PPR showdown: Stevan Ridley vs. Danny Woodhead

If receptions count, Danny Woodhead shouldn't be forgotten. (USATSI)
If receptions count, Danny Woodhead shouldn't be forgotten. (USATSI)

Today's rankings conundrum started during a PPR mock draft Jamey Eisenberg and I did for the purpose of our annual "Pick by Pick" series, which leads you through our thought process when we draft. Looking for a running back in Round 6, I saw Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead available for a team that needed a third running back. 

I went with Ridley. Now I'm second-guessing it. 

Part of me wants to trash Ridley in the projections and rankings. What's going to happen the first time he fumbles in a game? Last year he lost his grip on being the Pats' top back and had 178 carries over the season (12.7 per game) even with Shane Vereen missing a ton of time. There's no dedication to Ridley by this Pats staff and if Vereen stays healthy and rookie James White continues to amaze, Ridley could be reduced to a much smaller role. 

The other part of me wants to accept Ridley a little bit. After all, he averaged a touchdown every other game last season and had 12 end-zone visits in 16 games in 2012. Plus he's still young and pretty healthy. 

Woodhead is easier to trust, particularly if he continues to serve as the Chargers' Swiss-Army Knife in the pass game. He wound up with career-highs in carries (106) and catches (76), actually putting him just six touches behind Ridley. He also scored one more touchdown and totaled 199 more yards than Ridley. And guess who doesn't have fumble issues? 

I expect the Chargers to keep throwing the ball around a lot, particularly because they'll have to. That's good for Woodhead. The Patriots will always be a team that runs a bunch but the strength of their offense is still with Brady. For Ridley to outperform Woodhead in a PPR league -- and maybe even in a standard league -- he'd have to not fumble and score a ton of touchdowns or Woodhead's role would have to get zapped. After signing a contract extension this month, I doubt that'll happen to Woodhead. 

I made the wrong choice. Luckily, it's a mock draft no one will ever see and the column can show the change. If you're drafting in a PPR league, don't underestimate Woodhead. 

Updated Ridley projection: 210 carries, 888 yards, eight touchdowns; 10 catches, 54 yards, two fumbles

Updated Woodhead projection: 65 carries, 270 yards; 55 catches, 539 yards, five touchdowns, no fumbles

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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