Sony Michel entered Wednesday as a fantasy football afterthought on the New England Patriots. Could that change following his trade to the Los Angeles Rams?
The Rams needed running back reinforcements after losing Cam Akers to a season-ending Achilles injury. While Darrell Henderson was expected to be the lead rusher ahead of backup Xavier Jones, Wednesday's trade for Michel proved they weren't comfortable with Henderson being the lone workhorse.
So, what does this Patriots-Rams trade mean for the fantasy football value of Michel and Henderson, and how does it impact the Patriots' running back group? Let's go player-by-player.
This trade can only help Michel's fantasy stock. ESPN's Adam Schefter said Wednesday morning he expects Michel to be the lead back over Henderson, while colleague Mike Clay projects the 26-year-old to outpace Henderson in the rushing attack.
Don't get too bullish on Michel, though. Henderson is still the better option in the passing game, and the two could see a relatively equal timeshare in an offense that may scale back the running game with new quarterback Matthew Stafford under center.
We had Michel outside the top 50 running backs in our fantasy football position rankings prior to Wednesday, and he bumps up to No. 50 as an RB3/RB4 with some upside.
Tough development for fantasy footballers who already drafted and took Henderson. Instead of being the No. 1 back in a potentially explosive offense, Henderson now has to split reps with Michel and may be more of a pass-catching/change-of-pace option.
That said, Henderson is still the better fantasy option in the Rams' backfield. He should see more work in the passing game as Stafford's preferred checkdown target, and Michel comes with an injury history that could vault Henderson back to his original position.
We're downgrading Henderson from RB26 in our rankings to RB34. He's still worth drafting as an RB2/RB3, especially given Michel's injury concerns.
Michel's departure doesn't impact Harris too much. The Alabama product already was the Patriots' lead back entering this season, and the 79 carries Michel saw last season likely will get split up between young rushers J.J. Taylor and Rhamondre Stevenson.
Wednesday's trade does signal the Patriots' confidence in Harris, though, and should make fantasy football managers confident in drafting him in the middle rounds as an RB2.
J.J. Taylor and Rhamondre Stevenson
Should you draft either of these players? No. But keep them on your radar. Both Taylor -- a shifty second-year back out of Arizona -- and Stevenson -- a bruising rookie out of Oklahoma -- have impressed during training camp and preseason to the point where Michel became expendable.
If Harris or James White goes down with an injury, these two are worth monitoring on the waiver wire.