There are certain things in fantasy football that owners can take to the bank each season. One of them is that you never know what you are going to get when you draft a New England Patriots running back.
There have been many nightmare stories from over the years, but there also have been players like LeGarrette Blount who were pleasant surprises. The best bit of advice may be to stay away from Patriots running backs altogether, but every running back who gets consistent snaps has a chance to be a difference-maker at some point during the fantasy football season.
Let's break down the ADPs of some of the Patriots running backs that could make their way onto our fantasy teams this upcoming season.
Sony Michel - ADP: 95
Following a stellar career at the University of Georgia, Michel was selected in the first round by the Patriots in the 2018 NFL Draft. Michel showed flashes in his rookie season, including four games in which he rushed for more than 100 yards. He also averaged 4.5 yards per attempt. Unfortunately for those who drafted Michel in 2019, things did not go as smoothly in his second season.
Michel's numbers were horrible. He only averaged 3.7 yards per attempt and he didn't have any games with over 100 yards rushing. I thought he may have been masking an injury, that's how bad he looked, but he should not have to shoulder all the blame. The Patriots were 18th in the NFL in rushing offense last season. Their offensive line suffered from both injuries and poor performance.
Toward the end of the year, when the line got healthy, Michel actually did put up some decent numbers. He is the most talented running back that the Patriots have on the roster, but the fact that he doesn't catch passes out of the backfield really hurts him for fantasy, especially in PPR leagues. With an overall ADP of 95, Michel is worth the risk. If he has a bounce-back season he gives you nice depth at running back. If he continues to struggle, you can burry him on your fantasy bench with no worries.
James White - ADP: 98
Jimmy White, as I call him, is a classic fantasy football PPR running back. He does not give you anything as a pure runner. His ability to catch the football out of the backfield is where his fantasy value comes from, but the problem lies in his consistency.
One week White will catch eight passes. The next week he will only have one reception. That makes it very difficult to know when to start him in fantasy.
Patriots Insider Max McAuliffe had this to say about White:
"Coming off two strong seasons in a row but a dip in usage last season, it will be interesting to see not only how New England can utilize him more, but also how White can provide assurance for Jarrett Stidham and ease his transition into the league."
White can be an asset when it comes to helping his young quarterback, but for fantasy purposes I think he is best suited for best ball formats.
Damien Harris - ADP: 231
Harris didn't get an opportunity to showcase his talents last season in his rookie campaign. He only played in two games and only carried the ball four times. Harris will come into this season in a backup role, but if there is an injury to Michel or White he could have significant fantasy value. He is a stash and cash guy at best.
Rex Burkhead - ADP: 289
The veteran Burkhead has not played 16 games in a season since he signed with New England three years ago. I have zero interest in him for fantasy football.
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