By Eric Schmidt

The starting running back for the New England Patriots was one of the biggest questions surrounding the potent team’s offense heading into 2012. BenJarvus Green-Ellis departed via free agency. The Patriots added veteran back Joseph Addai in the offseason but released him after the opening of training camp. Could the lead back in the Patriots offense be emerging as camp progress?

According to csnne.com, after four days of camp, Stevan Ridley is getting the most looks and is impressing in camp. Fellow running back Shane Vereen, not so much. Vereen makes the Who’s Not Hot list according to the cable company’s training camp coverage.

Fantasy Football implications- The running back position for the Patriots frustrates fantasy owners year in and year out. New England employs a true running back by committee approach. CSNNE reports that the Patriots have been running a lot of screens early on in camp with Ridley getting the majority of the work. Ridley has the same physical size of Green-Ellis, both coming in at 5′ 10″ 220 pounds. Green-Ellis did account for 11 scores last year so Ridley could have some value for fantasy owners this year.

Green-Ellis did only record 13 receptions last year, so if the Patriots employ more of a screen game this season, Ridley could rack up additional yards. It is early in camp, but Ridley appears to have the upper hand for the starting nod for the Patriots this year at this point.

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