The New England Patriots began the 2018 NFL season with the expectation that Rex Burkhead would take on a big role. After receiving 18 carries in the team’s opener and just six the week after, he suffered a setback which led to a change at the position.
It was a neck injury for Burkhead and it sent him to injured reserve while shifting the attention to Sony Michel and James White in the backfield. It’s been a tough season for Burkhead, who also suffered a concussion and knee injury prior to the neck ailment. And as we’ve seen, both Michel and White have done more than a fine job of filling his role.
But as NFL Network’s Michael Giardi revealed Thursday, the team’s former starting running back may be set to return on December 2 after he returned to practice today.
It’s great news for Burkhead, but the question becomes, how will his fantasy football value look once he’s back on the field?
Rex Burkhead’s Fantasy Value Once Back on Field
While Burkhead’s return is near, the same can be said about backfield mate Sony Michel, who suffered a knee injury forcing him to miss two games. With Michel potentially back for Week 10, it’s going to mean snaps and playing time will be tough to come by. Prior to the rookie’s injury against the Chicago Bears, he had topped 98 yards and scored at least one touchdown in three-straight games.
While Michel is the clear-cut starter on early downs, James White has been an absolute force as a pass-catcher. Through nine games, he’s caught 61 passes for 531 yards and six touchdowns while adding four scores on the ground. White has proven to be one of the most explosive pieces of the Patriots offense this season.
In turn, this leaves Burkhead with a less-than-ideal outlook from a fantasy perspective. He’ll likely carve out some type of a role but won’t do heavy lifting like earlier in the season. It’s highly unlikely he’ll see anywhere close to 18 carries again this year and unless you have Michel and deep rosters, Burkhead’s not worth adding in any leagues with 14 or fewer teams.