• by Brandon Wise | Staff Writer

    Patriots running game does nothing win over Baltimore

    Patriots running backs Brandon Bolden, Shane Vereen and LeGarrette Blount were unable to get going in New England's 35-31 win over the Ravens Saturday. Between the three, they total seven carries for 14 yards. Quarterback Tom Brady had the only rushing touchdown for the Patriots. New England did not give a handoff to a running back in the second half. Vereen had four catches for 39 yards and Bolden one catch for 11.

  • by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

    Report: Patriots sign RB Bolden, safety Chung to extensions

    The Patriots have locked up running back Brandon Bolden and starting safety Patrick Chung to contract extensions on Friday, ESPN reports. Bolden, a core special teams player, signed a two-year, $3.2 million contract extension through 2016. Chung, who returned to New England after spending the 2013 season with the Eagles, signed a three-year extension through 2017. The deal is worth up to $8.2 million and includes $3.4 million in guarantees, according to the report.

  • by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer

    Patriots' backfield remains an enigma

    LeGarrette Blount was out for Week 16 at the Jets with a shoulder injury, which meant surely the Patriots would make Jonas Gray their go-to running back. After all, he had a 200-yard, four-touchdown game earlier this season and finally got out of coach Bill Belichick's doghouse with 11 carries for 62 yards last week. Wrong again. Gray was the Patriots' only running back to score a touchdown in Week 16, plunging in from 1 yard out in the fourth quarter, but to say he was the go-to back would be disingenuous. He and Shane Vereen tied for the team lead in carries with six, but Brandon Bolden also had five. And Vereen and Bolden were both more productive with their carries, averaging 6.3 yards and 6.4 yards, respectively, than Gray was with his, averaging 0.8 yards. And then there's the fact that Vereen is far and away the best pass-catcher of the three, but he was hardly involved in the passing game on a quiet day for quarterback Tom Brady. So basically, you wouldn't have gone right with any of Blount's three replacements, and considering they were all equally involved, you have to wonder how they'll impact Blount's role if he returns Week 17 against Buffalo. Given that it's a tough matchup anyway, you might just want to avoid every Patriots running back.

  • by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

    Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden each chip in for LeGarrette Blount

    With LeGarrette Blount sidelined with a shoulder injury, Patriots running backs Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden did most of the heavy lifting on the ground against the Jets in Week 16. Bolden only carried the ball five times for 32 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per attempt. Vereen was more involved, as he rushed for 38 yards on six carries. He also caught one of two targets for 12 yards in a 30-14 victory. New England will face Buffalo in Week 17.

  • by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com

    Patriots running backs continue to confound

    Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a longstanding tradition of zigging when Fantasy owners expect him to stay in a nice, predictable zag, and he did it again in Week 13 with his running backs. Shane Vereen still played the majority of the team's snaps Sunday against the Packers, but was largely a nonfactor in the loss. He had just three carries and one reception, and was only targeted twice in the passing game overall. LeGarrette Blount led the team in rushing for the second week in a row since signing as a free agent, however this time he didn't get the goal-line work. Blount, who scored twice the previous week, ceded a goal-line carry to little-used reserve Brandon Bolden, who scored his first touchdown of the season, while finishing with three carries for 17 yards overall. Jonas Gray , the star of the team's Week 11 win, was back on the field after failing to touch the ball in Week 12, but had just one carry for 4 yards. Belichick knows he can wring value out of any back he chooses, which is what makes this situation so perpetually frustrating for Fantasy owners. Any back could get work in any situation any week, but it still looks like Blount and Vereen are going to be the team's top options moving forward. Relying on anyone here on a weekly basis is frustrating, but Blount and Vereen are the only ones that are must-own players down the stretch.

  • by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com

    Patriots backup rushers can't do much Week 13

    The Patriots backup rushers could not do much Week 13 against the Packers. Brandon Bolden managed to make an impact despite limited work. He carried the ball three times for 17 yards, but one of those attempts went for a 6 yard touchdown. Bolden was not involved in the passing game. Shane Vereen also had three carries, but gained just 6 yards. He caught one ball for 26 yards during the contest. Jonas Gray also made an appearance, picking up 4 yards on one carry. The trio will look for more Week 14 against the Chargers.

  • by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

    Patriots' Blount, Gray expected to form 'thunder and thunder' duo

    Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount was not signed by Bill Belichick to replace Jonas Gray, but will likely leapfrog Brandon Bolden and James White on the depth chart to provide a powerful "thunder and thunder" duo moving forward, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe on Friday. According to the paper, the move was made in case Gray, who exploded for 201 yards and four touchdowns on the ground in a Week 11, becomes ineffective, or if he suffers a second ACL injury. Gray suffered a torn ACL during his senior season with Notre Dame in 2011. When asked about his role with the club, Belichick said it will be up to Blount. "That'll be up to him, just like everybody else," Belichick said, per WEEI. "When he gets an opportunity, how much he can take advantage of it, how much he can be productive, what he can do with those opportunities will determine how many more there are. It's totally up to him. He's knows that. We've talked about that. He knows that's the way it is and I think he's excited about it." Blount rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns on 65 carries with the Steelers this season before getting waived by the club and reuniting with Belichick and the Patriots.

  • by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

    Patriots RB Shane Vereen listed questionable due to illness

    Patriots running back Shane Vereen was a late adition to the injury report due to an illness. He was officially ruled as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bears, the Boston Globe reports. Vereen was unable to practice Friday because of the ailment. He's coming off a two-touchdown performance in Week 7 against the Jets. If he is unable to play on Sunday, the team will likely turn to Brandon Bolden, Jonas Gray and James White to shoulder the load.

  • by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer

    Patriots' running back situation mostly clear

    Forget about Brandon Bolden. The Patriots' use of him against the Jets in Week 7 -- he played only one snap -- pretty much tells the story there. Granted, they've had their share of about-faces at the running back spot over the last few years, so I wouldn't dare claim to know what they're thinking, but if they've decided their next-best choice at the position is Jonas Gray, who at least saw the field for 11 plays Thursday, it's pretty clear what direction they intend to go, right? With that in mind, I cautiously, carefully and with a preemptive tinge of regret plan to start Shane Vereen Week 8 against Chicago and hopefully every week thereafter. Yes, he played 80 percent of the snaps in Week 7, and yes, he scored two touchdowns. But you'll notice both of them came through the air. True, he also got more than two-thirds of the Patriots' carries, but I can't help but wonder if in a different matchup, one that encouraged them to pound the ball instead of rushing just 15 times as a team, they would have been more creative. That would work to Vereen's detriment, obviously. For more of my biggest takeaways from Week 7, be sure to check out my latest post to the Fantasy Football Today blog.

  • by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com

    Patriots' backup pass-catchers contribute Thursday

    The Patriots received contributions from a number of players Week 7 against the Jets. Brandon LaFell led the way, hauling in four passes for 55 yards. He finished third on the team in yardage, and was targeted five times. Danny Amendola caught one pass, but made it count. In the fourth quarter, Amendola scored on a 19 yard reception from Tom Brady. Amendola should have had a better game, but had a couple catches taken away due to penalties. Brandon Bolden also caught one ball for 4 yards. They'll look for more Week 8 against the Bears.