[Arian] Foster led the league in both carries and carries above fifteen. But Darren McFadden ranks pretty high on this list thanks to three games with 27+ carries. On the other hand, Stevan Ridley ranked 6th in carries, but he only had one game with more than 22 rushes. McFadden had a 27-carry game in week 6, a 19-carry game in week 7, and a 29-carry game in week 8; in week 9, he injured his ankle and missed a month. Ridley, on the other hand, seemed to be handled pretty well, and one might argue that sharing time with Shane Vereen is good for his long-term health.
In a post from Football Perspective on running backs who average over 15+ carries per game, Chase Stuart infers that Stevan Ridley might actually be more effective in a running back by committee situation rather than being a featured back. And while fewer carries does reduce injury risk for Ridley, it also screams low ceiling. In fact, Shawn Siegele ranks Ridley second on his all-trap team going into 2013.
If it’s upside you’re looking for, take a peak right behind Stevan Ridley and meet Shane Vereen. Davis Mattek argues that an expanded role for Vereen might lead to RB2 production in 2013. In addition, we here at RotoViz believe that Vereen will fill the shoes of Danny Woodhead very nicely. Still don’t believe us?
Check out this profile on Vereen by Ryan Rouillard in his breakout running back candidates post. While Ridley might currently be the starter, drafting Vereen later will give you a running back with an expanded role and a potentially higher upside.