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Is Damien Harris or Rhamondre Stevenson RB1 For New England Patriots? Who Should You Draft In Fantasy?

It is tough to heed “coach speak” any time of the year, particularly this time of the season. However, Sports Illustrated’s Al Breer is reporting that the Patriots are listening to trade offers for Damien Harris.

Harris is in a contract year with the Patriots. The Patriots have not only Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson on the roster but also Ty Montgomery, JJ Taylor, Pierre Strong, and Kevin Harris on the roster.

So who will be the top back for the Patriots? Let's dive in!

 

Who's Going to Start For New England?

Last season Stevenson had a 33.2% snap share and 133 rushing attempts, 26 red zone touches, culminating in 605 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games. Stevenson also averaged 4.5 yards per carry.

Harris played in 15 games and was on the field for a 42.9% snap share. He had 202 rushing attempts, 46 red zone targets, and finished with 15 touchdowns while averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Harris had the second most carries inside the 10-yard line, and he led in fantasy points per snap.

But we all know that Belichick does not care about our fantasy teams. And the Patriots are notorious for the running-back-by-committee approach. The Patriots drafted two running backs in this year’s draft class, and James White unexpectedly retired. It is still the Harris-Stevenson show (unless the rumors are true).

 

Will There Be A Committee In The New England Backfield?

Stevenson had 133 carries last season as a rookie. The last Patriots’ first-rounder to see that ball that much was Sony Michel in 2018. There is reason to believe that Stevenson is making himself valuable in New England.

Last season the Patriots had the second most rushing touchdowns and the eighth-highest run play percentage at 45.73%. It also had long-time offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels calling plays. During preseason game one, the duties were split between Matt Patricia and Joe Judge. Just another wrinkle. Harris missed three games last season with an injury. Stevenson was benched three games after the fumble in his first game.

For all the good, remember that 69% of Stevenson’s rushing yards were in five games. He only scored a touchdown in three of those games. Harris is the number one option in redraft leagues, with Stevenson close behind. Very close because: a) Belichick hates your fantasy team and will employ a running-back-by-committee; b) the Patriots appear to be moving to a gap scheme that favors Stevenson’s innate abilities over Harris’s.



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