Damien Harris Fantasy Outlook: Can Harris emerge over Sony Michel in a crowded Patriots backfield?

Within the 2019 NFL Draft, it regarded just like the Patriots received a steal after they chosen Damien Harris within the third spherical. Harris had a productive four-year profession on the College of Alabama and had as soon as been thought-about a possible first-round choice. The Patriots snapped him up and lots of thought that he and Sony Michel would kind a dynamic one-two punch on the NFL stage. Nonetheless, Harris did not reside as much as expectations as a rookie, barely seeing the sector, and that is leaving many fantasy soccer house owners questioning if he is a legit sleeper or only a late-round handcuff forward of the ’20 season.

Up to now in coaching camp, it appears to be like like Harris has an opportunity to emerge in an even bigger position than he earned throughout his rookie season. However fantasy house owners might be involved about Invoice Belichick’s propensity to rotate RBs, in addition to the shortened offseason and its impact on Harris (i.e. not getting any preseason carries).

DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Final 2020 cheat sheet

Under, we’ll break down this irritating committee and see if any have an opportunity to actually get away. 

Damien Harris fantasy outlook

Throughout his faculty days at Alabama, Harris was a constant again that cut up carries however at all times produced. Although he by no means had greater than 172 complete touches throughout his profession, he twice ran for 1,000-plus yards and had three seasons with no less than 1,080 complete yards. He was productive within the pink zone, racking up 20 TDs in his remaining two seasons, and had a profession yards-per-carry common of 6.four.

Nonetheless, late in his faculty profession, Harris ceded some snaps to Josh Jacobs, and it was Jacobs who ended up turning into the extra wanted NFL prospect. Jacobs grew to become a first-round decide within the ’19 draft and is on tempo to be a first-round decide in most fantasy drafts in ’20. Harris, in the meantime, slipped to the 87th decide and can come off the board within the mid-to-late rounds of most fantasy drafts.

The explanation for that is easy. Harris merely did not play a lot as a rookie. He performed a complete of 10 snaps, with 5 of these approaching offense. On the 12 months, he had 4 carries for 12 yards. That was it.

Harris’ numbers and lack of enjoying time might scare some off, particularly contemplating the opposite members of a deep New England backfield. That stated, it’s price noting that Belichick provides a few of his rookies a de facto redshirt 12 months, particularly on the RB place. Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen performed 191 and 26 snaps, respectively, as rookies in ’11. James White performed 31 snaps throughout his first 12 months in ’14. Even Sony Michel solely noticed 28.6 % of the snaps throughout his ’18 rookie 12 months.

So, in brief, Harris’ first 12 months is par for the course of how Belichick tends to deal with his backs. With one other 12 months of expertise within the system, Harris ought to have an opportunity to emerge in an even bigger position. He will not be the starter off the bat, nevertheless it’s price noting that Michel (foot) has been banged up for the higher a part of a 12 months and Harris has regarded good to this point at camp. On the very least, it appears to be like like issues are trending in a optimistic route for Harris.

Harris qualifies as a sleeper decide proper now since he is coming off the board because the RB54, per FantasyPros’ ADP. He has way more upside than that and if he can emerge because the Patriots’ prime again, he could possibly be a borderline RB2. He might find yourself being extra of a man to think about as a possible flex play proper now but when he earns the highest position within the New England backfield or turns into the workforce’s goal-line again, he ought to have an opportunity to be very productive.

2020 STANDARD FANTASY RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Working again | Huge receiver | Tight finish | D/ST | Kicker | Superflex | Prime 200

Sony Michel fantasy outlook

In every of his two NFL seasons, Michel has come up just a bit bit in need of 1,000 dashing yards. He has 13 profession TDs and has been a gentle, constant again for probably the most half in New England.

Nonetheless, Michel has had one situation that has created complications for some fantasy house owners. Accidents. Whereas Michel has missed simply three video games throughout his profession, all of which got here as a rookie, he was banged up fairly a bit throughout his second 12 months. He performed by way of the maladies, however that induced his yards-per-carry common to plummet from four.5 as a rookie to three.7 final 12 months. He did not have a 100-yard dashing recreation in ’19, and practically half of his TDs got here in a single week.

