The New England Patriots drafted Georgia RB Sony Michel 31st overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Fantasy Five Sony Michel
1. After losing Dion Lewis via the free-agent market (Tennessee Titans), the Patriots were in need of another jack-of-all-trades option at the position. While they re-signed RB Rex Burkhead, he has a hard time staying on the field. James White gives them options and has shined, but he doesn’t seem to be a back the team is ready to depend upon regularly.
2. Michel, at 5-11 and 214 pounds, is explosive and could become an every-down back if the Patriots are ever ready to commit to a feature option. That, however, is unlikely. They love to rotate their personnel regularly. He’s not as polished as Lewis, Burkhead or White as a receiver, but should be serviceable.
3. In the high-tempo, pass-friendly New England system led by QB Tom Brady, Michel will find a way to carve out a weekly role for the team. He has that kind of talent and the Patriots wouldn’t have invested a first-round selection in him to let him ride the pine. Look for at least 15 combined touches per week, which Michel should find a way to turn into positive production. His addition hurts both White and Burkhead.
4. It may actually lead to the team cutting other backs. The Patriots added RB Jeremy Hill (Bengals) during the offseason, and held onto Mike Gillislee. Seeing the Patriots opt to cut both at this point would not surprise.
5. Fantasy football players are going to have a hard time deciding when to invest on Michel this year – and other Patriots running backs, too. Michel has the most upside, but touches might be erratic, at least early in the year. Early fantasy football projections: 175 carries, 800 yards rushing and six touchdowns; 30 receptions for 250 yards receiving with three touchdowns through the air. He’s a high-upside RB3 and his future potential is even brighter.