The New England Patriots appear to have settled on the player who will replace the replacement for the role that used to be manned by James White. RB-WR hybrid Ty Montgomery was placed on injured reserve, which means he will miss at least the next four weeks of action.
With Montgomery out, the Patriots will turn to second-year running back Rhamondre Stevenson as the primary player in a position to make plays as a receiver on third downs and in other obvious passing situations.
Stevenson had been projected to take on this role at some point this season, but things were cloudy with White’s status still unclear before his retirement just ahead of training camp.
With White still hampered by what turned out to be a career-ending hip injury, the Patriots signed Montgomery. The latter’s subsequent strong play in training camp and preseason made the veteran emerge as the most logical fit.
With Montgomery now injured and shelved for the next four games or more, it’s Stevenson’s time to shine in a role that could ultimately lead to him having more opportunities than the starter, Damien Harris.
How Well Did Rhamondre Stevenson Play in Week 1?
Stevenson didn’t set the world on fire with his opportunities in the Week 1 loss to the Dolphins. He carried the ball eight times for just 25 yards, though he did have a 12-yard run during the game.
In the passing game, Stevenson was even less of a factor. He was targeted twice and made both catches but could only muster up a total of two yards on both receptions combined.
While those numbers may not excite fantasy football fans and members of Patriots Nation, it might make more sense to look at Montgomery’s receiving stat line if we’re going to gauge what Stevenson’s numbers might look like in Week 2 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Stevenson will still function as the Patriots’ second option on pure running downs, so he should still get a solid number of opportunities in those situations. As a receiver, Stevenson’s targets should be similar to what Montgomery saw against Miami.
Montgomery had four targets and made three receptions for 15 yards, including a TD reception–the Patriots’ only score in the game. Those numbers aren’t stellar, though the TD will help most fantasy teams.
Stevenson’s overall ceiling could be higher, considering he’s a bigger and even more explosive option who the Patriots might even give more chances to make plays.
Patriots Might Need to Sign a RB
With Montgomery out, the Patriots are down to Harris, Stevenson, and rookie Pierre Strong Jr. at the position. New England has already decided to replace Montgomery on the roster with Wr Lil’Jordan Humphrey.
While New England doesn’t see itself as a team needing more depth at the running back position. That may work for the Week 2 matchup with the Steelers. However, if the Patriots experience one more injury at running back, Bill Belichick will have to seriously consider signing a running back to spell Harris and Stevenson.
One thing is for sure, the Steelers don’t figure to be a team that shows New England any pity.