Big Blue United

Trying to make sense of Patriots backfield for fantasy drafts

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Trying to predict what New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick will do with his backfield each season has driven fantasy owners crazy for years. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm) More By Matt Kelley (@Fantasy_Mansion)

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

The lesson: Don’t be fooled by Bill Belichick. Not once. Not twice. Not ever.

In Fantasy Football, this means refusing to overdraft New England Patriots running backs. Yet, after many years of Bill Belichick zigging while the fantasy world zags on running backs, sports fans afflicted with amnesia (or perhaps just inebriated) are now genuinely excited about a Patriots running back for the first time in a decade.

[Pick one winner a week. Play Survival Football for chance at $100K]The Running Back Committee Overlord

The curious enthusiasm surrounding Mike Gillislee would make Stevan Ridley blush. Recall, Ridley was the only Patriots running back in the last decade to average more than 75 yards per game for a full season. Against this historic backdrop, Gillislee’s average draft position in Yahoo Fantasy drafts has climbed to an absurd 58.1. Gillislee is now a caricature drawing of the overdrafted fantasy running back.

Let’s take a tour through the last 10 years of Patriots leading rushers to reflect on their Fantasy Football Rankings:

2007: Laurence Maroney: 835 yards
2008: Sammy Morris: 727 yards
2009: Laurence Maroney: 757 yards
2010: BenJarvis Green-Ellis: 1,008 yards
2011: BenJarvis Green-Ellis: 667 yards
2012: Stevan Ridley: 1,263 yards
2013: Stevan Ridley: 773 yards
2014: Jonas Gray: 412 yards
2015: LeGarrette Blount: 703 yards
2016: LeGarrette Blount: 1,161 yards

The Patriots produced three 1,000-yard running backs in 10 years, and in no season was the team’s leading rusher touted by fantasy gamers during the prior summer. In 2010, Green-Ellis erupted in spite of the presence of established veterans: Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor. In 2012, Shane Vereen generated