We can now officially welcome New England Patriots rookie running back Sony Michel to fantasy relevance. While Michel has slowly seen his workload increase over the first three weeks he’s been on the field, it led to a big showing in Week 4 against the Miami Dolphins.
The No. 31 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft received 25 rushing attempts, rumbling for 112 yards and one touchdown during the 38-7 win. While it’s unlikely the Patriots roll past the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football in that same fashion, it’s wildly apparent Bill Belichick wants to use Michel early and often.
With Rex Burkhead going on injured reserve, it led to James White (49 percent) and Michel (41 percent) seeing a fair amount of work, per Football Outsiders. The big question now becomes, what will the rookie do for an encore performance in a primetime matchup, and should fantasy football owners buy into the hype and start him?
Sony Michel’s Workload & Matchup
While White is going to take a few touches away from Michel, there’s no question who the workhorse back will be moving forward. He’s gone from 10 carries to 14 and finally up to 25 last week, showing that Belichick’s faith in him is growing.
If the Patriots are able to grab a lead against the Colts in this game, it’s only going to bolster the work for Michel, which is a very real possibility. While the New England offense has struggled at times this season, they’re getting Julian Edelman back from suspension, which should open things up across the board.
The Colts haven’t been bad against opposing running backs, allowing 337 yards and two scores on the ground. But aside from Joe Mixon (95 yards, one touchdown) and the Bengals in Week 1, Indianapolis hasn’t faced many tough tests. They drew the Jay Ajayi-less Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and Houston Texans.
Should You Start Sony Michel in Week 5?
In most cases, I’ll be starting Michel with a fair amount of confidence. It seems he fits well in the offensive gameplan and is a perfect option on the ground next to James White. While White is the better play for point-per-reception leagues, Michel has a solid floor and the potential to find the end zone once or twice in what should be a high-scoring game.
I’d roll out Michel in all 12-team or larger leagues, but in 10-teamers, you probably have a pretty strong plethora of backs. Then again, if not and you opted to load up at wide receiver or draft a tight end/quarterback early, you could do much worse than Michel. He’s a fine fantasy play and I’d use him in daily fantasy football showdown games as well.