The Patriots added Alabama RB Damien Harris in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The #1 RB in the 2015 recruiting class led talented ‘Bama backfields in rushing in each of the past 3 seasons: 1,037 yards in 2016, 1,000 in 2017 and 876 this past year. He leaves school with a strong 6.4 yards per carry (half a yard better than Josh Jacobs) and also totaled 52 catches across his 4 years on campus. Harris isn’t a flashy back, but he packs a punch at 5’10, 216 pounds and registered a solid 46th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. The pick feels a bit redundant for the Patriots, who have Sony Michel coming off an impressive season as lead ball-carrier. But Michel has a long injury history, including a knee injury last August that cost him the season’s first 3 games.
The Patriots expect RB Sony Michel to return for today's game against the Titans, according to multiple reports. He missed the past 2 weeks with an ankle injury. We'll see if WR Cordarrelle Patterson has worked his way into a larger share of rushing duties going forward, but you'll find Michel inside starter range in our Week 10 RB rankings.
A Patriots source told ESPN's Adam Schefter this regarding RB Sony Michel's knee injury: “Expect it will be a little bit but not overly serious. Won’t know til they look at it Monday.” It sounds like Michel avoided a season-ending injury but figures to miss some time. We should learn more later today. James White and Kenjon Barner are left as the Patriots' healthy RBs right now. They figure to add someone this week. Free agent and former Patriot Mike Gillislee's name has been tossed around.
Patriots RB Sony Michel was carted to the locker room with a left leg injury in the 1st half of Sunday's game against the Bears. His leg got twisted awkwardly in a pile. We'll update his status when we learn more. Michel's absence leaves New England with RBs James White and Kenjon Barner.
UPDATE: The Pats announced Michel with a knee injury and deemed him questionable to return.
The Patriots will place RB Rex Burkhead on IR with the neck injury he suffered in Week 3, according to the Boston Globe's Jim McBride. No word yet on Burkhead's exact injury or whether he's a candidate to return after 8 weeks. We'll look for more details, but Burkhead can be dropped outside of deep leagues and leagues with an IR spot. New England's once deep backfield has now lost Burkead and Jeremy Hill to injuries. That leaves Sony Michel as the clear lead ball-carrier and James White as the primary pass-catching back. Both guys look like weekly fantasy starters at this point.
Patriots RB Rex Burkhead missed practice Wednesday with a concussion. It's the 1st we've heard of the injury, so Burkhead must have developed symptoms since Sunday's game. He'll obviously need to pass through the league protocol before returning to action. We'll see about Burkhead's availability Sunday at Jacksonville. RB Sony Michel (knee) put in a limited practice Wednesday and could be a potential replacement if Burkhead's not ready.
Patriots RB Jeremy Hill tore his right ACL in Sunday's win over the Texans and will miss the rest of the season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Hill's injury leaves even more immediate work available for Rex Burkhead, who handed 18 of 27 Patriots RB rushing attempts vs. Houston. It also removes competition for rookie Sony Michel (knee) whenever he's ready to be active on gameday. Should Michel continue to miss games, James White could also see more ground work. White carried 5 times against the Texans. Hill signed just a 1-year deal with New England. He turns 26 in October.
Patriots RB Sony Michel (knee) was limited in Wednesday's practice. He's been practicing for about a week now but still isn't a full-go. His availability for Week 1 remains uncertain -- but he'll be tough to trust in fantasy lineups even if he ends up active against the Texans on Sunday. RB Rex Burkhead (knee), meanwhile, isn't listed on the injury report and will serve as New England's lead back in the opener.
The Athletic's Jeff Howe reports that Patriots RB Rex Burkhead has a "slight tear" in his knee. "But it’s been deemed a minor injury and something he’ll be able to play through," Howe adds. This remains a murky situation (as usual with the Patriots), and no other media members have reported on Burkhead's injury as of Friday morning. We'll continue to look for updates, but Burkhead obviously comes with plenty of risk in drafts right now. It's completely unclear what's torn in his knee, how effective he'll be playing through it and how long it'll hold up. New England, of course, is still without rookie RB Sony Michel, who had fluid drained from his knee a couple of weeks ago. That leaves Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee as the healthy early-down backs. Both guys saw time with the 1st-team offense in Thursday night's preseason game, but Hill again out-performed Gillislee. The former Bengal is averaging 4.8 yards per carry through 2 exhibitions vs. Gillislee's 2.8. Hill is looking more and more intriguing as a late-round flier by the day.
Patriots RB Rex Burkhead missed the preseason opener and the last 2 practices with an undisclosed injury. We'll see how long he remains sidelined, but it's worth noting after he struggled staying healthy last year. Burkhead missed 4 games with a rib injury and 3 more (including a playoff game) with a sprained knee. RB Sony Michel remains out with his knee issue, leaving James White, Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee as New England's healthy backs. Hill out-played Gillislee in the preseason opener and has reportedly gotten more 1st-teams reps since.
Patriots rookie RB Sony Michel will require a "procedure" for a knee injury he suffered in practice Wednesday, according to The Athletic's Jeff Howe. The recovery is expected to cost Michel the entire preseason and might keep him sidelined "into the start" of the regular season. That's obviously terrible news for the fantasy outlook of a rookie back, especially one competing with Rex Burkhead and James White for backfield snaps and touches. We'll see how sharply Michel's ADP falls. He'll likely need to get to the Round 8 range or so in 12-team drafts to be worth the risk. Burkhead, meanwhile, should climb from an ADP that has already been ascending. Don't be surprised if we start to see him regularly go in Round 4.
Update: ESPN's Mike Reiss reports that Michel had fluid drained from the knee and that the situation "is not expected to affect Michel's availability for a significant portion, if any, of the regular season." We've moved Michel down our RB rankings and Burkhead up, but we'll keep watching for any further updates on this issue.
The Patriots selected Georgia RB Sony Michel with the 31st overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. It’s the first 1st-round RB for New England since Laurence Maroney in 2006. That didn’t work out so well, but Michel has the potential to fare much better. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry across his 4-year college career and flashed pass-catching ability with seasons of 26 and 22 grabs. Michel is electric in the open field with surprising power. The biggest concern is a lengthy injury history that includes a torn ACL and a pair of ankle injuries. This is a exciting landing spot for Michel. New England’s backfield is crowded on paper, but Rex Burkhead, James White, Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee are all role players. Consider Michel the odds-on favorite to lead the 2018 backfield in touches.
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