The New England Patriots likely will be a popular pick to win Super Bowl LIV, but they aren’t expected to be nearly as popular in fantasy football drafts.
The Patriots’ offense isn’t exactly littered with players poised to be early-round picks in fantasy drafts this year. Despite being a receptions machine, Julian Edelman isn’t a consistent touchdown threat. Tom Brady, meanwhile, might not even be a top-15 fantasy quarterback anymore.
ESPN fantasy football expert Eric Karabell also believes fantasy players should be wary of Sony Michel. Michel is a promising young talent and very well could put together a successful sophomore campaign, but Karabell still doesn’t view the 2018 first-rounder worthy of a high draft pick.
“Much like (Todd) Gurley, we know Michel has knee problems and nobody — repeat, nobody — expects them to go away,” Karabel writes. “The Patriots drafted Michel’s potential replacement in Damien Harris and, you might have heard, they have a tendency for switching up their running back touches from week to week, sans warning. In addition, Michel caught seven passes last season. Seven. This is PPR. James White, who ended up a top-10 PPR running back last season, is a considerably better pick, but foolishly going later in drafts. Know your rules!”
It’s important to note Karabell isn’t advising you to avoid Michel entirely. If the Georgia product happens to fall into your lap in the later rounds, you definitely should go ahead and grab him. But in terms of his rankings among the NFL’s best running backs — both in reality and fantasy — Michel still has a ways to go.
Health, as Karabell touches upon, is the primary concern for Michel as he enters his second season. If he manages to stay injury-free, he very well could turn into a bell cow in New England’s offense, especially given the team’s mediocre collection of pass-catchers. The Patriots also proved last season, including the playoffs, they have no trepidation about turning to Michel in goal-line situations.
But if knee issues once again flare up for the 24-year-old, New England has reinforcements at the ready, all of whom are better receivers out the backfield than Michel. The Patriots have an embarrassment of riches at running back, and it’s anyone’s guess how Bill Belichick will spread the wealth over the course of the season.