The New England Patriots were dealt a brutal blow in the first half of their Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears. As NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport revealed, starting running back Sony Michel was carted off the field following an injury to his leg/ankle.
It’s a brutal blow for Michel and the Patriots if the injury is anything serious. Over the past three games, Michel has totaled at least 98 yards and one touchdown every week. Obviously, there’s still quite a bit that’s unknown about the injury, but it certainly didn’t look good.
Fantasy football owners surely took notice as well, considering Michel has emerged as a premier running back in most fantasy leagues. Let’s take a look at the impact from that perspective if the Patriots rookie is forced to miss any time.
Time for James White to Dominate Snaps?
The Patriots are left incredibly thin at running back, especially considering they placed Rex Burkhead on injured reserve earlier this season. If Michel is out for any length of time, it will become the full-blown James White show, with a little Kenjon Barner mixed in.
Barner has played no more than 12 percent of the team’s offensive snaps since Week 4 (when Burkhead was out). As for White, he’s jumped around the 40-60 percent range, as Football Outsiders shows.
If you’re a fantasy football player with Michel on your roster, it’d be a smart move to add Barner in most places simply as insurance. It’s unknown how much extended work he’ll see moving forward, but if it’s a fair amount there’s an opportunity for him to carve out some type of a role in the Patriots offense. There’s also a very real possibility the team could add a running back via trade or free agency.