Sony Michel, Damien Harris and Rams, Patriots RBs Updated Fantasy Value After Trade

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 25, 2021

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 03: Sony Michel #26 of the New England Patriots has a long gain in the snow against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on January 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Al Pereira/Getty Images

Sony Michel is back on the fantasy football radar after reportedly being traded from the New England Patriots to the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Pats received "two late-round conditional draft picks" in exchange for the 26-year-old running back, who's now worth a late-round flier in fantasy drafts.

The Rams sought additional backfield depth after projected starter Darrell Henderson suffered a thumb injury Monday, though he's expected to return for Week 1.

Michel was a fantasy factor across his first two years with the Patriots. He recorded 1,843 rushing yards with 13 touchdowns across 29 appearances in 2018 and 2019.

The 26-year-old University of Georgia product was limited to nine games last year because of a quadriceps injury, and he lost his role as the Pats' early-down back to Damien Harris, who remained the team's projected backfield starter heading into 2021.

Harris' presence, combined with James White being New England's passing-down back, left Michel with limited fantasy upside before the trade.

His exit doesn't alter the Patriots running backs' outlook too much. Harris remains a No. 2 fantasy back, while White's value is tied closely to PPR leagues.

Rhamondre Stevenson, the team's fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft, also gains more fantasy relevance as a potential late-round stash with Michel out of the picture.

Meanwhile, Henderson becomes an intriguing fantasy target if his stock drops because of the minor injury and the arrival of Michel.

The Mississippi native was a popular prediction as one of the year's breakout fantasy stars, and that's still a definite possibility. If the latest news causes him to drop beyond the third round, he could be a steal.

Michel has far more upside with the Rams since he's a Henderson injury away from potentially seeing upwards of 15 touches a game, but fantasy owners shouldn't go overboard trying to get him following the change of scenery. He's still not a starter-level asset at this stage.

If he's still available as a potential No. 4 or 5 fantasy back, that'll represent solid value and leave some upside should he eventually step into the Rams' starting lineup as part of what's shaping up to become a high-powered attack with quarterback Matthew Stafford now running the offense.

Drafting Michel any higher would create too much risk despite the change of scenery.