When we talk about ideal game-script for running backs, we’re usually discussing RBs that have the benefit of inhabiting offensive systems that produce a lot of red zone scoring drives and, as such, tend to play with the lead. By using only those two qualifications, you might assume that no running back in the NFL has a cushier gig than Sony Michel; however, while that might be the case, the sophomore is certainly not meeting expectations. Despite rushing for 83 yards and a touchdown in a Week 2 meeting with the lowly Dolphins — the best matchup an RB can draw in 2019 — Michel’s averaged just 2.4 yards per carry and 7.3 DKFP per game so far this season. He’s been a massive disappointment and there’s just no reason to think he turns it all around against Buffalo.
Though the Bills’ primary calling card has been their stout pass defense the past couple of years, it’s not as if running backs have been exploiting the unit with any modicum of consistency. In fact, dating back to the beginning of 2018, Buffalo has surrendered only three 100-yard rushers. Instead, the few RBs that have had success against the Bills have tended to do so in the air. Buffalo actually allowed a league-high 27% target rate to opposing backfields last year, with the 7.9 raw targets per game they surrendered sitting as the sixth-most in football. However, that’s not Michel’s area of expertise. Far from it, as the former Bulldog has managed only a single opportunity in the passing game through three weeks of action. Basically, unless Michel scores two touchdowns in a PPR, he’s useless at his current level of production.
Fantasy Impact: Among the 41 running backs who had at least 20 carries to their name entering Week 4, Michel’s 0.51 PPR fantasy points per touch stands as the lowest output of the group. This isn’t someone who’s lacking for high-leverage opportunities, either. New England is averaging 4.3 touchdowns per contest and has run the third-most plays in the red zone of any team in the league (36). No, Michel’s simply one of the least efficient fantasy assets we have in football. I can see needing to start him as a FLEX in deeper standard formats, but he’s should be riding the pine in all other settings.