Rhamondre Stevenson Fantasy Football Outlook: Examining the Patriots Backfield With Damien Harris, Without James White
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Rhamondre Stevenson.
It’s been a newsworthy couple of days for the Patriots offense, specifically in the backfield.
Reports out of New England about the team’s offense so far during training camp have been less than stellar. It sounds like former Pats defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is now in charge of the offense, which is consistently being bested by the defense so far in camp.
On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer wrote that he thought the Patriots could be open to trading Damien Harris, who established himself last season as the team’s RB1. Breer notes that it depends on how the rest of the team’s backfield plays out, but the main reason for it is Rhamondre Stevenson.
Stevenson “has established himself as a starting-level player,” according to Breer. If New England wants to roll with him as the starter, that could make Harris dispensable.
Elsewhere in the backfield is veteran Ty Montgomery, who now appears likely to take over White’s third-down, pass-catching role. The Patriots also drafted Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively.
Damien Harris is entering the final year of his rookie contract coming off two productive seasons in New England. Last year, he ran 202 times for 929 yards, delivering a stellar 15 rushing touchdowns for fantasy owners. That was about all he offered, though, as he has just 23 catches over 25 games in the last two seasons.
Stevenson is only slightly more capable as a receiver, with 14 catches in 12 games last season, but he proved an impressive runner. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season on 133 carries over 12 games.
Sean Koerner’s Take
If the Patriots end up trading away Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson would become a low-end RB2.
Stevenson is capable of becoming a workhorse back, as seen by some of his rushing lines last season: Week 10 (20/100/2), Week 13 (24/78/0), Week 17 (19/107/2). He’s also a more polished pass catcher than Harris, meaning he can stay in on third down and provide receiving stats, making his ceiling higher than Harris’.
Pierre Strong would essentially take over Stevenson’s current role and could provide RB3/Flex value at times. He would be an injury away from potentially offering low-end RB2 value.
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