Patriots running back Shane Vereen played in eight games last year, but that's misleading. He played a full complement of snaps in six games. In the last two games he was used sparingly while nursing a groin injury.
All told, the broken wrist he suffered Week 1 and the late-season groin problem limited Vereen to 297 snaps. He played 41 percent of a full season.
To accurately project his numbers, we need to give him 45 snaps per game -- the number he averaged in the six full games he played. That translates to 720 snaps and RB1 production: 507 rushing yards, 115 catches, 1,042 receiving yards, nine total touchdowns.
Those numbers look insane, and there's obviously a health risk. But it helps to know Vereen's ceiling.
Vereen ranked fourth among running backs last year with 0.43 Fantasy Points Per Snap in PPR leagues, per Pro Football Focus. He ranked third with 0.55 Fantasy Points Per Opportunity, which combines carries and pass routes run.
ESPN's Patriots beat reporter expects Vereen to lead the team's running backs in playing time, ahead of Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden (if he makes the team) and rookie James White. LeGarrette Blount's departure helps Vereen as well as Ridley.
Vereen is currently getting drafted 18th among running backs in PPR leagues. Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg rank him 16th in that format. In PPR drafts, start targeting Vereen in the third round. Wait until the late fourth round in standard leagues.
If he stays healthy, Vereen is the kind of player who will win you championships.