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Dynasty & Redraft: RB Sony Michel, Patriots


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Sony Michel rolled to 85 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries Sunday in the Patriots’ Week 2 win at Miami.

As usual, Michel was not targeted in the passing game. The Pats came. They saw. They conquered. Coming off a sluggish opener Sunday night (14 yards on 15 carries in a win over Pittsburgh), Michel bounced back with an emphatic Week 2, carrying the mail for New England in a game where the Pats essentially did whatever they wanted. Michel punctuated the Patriots’ opening drive by punching in a goal-line touchdown and almost found pay-dirt again in the third quarter but was marked down inches short of the end zone (Bill Belichick challenged the spot but it was upheld on review). Michel did have one slip-up, coughing up the ball for New England’s only turnover of the afternoon. The Pats have barely broken a sweat while outscoring their opponents 76-3 over the first two weeks. Twenty years into their dynasty, the Patriots remain a juggernaut on both sides of the ball. They’ll host the Jets in Foxboro next Sunday.

Sep 15, 2019, 4:44 PM ET

 

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If  NE's RB usage patterns give you pause something to consider, not a decision maker as there is a lot to consider here but a reason why I think this is a good landing spot for Michel and not worried

Just heard a 15 minute discussion about this exact issue on the radio. Last year, when Michel was in the game he got the ball 85% of the time. Because of that, teams have been playing 8 in the box. As

Let’s not exaggerate. It’s only been 22. 

1 hour ago, shadyridr said:

Hes dreadful. From playoff hero to afterthought. Bizarre

It makes perfect sense. If you’ve watched the NE games it’s pretty clear it’s not his fault. He gets hit some plays one step after getting the handoff. Last year, NE used Gronk and Allen as jumbo TE’s and Devlin as a FB. That’s 8 guys blocking. 

They have no healthy TE’s, Devlin has been hurt, and the OL is a patchwork quilt at the moment. That’s 5 guys blocking. Until those three things change, Michel is going to go nowhere fast. 

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1 hour ago, Anarchy99 said:

It makes perfect sense. If you’ve watched the NE games it’s pretty clear it’s not his fault. He gets hit some plays one step after getting the handoff. Last year, NE used Gronk and Allen as jumbo TE’s and Devlin as a FB. That’s 8 guys blocking. 

They have no healthy TE’s, Devlin has been hurt, and the OL is a patchwork quilt at the moment. That’s 5 guys blocking. Until those three things change, Michel is going to go nowhere fast. 

Yet Rex Burkhead has no issues

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Sony Michel tallied 11 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries Sunday in the Patriots’ Week 3 victory over the Jets.

He came up empty on his lone target. Michel capped the Patriots' opening drive with a five-yard touchdown before spending the rest of the afternoon in witness protection. He was both out-touched and out-gained by Rex Burkhead, who has been the superior back all season. The 2018 first-rounder hasn't looked up to the task this year, plodding to just 2.4 yards per carry through three contests. We know he has it in him—Michel set a rookie record with six postseason scores including the only touchdown of Super Bowl LIII. He'll look to turn the page next week when the Patriots visit the Bills in Orchard Park.

Sep 22, 2019, 4:33 PM ET

 

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1 minute ago, Statorama said:

It's the worst kind of FF situation to have.  A guy that's too good to cut, playing too poorly to start, that is essentially untradeable.

This was my 2.11 over a few names I don't even want to type.

Oof. Needless to say, I'm 1-2 and will be looking at 1-3 next week.

Bad draft, bad idea.

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I started him yesterday because theory’s that he has a shot at 2 TDS and maybe 3 in any Pats blowout. Brady did throw to him at the goal line but it was knocked down. BB yanked him next play and Rex went in instead.

I do think Devlin is a damn good FB and his loss clips the run game in general.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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17 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

I started him yesterday because theory’s that he has a shot at 2 TDS and maybe 3 in any Pats blowout. Brady did throw to him at the goal line but it was knocked down. BB yanked him next play and Rex went in instead.

I do think Devlin is a damn good FB and his loss clips the run game in general.

Develin placed on IR. 

