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Corner Lockdown - Week 4

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The backfield in New England is a mess right now and owners who drafted Stevan Ridley are really starting to get nervous after three straight weeks of subpar outings. I still think Ridley is the best back on the team and you can’t give up on him just yet. Shane Vereen’s injury was a huge help, but Brandon Bolden is starting to complicate matters with his pass-catching abilities. For now, you must continue to start Ridley and add Bolden if he’s available. Bolden could be a decent play in points per reception leagues because he sees a handful of targets a game, but Ridley still has the starting job. He does have a tough matchup this week against a solid Atlanta run defense, but the running back position is so scarce that you almost have no choice. Start him again in Week 4 and hope that he finally finds the end zone.

Running back production has also been a problem in Buffalo early on. Those who took C.J. Spiller as their first-round pick are definitely feeling the heat now. Spiller was expected to be a fantasy monster in 2013, but has been nothing close to that. He did rush for more than 100 yards in Week 2, but other than that he’s been a bust thus far. Keep faith in Spiller because it’s just a matter of time before he explodes for his owners. He has that rare combination of great speed and great hands, so once the Buffalo Bills start utilizing him like they did the second half of last season, he will be fine. He is still a must-start and even though he goes up against the Baltimore Ravens defense this Sunday, look for him to have a very good game. Spiller is due for a big play and a fantasy friendly stat line.

Shark Sleepers

Ryan Broyles, WR, Detroit

With news that receiver Nate Burleson broke his arm and is out for a while, Broyles suddenly becomes fantasy relevant. He immediately becomes the No. 2 wideout for Detroit behind Calvin Johnson and will see his targets increase. Don’t look for Broyles to get 10 receptions a game, but he should see a lot of work in the slot and get an occasional deep ball thrown his way. There are many options for quarterback Matthew Stafford , but he throws 40 times a game so Broyles could be a nice flex option in deeper leagues. If you need wide receiver help, take a shot on him and hope that he starts benefiting from all the double-teams that Johnson draws.

Isaiah Pead, RB, St. Louis

Pead has seen his role as backup running back increase significantly over the last two weeks for St. Louis as starter Daryl Richardson is dealing with a foot injury. Richardson got just one carry last week so Pead shouldered the load and performed well. The Rams were behind early against a hot Dallas offense so they had to abandon the run for most of the game. Pead received just six carries and ran for 20 yards, but he caught all seven balls that went his way for 43 yards. It looks like he will be back to second string Thursday night because Richardson is listed as probable, but he could be a nice flex option with his receiving skills. Beware that San Francisco’s defense is lurking, although they have been less-than-impressive so far this season, I like Pead’s chances if he gets the touches.

Lock of the Week

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Atlanta

Starting running back Steven Jackson is still out with a leg injury so Rodgers will see an expanded role once again for the Falcons. He isn’t a must-start because Jason Snelling will also get some work, but Rodgers will see about 60 percent or so. He was solid last week against a tough Miami run defense, rushing for 86 yards on 18 carries. He did only have two catches for seven yards, which is low for him, and Snelling did get the red zone touchdown, but Rodgers is the big play back and is always a threat to score with his speed. Chances are it will be a shootout against the New England Patriots on Sunday night, so look for a ton of offense from both teams and Rodgers to have more than 100 total yards with a touchdown.