbled.
Bolden is a back who can do it all, but doesn't really stand out in one specific area and has had his chances - so White becomes the back with the most upside here. Shane Vereen will get a carry here and there but is primarily a pass-catcher. The New England backfield is once again shaping up to be a mystery. Hopefully practice reps will give us a little better of an indication.
Patriots RBs Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and James White are vying for top billing. It very well could be a situation where the Patriots feature a different running back on a week-to-week basis, and White -- a fourth-round pick from Wisconsin -- shouldn't be overlooked as a significant contributor in 2014.
We believe that Vereen is a safe pick in PPR formats, with considerable upside. Over the course of eight regular season games and two playoff games, Vereen averaged 10.7 touches (including 5.4 catches) for 76 yards and 0.40 TD. That equates to 15.4 PPG, which are top 10 numbers in PPR. White is a solid (and cheap) handcuff for Vereen and could take over as the main runner if Ridley's fumbling problems persist.
Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss said he's starting to wonder if Patriots RB James White might cut into some of RB Steven Ridley's early-down workload, as it's been notable how many repetitions he's seeing in practice, especially on the goal line.
Reiss called White a lock to make the roster earlier this year and said he's also insurance if Shane Vereen were to miss time. Ridley, of course, struggled to hold on to the ball last season results in several benchings. Reiss also didn't consider Ridley a lock to make the team but he did say he had a strong chance.
Patriots rookie running back James White (fourth round, Wisconsin) continues to get notable repetitions, including on the goal line. Tom Brady was complimentary of White, saying, "He's got a real maturity for someone who is just getting out of college. He's made a lot of really great plays out here."
"He does a good job in the passing game and in the running game -- both inside and outside. Blitz pickup -- we have a pretty extensive offense for him to learn, but he's working hard at it. We'll just let him go and see how it goes, but I think he has the ability to compete on all three downs, in both the running game and the passing game."
The takeaway here is that White is seen as a weapon who can stay on the field for more than just passing downs.
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