Edited by Anarchy99
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On 9/22/2019 at 9:36 PM, shadyridr said:

Yet Rex Burkhead has no issues

Just heard a 15 minute discussion about this exact issue on the radio. Last year, when Michel was in the game he got the ball 85% of the time. Because of that, teams have been playing 8 in the box. As already discussed, NE OL has injury issues, they have no TEs, and their FB is on IR. 

With Michel in the game, teams have been run blitzing a lot since he does not catch the ball. The Pats have used Michel as a sacrificial lamb, as they have continued to run him with little payoff RUNNING the ball. HOWEVER, they have dropped his run rate from 85% to 60% when he is in the game. Instead, they have been running play action which has been LETHAL. 

They reviewed some of the big plays NE has had and Dorsett is the primary beneficiary. When Michel is in the game, Dorsett has been getting a free run off the line and very weak coverage. 

If we have learned anything over the years, it’s that BB doesn’t care about your fantasy team. So while we think OMG what’s wrong with Michel!, BB is thinking the offense has been racking a ton of big plays on offense. 

As for the question on why Burkhead is doing so much better, he is getting carries against nickel coverage with only 5 or 6 guys in the box. He also is a chess piece that has lined up out wide, in the slot, in the backfield, and has gone in motion. He poses matchup problems for defenses as they can’t key in on the play call before the ball is snapped. His runs typically go much better because there are fewer defenders, there are smaller players supporting the line, and when the ball is snapped they are initially dropping into coverage and start going backwards. With Michel, the defense is all surging forward as soon as the ball is snapped. 

That’s the X’s and O’s explanation of what is going on. If you believe Michel actually worked a lot in training camp on receiving, NE will start using him more as a receiver. But BB has excelled at adding new looks as the season goes on. If they are winning by 20 points a game, I would expect he won’t make a ton of changes to the offense until opponents start scheming to stop what has been effective so far. 

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11 minutes ago, Anarchy99 said:

Just heard a 15 minute discussion about this exact issue on the radio. Last year, when Michel was in the game he got the ball 85% of the time. Because of that, teams have been playing 8 in the box. As already discussed, NE OL has injury issues, they have no TEs, and their FB is on IR. 

With Michel in the game, teams have been run blitzing a lot since he does not catch the ball. The Pats have used Michel as a sacrificial lamb, as they have continued to run him with little payoff RUNNING the ball. HOWEVER, they have dropped his run rate from 85% to 60% when he is in the game. Instead, they have been running play action which has been LETHAL. 

They reviewed some of the big plays NE has had and Dorsett is the primary beneficiary. When Michel is in the game, Dorsett has been getting a free run off the line and very weak coverage. 

If we have learned anything over the years, it’s that BB doesn’t care about your fantasy team. So while we think OMG what’s wrong with Michel!, BB is thinking the offense has been racking a ton of big plays on offense. 

As for the question on why Burkhead is doing so much better, he is getting carries against nickel coverage with only 5 or 6 guys in the box. He also is a chess piece that has lined up out wide, in the slot, in the backfield, and has gone in motion. He poses matchup problems for defenses as they can’t key in on the play call before the ball is snapped. His runs typically go much better because there are fewer defenders, there are smaller players supporting the line, and when the ball is snapped they are initially dropping into coverage and start going backwards. With Michel, the defense is all surging forward as soon as the ball is snapped. 

That’s the X’s and O’s explanation of what is going on. If you believe Michel actually worked a lot in training camp on receiving, NE will start using him more as a receiver. But BB has excelled at adding new looks as the season goes on. If they are winning by 20 points a game, I would expect he won’t make a ton of changes to the offense until opponents start scheming to stop what has been effective so far. 

So youre saying one guys causes matchup problems and the other guy doesn't. Isnt that an indictment on Michel even moreso?

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6 minutes ago, shadyridr said:

So youre saying one guys causes matchup problems and the other guy doesn't. Isnt that an indictment on Michel even moreso?

You are thinking like a fantasy football owner not an NFL coach. If NE gets 1 yard rushing, 2 yards rushing, and then a 40 yard passing TD, that is way better than three 5 yard runs. Plays don't always have to do much to set up other plays. That's what they have been doing (and winning their games going away).

