Like most NFL teams heading into 2020, the New England Patriots typically utilize a committee approach when it comes to their running backs. New England will go into Week 1 with the backfield consisting of Sony Michel, James White and Rex Burkhead. All are likely to see the field in some capacity on Sunday. Looking ahead to the rest of the regular season, Damien Harris will likely see plenty of action when he returns from an injury suffered during training camp.
Fantasy Football analysis: New England Patriots, RB, Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead
Michel dominated the number of carries with 247 rushes for 912 yards last season. He also scored seven touchdowns, but it’s certainly possible the addition of Cam Newton could take away scoring opportunities for Michel with Newton’s ability at the goal line.
White is likely going to be the most valuable member of the running back group with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He ranked second among all Patriots in receptions (72), receiving yards (645) and touchdown receptions (5). What will the Cam Newton-for-Tom Brady swap do for White’s receiving totals? That will be a big question and may determine how well he performs from a fantasy perspective.
As for Burkhead, the volume of targets and carries he receives are likely too low for him to be given much fantasy relevance. He’s a player who is likely more valuable for his NFL team than he is for his fantasy owners.
It’s going to be difficult to predict the Patriots’ running back room, especially in Week 1 with a new quarterback.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
White can be used as a low-end second running back in standard leagues with Michel potentially looked at as a flex option. Leave Burkhead on the bench in all but the deepest of leagues.