You have to wake up early on the west coast if you want to do business with Bill Belichick, and that is exactly what the Los Angeles Rams did. For a fifth and sixth-round pick in next year’s draft, the Rams were able to pull off a Sony Michel trade, further simplifying the New England Patriots backfield for fantasy football, but complicating their own.
The Sony Michel trade has a direct impact on the fantasy football values of Darrell Henderson and Damien Harris, as well as a few of the backups on each team. Let’s take a look at how things now stand.
Sony Michel Trade Impacts the Darrell Henderson Fantasy Outlook
Earlier this offseason, second-year breakout candidate Cam Akers ended up tearing his Achilles, ending his season before it could even begin. This injury thrust Darrell Henderson into the starting role for the Rams. While many, including us at FlurrySports, have been saying the Rams would add someone else to this backfield, a trade with the Patriots was not expected.
Henderson stands at 5-8 and barely over 200 pounds. There was no way he could be a bell cow RB for the Rams. This is why Xavier Jones was an interesting player for fantasy football, and Sean McVay praised him on more than one occasion.
However, due to the Michel trade, Jones should not be touched for fantasy football. The Darrell Henderson fantasy value drops from being an RB2 to being more of a flex play. As for Michel, he shouldn’t be disrespected as much as he is. He was a first-round pick in 2018 for a reason. While I wouldn’t want him being a vital part of my fantasy team, projecting him as an RB4, due to being inconsistent week-to-week, feels about right. I like him more in best ball leagues.
Damien Harris Fantasy Value Update
As for the Damien Harris fantasy value update, nothing changes much for me. However, many others in the fantasy football industry will be bumping him up. I’ve been on record in more than one place of saying Harris is the clearest starting running back the Patriots have had in a long time. Michel was never going to push him for that spot. Rookie Rhamondre Stevenson has looked good in the preseason, but it still takes a lot for a rookie running back to have a significant role for the Patriots, and he will still be on a short leash.
Instead, it looks like the Damien Harris and James White show in New England. Harris will get all of the early-down work while White is the passing-down guy. Both will also be used in the red zone, depending on if the Patriots are looking to stretch the defense or go straight at them.
In terms of fantasy football, I feel comfortable with Harris being my RB2, though I have been getting him as my third or fourth RB in most leagues. White is still only a low-end flex in PPR leagues, though he will have value. Stevenson will be inconsistent, so he shouldn’t be owned in anything other than dynasty or as a handcuff to Harris in deeper leagues.
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