• Sony Michel
  • RB
  • , New England Patriots
  • 24
  • 215 lbs
  • 5' 11"
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Scouting report

by Andrew Fleischer

NE RB Sony Michel - Week 9 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 9 at Baltimore Ravens
Sony Michel was presented with a high-scoring opportunity in Week 8 against a Browns defense allowing 26.4 aFPA to running backs, but managed only an RB33 finish. The RB21 through eight games, Michel continues to see heavy volume with 140 total attempts, sixth-most in the NFL. Michel has been one of the least-elusive running backs among all starters, and he continues to be a relative non-factor as a receiver.

The Patriots travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens, and it's not a great spot for Michel. Baltimore has allowed 22.9 aFPA to running backs, ninth-fewest, while they been middle-of-the-road against recievers and quarterbacks, which suggests a pass-heavy approach by New England with more of a reliance on James White and Rex Burkhead. Volume is what makes Michel fantasy-viable and without 20 projected carries or more, Michel becomes more of a touchdown-dependent low-end RB2 for Week 9.

by Andrew Fleischer

NE RB Sony Michel - Week 8 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 8 vs Cleveland Browns
Sony Michel may not have broken rushing efficiency metrics in Week 7 after totaling just 42 rushing yards on 19 carries, but he more than salvaged his fantasy week with three rushing touchdowns and ranked as the week's fantasy RB6. Now the RB16 overall through seven games, Michel's touch rate of 64.5% is the second-highest in the NFL among starting running backs.

Week 8 brings the Cleveland Browns to Foxborough, with a matchup that has Michel's name written all over it. Only two teams have allowed more aFPA to running backs than the Browns, and if the Patriots defense continues to effectively shut down both opposing passing and rushing games, Michel should see plenty of carries in a second-half clock-killing effort. The Patriots run the ball inside the 10-yard line at the 11th-highest rate, and due to their speedy pace of play, that's resulted in 27 rushing attempts inside the ten, tied for the second-most behind Baltimore. Michel continues to lack the receiving upside of a number of running backs ranked ahead of him, making him more of a low-end RB1 option in 0.5 PPR scoring formats.

by Andrew Fleischer

NE RB Sony Michel - Week 7 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 7 at New York Jets
Sony Michel didn't score a touchdown in Week 6 despite two more red zone attempts, and it was the only thing that kept him from finishing as an RB1. Michel led the New England backfield with 50% of the offensive snaps and caught three targets for over 20 yards for the second week in a row to go along with 86 rushing yards. Michel's rushing efficiency hasn't been eye-popping this season, but he continues to receive extremely valuable volume in New England's rushing attack.

The Patriots lost fullback Jakob Johnson to injury during the Giants game and signed tight ends Benjamin Watson and Eric Tomlinson. If both are ready to go come Monday night, Michel and the rest of New England's running back group should benefit. Part of Michel's uninspiring fantasy performance is attributable to poor blocking in front of him, and both tight ends are accomplished blockers. The Jets present a decent run defense, with 23.0 aFPA to running backs that ranks them 13th-best, and that's without standout linebacker C.J. Mosley who's projected to return from injury. Michel should continue to receive enough rushing volume to make him a worthy start, but he's more of a mid-range RB2 than an RB1 this week.

by Andrew Fleischer

NE RB Sony Michel - Week 6 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 6 vs New York Giants
Sony Michel had his best game of the season in Week 5 against Washington, rushing for 91 yards an a touchdown and finishing the week as the RB8. That bumped him up to the RB25 overall in fantasy, but perhaps most encouraging were the three targets that he turned into 32 receiving yards. It may have been a result of Burkhead's absence, but Michel looked comfortable and effective as a receiver, and signs point to Burkhead missing at least one more week.