I switched over to the other sports talk radio station and they posed the same question . . . what's wrong with the Patriots running game? To layer on to what I just posted, NE's offensive tackles last year were oversized and athletic. They also had Gronk and Allen and often faced smaller defenders. So at the end of the season last year, they basically decided to just push people around to get to the SB. They don't have the personnel to do that this year.

This time around, their two replacement tackles are smaller and slower. They have been using Izzo at TE, who has shown he is too small and not strong enough to move people around. Gronk was essentially an All Pro blocker last year. Also, their 3 replacement lineman are not strong enough, big enough, or fast enough to run the same running plays they ran last year. So they are having to figure out what running plays they can use in running situation that will work on the schemes I already mentioned. The running game will improve some with Cannon getting healthier, Watson coming back in another week, and when Wynn gets back on the field in November.

In the meantime, McDaniels keeps trying different things to figure out what works and what does, and to scheme what this version of the team is best at. Remember that most years the Patriots typically get off to slow starts and the running attack falls into that category of a work in progress.

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10 minutes ago, Don Hutson said:

Damien Harris seems like the perfect solution.  He has rushing and receiving skills.  Burkhead isn't a lead back.  Belichick has given both Burkhead and Bolden games as lead back.  It's probably a reward for hard work.  But it never lasts.

Harris was also brought up, and the narrative that he is a do it all back was partly overstated. He had 52 receptions in 54 games at Alabama. In the discussion on the radio, while he showed some signs of being able to catch the ball in the preseason, they mentioned it was against defenders that aren't even in the league and were training camp bodies. 

He hasn't played offensively so far, and who knows why. They speculated that it had to do with Michel / Burkhead / White / Bolden being active so they don't need him. But it could be he hasn't been great at blitz pick up or grasping the system / playbook. To be clear, no one is saying he has those issues, but those are things that could be contributing factors. For now, it seems like he is little more than a depth piece that they have around in case they need him.

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1 hour ago, shadyridr said:

So youre saying one guys causes matchup problems and the other guy doesn't. Isnt that an indictment on Michel even moreso?

Burkhead has had 10 or more carries 7 times in 26 games played with NE. I don't see a situation in NE short of multiple injuries to other backs where Burkhead becomes their primary runner. He has had 4 games in that time with 5 receptions. So he probably won't be a target monster as a receiver either. And IMO he carries a higher injury risk than most backs. IMO, NE likes him as a jack of all trades back with limited usage. Certainly they could change how they use him, but they haven't given him a much bigger workload up until this point. He may have more value as a receiving back if Edelman / Gordon / Dorsett / White were out. His fantasy value has been pretty TD dependent (13 TD's in those 27 games). Certainly if he keeps getting a dozen touches and gets in the end zone he would make for a decent fantasy flex play, maybe even a RB2 play.

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1 hour ago, Anarchy99 said:

He hasn't played offensively so far, and who knows why. They speculated that it had to do with Michel / Burkhead / White / Bolden being active so they don't need him.

Burkhead and Bolden are important special teams players.  White is the passing back.  They aren't going to have 5 running backs active to it's either Harris or Michel.  If Harris overtakes Michel, Michel will not be active.

1 hour ago, Anarchy99 said:

Harris was also brought up, and the narrative that he is a do it all back was partly overstated. He had 52 receptions in 54 games at Alabama. In the discussion on the radio, while he showed some signs of being able to catch the ball in the preseason, they mentioned it was against defenders that aren't even in the league and were training camp bodies. 

College running backs aren't usually used much as receivers.  This is especially true in big time programs where teams can run the ball dominantly.  Why pass the ball when you can hand it off and your running back will get 5-7 yards.  Only 1 Alabama running back has had 30 receptions in the last 20 years.  Mark Ingram had 32 receptions in 2009.  Ingram also had 271 carries.  Since Harris only had 150 carries last year, his 22 receptions would actually be higher usage as a receiver than Ingram on a per snap basis.

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3 minutes ago, Don Hutson said:

Burkhead and Bolden are important special teams players.  White is the passing back.  They aren't going to have 5 running backs active to it's either Harris or Michel.  If Harris overtakes Michel, Michel will not be active.

