Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston (click here for the post) has reported the number of snaps played by the Patriots skill players. Let’s take a look at how the running backs broke down:
RB Kevin Faulk – 39 of 58
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis – 13 of 58
RB Danny Woodhead – 4 of 58
FB Ryan Wendell – 1 of 58
Reiss also noted that Stevan Ridley was dressed, but didn’t play a snap. Additionally, Shane Vereen was inactive. It’s obvious the return of Faulk had a major impact on the backfield rotation. According to Reiss, “The Patriots were in passing mode early, which contributed to the high total for Faulk, who is considered the team’s top ‘passing’ back.”
The Professor’s Thoughts:
What was already a murky fantasy situation just got a little bit worse. While Week 8 was a little bit different, with the Patriots falling behind early and trying to catch up, when exactly is Tom Brady and company not in passing mode?
That’s not to say that Green-Ellis isn’t going to get his opportunities to run the ball. I wouldn’t expect such a startling split most weeks, though that’s not much of a ringing endorsement. As it is he’s had at least 14 carries just four times this season, and over 16 once (27 carries in Week 5).
If Faulk is going to continue as the “passing” back (he had five receptions and six carries this past week) to go along with all the other mouths that need to be fed (Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, etc.), something has got to give. Most likely it is Green-Ellis that is going to take the hit. While he’s still the most usable fantasy option among this group, he needs to be downgraded to a FLEX option until we get a better idea of how this plays out.