The New York Giants are exactly middle-of-the-pack in aFPA to running backs, allowing 24.5 per game to the position, 16th-most. Tight end Ryan Izzo and fullback Jakob Johnson showed improvement in their run blocking in Week 4, while the Patriots offensive line has continued to struggle to block for New England's running backs. Vegas gives the Patriots 31 implied points, which should mean plenty of snaps in the opponent's end zone, where Michel has the second-most attempts among all running backs at 16. With a game script that projects to favor the passing game, temper your expectations a bit for Michel, who should be more of a low-end RB1 for the week.

by Andrew Fleischer

NE RB Sony Michel - Week 5 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 5 at Washington Redskins
Sony Michel parlayed an uninspiring 6.4 fantasy points into a Week 4 RB44 finish, leaving him as the RB38 through four games. Michel lined up for 45% of New England's offensive snaps, while teammate James White saw 52% of the snaps. Michel was never projected as a target-hog with White, Burkhead, and Harris sharing the backfield, but a single target over four games is concerning for Michel's season-long value. Losing one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the league in Rob Gronkowski, and then missing either one or both of your starting tackles in each game due to injury is definitely not ideal either.

The Patriots face a Washington defense in Week 5 that has allowed the 16th-most aFPA to running backs, about as neutral as a matchup can get. The Patriots do get tight end Benjamin Watson back from his four-game suspension, which should aid the Patriots' run-blocking, and any further development of fullback Jakob Johnson should also help. Michel only saw 45% of the Patriots' offensive snaps last week but dominated touches with 17 to James White's 11. Michel will need to see a larger snap share to be a safe start because his efficiency has been awful. He's at best a low-end RB2 in Week 5.

**UPDATE 10/5 @ 12:00pm: Ben Watson did not make the trip to Washington, which lowers Michel's upside slightly, though he's still an RB2 start.**

by Andrew Fleischer

NE RB Sony Michel - Week 4 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 4 at Buffalo Bills
Sony Michel is fantasy's RB41 through Week 3, and if you drafted him, you weren't hoping he'd struggle to be an RB3 for your team. With both starting tackles missing for the first two weeks, left tackle Isaiah Wynn out until Week 11, and the recent loss off fullback James Develin to IR, New England's run game has been uncharacteristically ineffective. The Patriots have the 13th-fewest total rushing yards despite running the ball on a ninth-highest 44% of their plays, after a 2018 season that saw them finish fifth in the league in rushing yardage.

Fortunately, Week 4 could be a get-right game for the Patriots rushing offense and Sony Michel. Buffalo has given up the seventh-most schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to running backs, and if the Patriots identify this as a defensive weakness, they'll tailor their offense to attack it. New England's Week 1 gameplan leaned slightly more on the pass (47% of plays), Week 2 was extremely run-heavy (54%), and Week 3 was extremely pass-heavy (63%) and Michel's weekly snap counts reflect this; he played for 33% of the total snaps in Week 1, 49% in Week 2, and 22% in Week 3. If second-string fullback Jakob Johnson can step up, expect heavy usage for Michel.

by Andrew Fleischer

NE RB Sony Michel - Week 3 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 3 vs New York Jets
Those counting on Sony Michel to be their RB1 have to be disappointed in the early returns. Michel stands as the RB39, and his expected usage in the passing game simply hasn't come to fruition. The high-scoring New England offense gives Michel legitimate touchdown opportunity, but while he leads Patriots running backs in offensive snap share at 49%, his 0.24 PPR points per snap are nearly half of Burkhead & White's 0.46.

The Patriots play the Jets in Week 3, and despite Vegas giving the Patriots an implied team total of 33 points, this isn't a cake matchup for Michel. The Patriots are potentially without both starting tackles, and while the Jets have allowed an 11th-fewest 106 rushing yards through two games, they've allowed the ninth-most receiving yards to running backs at 115 yards. Michel's lack of involvement in the passing game could equate to more usage of James White and Rex Burkhead. Michel will still get his red zone opportunities, but he'll need to markedly improve his rushing efficiency to rise above RB2 status.

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