.Michel’s largest drawback is his consistency. Will it get higher if he is wholesome? Perhaps, however the larger situation is that Michel might not be wholesome to begin the ’20 season.

Proper now, Michel is coping with a foot damage that saved him sidelined for a majority of the offseason after surgical procedure. He did just lately return to the apply area and the Patriots appear to be assured that he might be able to play Week 1 vs. the Dolphins, however there are two issues price questioning about that. One, how near 100 % is he? Two, what number of carries will he shoulder after lacking a lot apply time? Each questions have many potential solutions, and that is what makes Michel an even bigger danger than he has been in years previous.

The excellent news is that Michel will come at a reduction in most fantasy drafts. He’s the 36th RB coming off the board, which places him within the borderline flex class. That is a worth that almost all fantasy house owners needs to be prepared to pay, no less than in normal codecs. If an proprietor can draft Michel because the 36th RB within the center rounds, then it needs to be simple sufficient to seize Harris as a handcuff a spherical or two later.

Had been Michel’s worth greater, he would in all probability be a participant to keep away from, however in the course of the draft, he is price taking an opportunity on as he does have extra expertise. That stated, Harris has extra upside, so he might in the end be the man to get relying on what number of RBs you possibly can land early in your fantasy draft. 

2020 PPR RANKINGS:
Working again | Huge receiver | Tight finish | Superflex | Prime 200

James White: PPR stud

In fact, the choice about Patriots RBs is not nearly concentrating on Harris or Michel. It is also balancing how they examine to different role-playing backs on the roster. White, as an illustration, is not going to get as many carries as both lead again, however he could possibly be probably the most persistently productive working again for fantasy functions. White is a PPR stud who has averaged 69 catches, 594 yards, and 5 TDs per 12 months the previous 4 seasons. He has a excessive flooring and will see a ton of targets from Cam Newton, who received an opportunity to throw to Christian McCaffrey in his remaining two years with the Panthers.

White can actually be trusted as an RB2 in PPR codecs. Harris and Michel will not problem him for receptions, as Michel has simply 19 complete catches throughout his profession whereas Harris averaged on 13 catches per 12 months in faculty. White’s potential in normal codecs is a bit trickier to calculate, however he is two spots behind Michel because the RB38 in ADP proper now.

White’s flooring ought to hypothetically be greater than each Harris’ and Michel’s, so if you want a secure decide, do not be afraid to decide on White. Simply do not forget that his ceiling is not as excessive as that of Harris, and he isn’t a real risk to remove carries from the larger, extra highly effective backs.

DRAFT STRATEGY AND RANKINGS TIERS: 
Quarterback | Working Again | Huge Receiver | Tight Finish | D/ST

What about Rex Burkhead, Lamar Miller?

In every of his three years with the Patriots, Burkhead has put up a few good fantasy outings. The veteran is stable between the tackles however can even catch passes out of the backfield. In all probability, he’ll be the backup to White within the receiving position, but when both Harris or Michel will get banged up, do not be shocked to see him get some carries. With out accidents, nonetheless, it is tough to know precisely when Burkhead could also be productive.

In the meantime, Miller was picked up late within the offseason by the Patriots after lacking all the ’19 marketing campaign after a preseason ACL tear. Miller was as soon as a sure-fire RB2 in most fantasy codecs and he has averaged 1,317 scrimmage yards and eight TDs per 16 video games that previous 5 years. Coming off a significant damage at 29, he will not have that kind of manufacturing once more, but when he makes the workforce, there’s no less than an opportunity that he may make an influence in New England.

Nonetheless, Burkhead and Miller’s worth would come largely as a result of damage. At the perfect, they’re handcuffs in deep leagues. However for many, they’re in all probability simply guys to have on the waiver wire watch checklist.

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