Fantasy focus: What experts say about Sony Michel’s increasing role and injury status

"We could be talking about a top-10 running back for the rest of the season."

Sony Michel against the Colts in Week 5.

With back-to-back strong performances, Patriots rookie Sony Michel is beginning to show exactly why he was worthy of first round selection in the 2018 NFL draft.

His growing role is music to the ears of fantasy football players who have Michel on their team.

Despite the perception of Patriots running backs having lesser fantasy value, ESPN analyst Mike Clay explained why that could be different with Michel and teammate James White in 2018:

I think that was the case already going into last week. Actually, going into two weeks ago, and you saw that kind of reflected in our projections on the site. If you were setting your lineup, you were going to say, “Wow, that’s a high number for a guy that has done nothing so far.” But the fact is, you have a Patriots offense here that over the past decade has running backs that have scored the second most points in the league behind only the Saints. And often times that was three running backs or four running backs. In this case, it’s only two, Sony Michel and James White, so they’re getting massive volume.

Clay’s colleague, Field Yates, offered an intriguing opinion.

“I do think there’s something to be said for if Sony Michel just got a little bit more involved in the passing game, we could be talking about a top-10 running back for the rest of the season,” Yates posited.

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The case for Michel’s growing usage in the Patriots’ offense is tempered by the knowledge of his knee injury concerns. After missing the entire preseason due to the injury, Michel landed on the team’s injury report for the first time since Week 3 on Wednesday.

And while Patriots reporter Kevin Duffy of the Boston Herald noted that the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it’s worth monitoring for those with Michel on their roster.

Should Michel continue to stay healthy, his upside in the offense hasn’t been reached.

“Sony’s a tough kid, runs hard, certainly willing to engage in contact — he was at Georgia — and he’s a tough guy to bring down,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “So his run style fits what we try to do here. I think we’ve seen some decent things from him here in the first few weeks that he’s been up and active, and we’ll continue to try to work hard to get better.”

Bill Belichick recently said that Michel still has “a long way to go.” Yet if the last two games are any indication, Michel’s future is bright both for the Patriots and in the world of fantasy football.

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