College running backs aren't usually used much as receivers.  This is especially true in big time programs where teams can run the ball dominantly.  Why pass the ball when you can hand it off and your running back will get 5-7 yards.  Only 1 Alabama running back has had 30 receptions in the last 20 years.  Mark Ingram had 32 receptions in 2009.  Ingram also had 271 carries.  Since Harris only had 150 carries last year, his 22 receptions would actually be higher usage as a receiver than Ingram on a per snap basis.

As a comparison, Michel had 64 catches in his time at Georgia and the Pats appear frightened to try to throw him the ball. Unless Michel gets hurt, I doubt they would have Harris active over Michel.IMO, if Harris were killing it in practice he would have been active each week and contributing on offense. With White out this past week, Harris was active for the first time and only played special teams. Remember, Michel missed a lot of time after his surgery, so Harris had even more opportunity to shine with Michel on the sidelines. I wouldn't say that NE is totally pot committed on Michel but I think it's probably close. If Michel were out, I think it would be a full bore RBBC with White, Burkhead, Harris, and Bolden all in the mix.

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1 hour ago, Anarchy99 said:

As a comparison, Michel had 64 catches in his time at Georgia and the Pats appear frightened to try to throw him the ball. Unless Michel gets hurt, I doubt they would have Harris active over Michel.IMO, if Harris were killing it in practice he would have been active each week and contributing on offense. With White out this past week, Harris was active for the first time and only played special teams. Remember, Michel missed a lot of time after his surgery, so Harris had even more opportunity to shine with Michel on the sidelines. I wouldn't say that NE is totally pot committed on Michel but I think it's probably close. If Michel were out, I think it would be a full bore RBBC with White, Burkhead, Harris, and Bolden all in the mix.

Belichick is never pot committed.  Belichick generally hasn't used a RBBC.  Harris could become lead back at any time and there will likely be no forewarning.  Burkhead and Bolden are not lead back material and Sony will not be lead back much longer if he continues to average 2.4 ypc.

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5 hours ago, Anarchy99 said:

As a comparison, Michel had 64 catches in his time at Georgia and the Pats appear frightened to try to throw him the ball. Unless Michel gets hurt, I doubt they would have Harris active over Michel.IMO, if Harris were killing it in practice he would have been active each week and contributing on offense. With White out this past week, Harris was active for the first time and only played special teams. Remember, Michel missed a lot of time after his surgery, so Harris had even more opportunity to shine with Michel on the sidelines. I wouldn't say that NE is totally pot committed on Michel but I think it's probably close. If Michel were out, I think it would be a full bore RBBC with White, Burkhead, Harris, and Bolden all in the mix.

I remember Michel being a very effective receiver at Georgia. Belichick does him a great injustice by never using him in the passing game.  "#26 is in.  It's a run. ".  No wonder his ypc is low. 

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52 minutes ago, JuniorNB said:

I remember Michel being a very effective receiver at Georgia. Belichick does him a great injustice by never using him in the passing game.  "#26 is in.  It's a run. ".  No wonder his ypc is low. 

This times 1,000. I owned Sony last year too and watching the games was very frustrating at times. I was pretty high in Sony again this year due to the hype that he was gonna start catching balls, so far only one target through three games. Ridiculous. 

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maybe it's not sony michel as much as it is a poor run blocking offensive line,or, more than likely , McDaniels making opposing teams see their new look pass attack on film, so defenses over-commit to stopping it, and the Michel runs wild in later weeks.seems to be that they've obnoxiously tried to show the NFL that 'reports of our pass attack demise without Gronk are greatly exaggerated'. and if the first 4 weeks of any Pats season going back the past 10 years or so, they seem to get things figured out by week 5. they now have the pass game sorted it, I would expect to start seeing heavy doses of Michel within a couple weeks.

 

 

 

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ESPN's Mike Reiss wouldn't be surprised if the Patriots "feed" Sony Michel touches in Week 4 against Buffalo.

Michel has got off to a slow starting, getting held under 20 rushing yards in two of the first three games. He was out-touched by Rex Burkhead last week, but the Patriots remain committed to him as their feature back. Playing in Buffalo against a top-10 run defense isn't a great spot for Michel, but he should see an increased workload in what projects as a positive gamescript.

