Shane Vereen finds the end zone for fantasy owners on Sunday

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots' valuable backfield weapon helped open up the passing game for Tom Brady and company on Sunday. We break down the fantasy implications.

New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen got the start in place of the deactivated Stevan Ridley, and he did not disappoint.

Vereen primarily shared the workload with LeGarrette Blount and the two were occasionally spelled by Brandon Bolden. However, Vereen remained more of a factor in the receiving game, and that versatility allowed him to lead the Patriots backfield with 15 touches. Vereen proved to be a mismatch for the Texans linebackers, totaling five catches for 37 yards and a receiving touchdown, as well as 38 yards on 10 carries.

Fantasy Spin: Even if Ridley comes back into the mix, Vereen's fantasy owners need not worry. Because of his ability in the receiving game, he will continue to get his targets and snaps in an offense that is best suited for airing the ball out. Ridley's return will have a greater impact on Blount's workload instead.

Versus a stout Cleveland Browns front seven, Vereen has his work cut out for him in Week 14. But as long as he continues to get targets from Tom Brady in space -- and he will -- fantasy owners should remain confident in him as a flex play.

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