Patriots insider Evan Lazar notes that RB Sony Michel has been seeing more work in the passing game in camp over the past few days. "The second-year running back ran routes out of the backfield and motioned out wide a few times as well," Lazar adds. Michel caught just 8 of 14 targets in 16 games (including playoffs) last year. But he turned in 22- and 26-catch seasons at Georgia. If he can even get up to 20 to 25 catches this season, it'd help his weekly reliability in fantasy lineups -- and obviously boost his PPR value.
Rams HC Sean McVay said Monday that RB Sony Michel is on track to play against the Bears this weekend -- although McVay stopped short of guaranteeing that Michel will suit up for that one. The former Patriots has been in Los Angeles for just a couple of weeks, so don't expect an extensive role in the opener. But Michel's presence adds downside for RB Darrell Henderson.
Rams HC Sean McVay talked about his new-look backfield of Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel on Thursday. “Wanted to make sure that we got somebody else that’s played in big-time games," McVay said of Michel, per NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano. “The goal is to get him ready to go and have him a big-time contributor on the 12th (Week 1)." Of Henderson, McVay said, "Darrell’s still going to have a very big role. Doesn’t really change the outlook for him." We at least expect Henderson to open the season as Los Angeles' lead back. But it could be a fluid situation.
Appearing on SiriusXM radio this morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter said Sony Michel will "probably be the lead back" in Los Angeles. It sounded like much more opinion than report -- but Schefter is obviously 1 of the most plugged-in reporters in the industry. Although he's struggled with injuries through 3 NFL seasons, it's worth remembering that Michel was the 31st overall pick of the 2018 draft. He's still only 26 years old. And he averaged 5.7 yards on 79 carries last year, ranking 26th among 76 qualifying RBs in Pro Football Focus' rushing grades. RB Darrell Henderson, by the way, finished 17th on that list. We'll be keeping a close eye on this backfield over the next couple of weeks. But, for now, both Henderson and Michel look like risk/reward RB3 targets in fantasy drafts.
The Patriots traded RB Sony Michel to the Rams in exchange for a pair of late-round conditional picks, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. The Rams always seemed likely to add to the backfield after losing Cam Akers for the season. Even if they believe in RB Darrell Henderson, the depth behind him wasn't NFL-caliber. Henderson still figures to get the 1st crack at lead duties in Los Angeles. But expect Michel to be involved, potentially serving as a short-yardage and goal-line back. Michel ripped off 5.7 yards per carry last year and has looked good this preseason. Rams RBs Xavier Jones and Jake Funk are obviously undraftable now. Meanwhile in New England, Damien Harris is now even safer as the clear lead ball-carrier -- although he'll continue to lose almost all the passing-down work to James White. Michel's departure also makes rookie Rhamondre Stevenson a more interesting late-round flier.
The Athletic's Jeff Howe believes Sony Michel is currently the "1B" to Damien Harris' "1A" in the Patriots backfield. Howe writes that both guys have "had the best training camp of their careers, thanks to performance and availability." That's a pleasant surprise regarding Michel considering most have written him off. Harris remains the favorite to lead New England in carries this season -- but his fantasy stock would take a significant hit if Michel is heavily involved. It's a situation to monitor in preseason action.
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