SOURCE: ESPN

Sep 28, 2019, 12:02 PM ET

 

I provided the link but the majority of the content is ESPN Insider material including the Sony Michel discussion.

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I can't believe I signed up for this rotating committee in Rd. Two.  The situation, as always, remains the same. NE feature backs are high risk/low reward guys, and that's not a good combination.

They're more predictable than people think, but they're very difficult to start on a FF team. Shanahan is a dirty term in the fantasy community, Belicheck should be akin to Yahweh. 

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19 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I can't believe I signed up for this rotating committee in Rd. Two.  The situation, as always, remains the same. NE feature backs are high risk/low reward guys, and that's not a good combination.

They're more predictable than people think, but they're very difficult to start on a FF team. Shanahan is a dirty term in the fantasy community, Belicheck should be akin to Yahweh. 

BB doesn’t care about your fantasy team. And shame on you for not understanding what you were getting Into. At best Michel was a TD dependent two down back that doesn’t catch passes. We knew they had a lot of RBs and no TEs. None of that suggests Michel should have been a fantasy second round pick. That’s on on. Yes, given all that, Michel has been a disappointment but he still has competition for touches and won’t catch passes. 

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10 minutes ago, Anarchy99 said:

BB doesn’t care about your fantasy team. And shame on you for not understanding what you were getting Into. At best Michel was a TD dependent two down back that doesn’t catch passes. We knew they had a lot of RBs and no TEs. None of that suggests Michel should have been a fantasy second round pick. That’s on on. Yes, given all that, Michel has been a disappointment but he still has competition for touches and won’t catch passes. 

Hey now, I went by consensus rankings and BPA at the back end of the second. Okay, I bypassed a few -- let's not lie. He was RB15 about everywhere. But I was also relying on reports from within the organization that this year would see a heavy reliance on Michel. And those weren't wrong. He's gotten his work but to no avail, and BB is gonna run the plays that work. As for the line -- the line was fine going into the year -- we knew Watson was suspended, but didn't know about Develin, Winn, Andrews, and Cannon. We drafted before that. Shame on me? Shame on injuries and the lack of even a backup TE that can block (which I just assumed could be found on a lot of D-1 collegiate practice fields), I say. :)

And as for the aside, I fully know Belichick doesn't care about our fantasy teams. He cares about Ws. I respect that. I know what's what in the world. These are all individualized prop bets aggregated and summed, really. I'm well aware. 

Just would be nice to be able to start this guy, and I think I would, but for his ineffectiveness, really.

Edited by rockaction
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27 minutes ago, Anarchy99 said:

Michel had an ADP over the summer at MFL of 48th overall. The only draft I took him in was the week before the season started and I took him 49th. He didn’t go in the second round in any league I was a part of. 

He was RB15 in the rankings for my league when we drafted per FBG customized cheat sheet. 4for4 and others like PFF had him around that range for RBs. I drafted him about 12th or 13th. I go RB heavy in this league, as my cheat sheet would have you know, because it's important. This is not a 3WR league nor PPR.

AND THE WEBSITE HERE STILL HAS HIM AT RB14 overall at 29th overall in the top 300, non-PPR, according to Dodds.

Did I reach? Yes, but not really.

Edit: The last time that was updated was September 1, which is especially important -- you get the picture -- because he was going that high around the time of our draft.

Edited by rockaction
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Just now, John Paul said:

Traded Corey Davis for him this week. Neither have done anything so far. Hoping for better production in the coming weeks.

Wow, everyone is scraping the bottom with those guys, huh? Corey Davis is good, he's just in a terrible situtation.

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45 minutes ago, rockaction said:

He was RB15 in the rankings for my league when we drafted per FBG customized cheat sheet. 4for4 and others like PFF had him around that range for RBs. I drafted him about 12th or 13th. I go RB heavy in this league, as my cheat sheet would have you know, because it's important. This is not a 3WR league nor PPR.

AND THE WEBSITE HERE STILL HAS HIM AT RB14 overall at 29th overall in the top 300, non-PPR, according to Dodds.

Did I reach? Yes, but not really.

Edit: The last time that was updated was September 1, which is especially important -- you get the picture -- because he was going that high around the time of our draft.

