Patriots RB Shane Vereen wasted little time making his presence felt in his first game back against the Panthers after missing 8 games with a broken wrist. The rushing yards weren't there as Vereen notched just one carry for 7 yards, but the matchup against a stout Panthers Defense did him no favors. PPR league owners scored big if they flexed Vereen after he led the team with 8 catches, 65 yards and 11 overall targets. He entered the game on just the second snap, which shows the Patriots desperately missed him during his absence. While his rushing stats were barely there, Steven Ridley owners should still be worried.
Speaking of Ridley; he did himself no favors by coughing up the ball yet again Monday night. Fumbles have been a problem for Ridley dating back to last year as he now has 8 total between Week 11 and Week 17 in 2012, but his job appears safe. The reason? There isn't anyone else on the roster as good as Ridley to feed the ball to. LeGarrette Blount? I don't think so. Brandon Bolden is just a backup to the job Vereen has in the offense. Ridley did score against the Panthers, but he only played 6 total snaps after the fumble (19 overall). Blount won't truly push Ridley for more work, but his 49 yards off an equal 19 snaps is a bit of a forewarning. Ridley should be looking over his shoulder because he's on thin ice right now. I have Ridley in one league. Against the Broncos, it will be hard to keep him on my bench. But I wouldn't be surprised to see Vereen blow up in what figures to be a high-scoring affair. Due to Vereen's ability to run and catch passes, something Ridley doesn't do (9 total in 2013), Ridley will be a low-end RB2 in my fantasy rankings this week.
Gary Kubiak Signs His Own Ticket Out Of Houston
I usually don't talk about coaches in this article, but what Gary Kubiak did against the Raiders was mind boggling to say the least. Down 28-17 in the third quarter, Kubiak made the odd decision to pull Case Keenum out and sub in Matt Schaub. How did Schaub respond? 155 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions and a below 50% completion rating. The move wreaked of desperation by a coach who is clearly beyond the hot seat after some predicted an AFC South divisional title. Keenum wasn't playing great, but he also wasn't playing so bad that he deserved a benching. He completed 13 passes for 170, a score and an interception. The blame should go more towards a defense who made Matt McGloin look like Rich Gannon.
As if the benching of Keenum wasn't bad enough, an argument between Andre Johnson and Schaub erupted on the sidelines after Schaub failed to get the ball into Johnson's hands when the Texans were near the goal line. Everything seems fine now, but Johnson (and Keenum) owners will have to hope Kubiak doesn't pull this again. At 2-8, the team has nothing to lose by giving Keenum the job for the rest of the year. In the 3 games prior to Week 11, Keenum had averaged 274 passing yards a game and a total of 7 scores and no interceptions. Johnson had averaged 118 receiving yards, including the monster 229 yards against the Colts in Week 9, and 5 touchdowns.