Editor’s update: The Patriots will be without running back James White, who is with his pregnant wife while she delivers their child on Sunday. Rookie Damien Harris is active for the first time, but Michel and Rex Burkhead are in line for a ton of work with White inactive for Week 3. Michel is a strong start.
I could end this post with just a plain simple “start,” but I’m going to at least give you a couple of reasons to take my advice without making a leap of faith (as if playing the Jets wasn’t reason enough).
First and foremost, again, New England is playing the New York Jets. At home. With a line that has the Patriots as a 22.5-points favorite. That is even higher than Dallas’ implied points against the Dolphins. Just imagine! The Jets haven’t actually been that bad against RBs, though. In two weeks they have allowed 16.8 and 27.8 PPR points to the Bills and Browns, although those outcomes align with the rushers those two teams have mostly fielded (Frank Gore and Nick Chubb). After putting on a dud in Week 1 (probably just a fluke, as every Patriot seemed to be having a party in Pittsburgh except him), Sony Michel rebounded in Week 2 against the Dolphins. Michel was present on 35 five snaps, carried the ball a team-high 21 times and ran for 83 yards and a touchdown. Oh, and he only attempted one run in the fourth quarter, so he could have bumped his numbers up even more.
Fantasy Impact: The Jets have been bad, are sitting at 0-2, have to play New England away from home, and are barraged by injuries at every position except maybe RB, which won’t help much against Michel. Even with a timeshare as the Patriots’ backfield is going with (it also features James White and Rex Burkhead), Michel is still the team’s RB1. There is no doubt about that. If there is a good play this week that is Michel. New England will run the ball even if they don’t want to. They will put up points without effort and try to run the clock as much as possible to get rid of another week and keep marching on to another playoff run. Expect Michel to rack up points with the only downside of limited playing time if the duties are spread over the different tailbacks if the game gets way too out of hand.