Agreed. Most sites still have him in the RB 15-20 range ROS... closer to 15 in standard, closer to 20 in PPR. He has simply under-performed so far and looked bad doing it.

Those that say this is BB being BB based on his history w/ RBs are just full of it. As soon as Michel was healthy last season he started carrying the load on a weekly basis. He got nicked up up mid season and dropped off, but came back down the stretch and got right back to that 15-20 carries/game range. Strong play-off performance as well. Started out the same in 2019 as far as touches, but looks like a totally different back this season.

Now if some were expecting 20-30 carries/game based on script... then I would agree expectations were too high.

Let's see how it all unfolds when the bullets start flying. The Pats have yet to be challenged... just playing out scrimmages so far in 2019.

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Michel averaged 16 carries and less than half a reception a game last year, when he ranked 23rd in ppg among RB's. NE really didn't make up for the loss of Gronk, Allen, and OT Brown in the off season. They had Wynn coming off a season long injury to take over at LT. Maybe people's eyes lit up after seeing Michel score 6 TD's in 3 playoff games. But NE still had White (who ranked higher than Michel last year in any format), Burkhead, and they drafted another RB.

If I still worked at FBG, Michel would have been way down in my preseason rankings compared to others. I provided that opinion in the Shark Pool, but I guess that apparently was a minority opinion. I think I projected him at 250 carries and around a 4.0 ypc for 1000/8 with no real receiving numbers to speak of. I didn't really pay attention . . . what were people expecting / projecting him at to be ranked as the 15th RB?

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7 minutes ago, ericttspikes said:

A slightly lesser version than 2016 Blount? Seemed doable.

Blount only had so many carries that season because Lewis got hurt. And the crazy number of TD's Blount scored that year was just that . . . a crazy number. This season, NE already had Michel, White, and Burkhead and then brought back Bolden and drafted Harris. Michel had knee problems in college, knee problems in the preseason last year, and knee problems in camp this year. That should have been enough for people to take pause . . . but apparently not.

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47 minutes ago, Anarchy99 said:

 . . . what were people expecting / projecting him at to be ranked as the 15th RB?

Not sure what "people" were expecting, but I was expecting 17-18 touches/game and a better than average shot at scoring every week. I didn't feel like averaging a TD/game would be out of the question. IMO his TD potential is what drove his ranking (still does).

It's all fine. We have this under/over performance across the board most every year. Long way to go yet.

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1 hour ago, Anarchy99 said:

Blount only had so many carries that season because Lewis got hurt. And the crazy number of TD's Blount scored that year was just that . . . a crazy number. This season, NE already had Michel, White, and Burkhead and then brought back Bolden and drafted Harris. Michel had knee problems in college, knee problems in the preseason last year, and knee problems in camp this year. That should have been enough for people to take pause . . . but apparently not.

Heh. I don't want to make this too much about my team or anything. I did have pause, just decided the risk was worth it. I could have risked Henry's usage and effectiveness in that range, or Tevin Coleman's inevitable RBBC with Breida (which I knew from experience), or Fournette, and I went with Michel. I'm not really lamenting too greatly. I knew the risk. I know the players and their drawbacks. It was a mere vent up there. But que sera sera. He might make a nice little comeback and rush for significant yards and be a wonderfully TD-dependent RB2 like at the end of the year and the playoffs last year. Who knows?

Back to Michel. 

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1 hour ago, Anarchy99 said:

Blount only had so many carries that season because Lewis got hurt. And the crazy number of TD's Blount scored that year was just that . . . a crazy number. This season, NE already had Michel, White, and Burkhead and then brought back Bolden and drafted Harris. Michel had knee problems in college, knee problems in the preseason last year, and knee problems in camp this year. That should have been enough for people to take pause . . . but apparently not.

Based on the playoffs & Super Bowl it appeared that NE was going to be a running team & play defense.   That's why Tom Brady was about the 16th ranked QB-maybe worse- in preseason ratings.   So far Brady is what, top 3??  Anyway I've got Michel in one league(PPR) and so far has not worked out at all.  We miss in fantasy more than we hit-this appears to be a pretty big miss.  You were right on this one, the vast majority was wrong.  [shrug]

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