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Fantasy Alert: Patriots May Lean on Pierre Strong Jr. to Replace Injured James White

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 24, 2022

Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

South Dakota State's John Stiegelmeier, the former head coach of New England Patriots running back Pierre Strong Jr., believes the rookie fourth-round selection could fit in nicely for James White as the team's pass-catching option out of the backfield.

"I've had a number of people who follow the Patriots say Pierre is a perfect fit for their philosophy in terms of using running backs," he told ESPN's Mike Reiss.

For fantasy football players, that makes Strong a player worth monitoring, with White currently on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from a hip injury suffered last September and a subsequent surgery.

The Patriots have historically utilized a committee situation at the position under Bill Belichick, with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson the top options as the between-the-tackles runners and players like White, J.J. Taylor and Ty Montgomery as potential fits for the scatback role.

The speedy Strong was used as a feature back for South Dakota State, running for 4,669 yards and 40 touchdowns, so his impact on the passing game wasn't as pronounced (62 receptions for 581 yards and three touchdowns across three seasons). But Stiegelmeier believes he'll be a natural in New England's pass-catching role.

"He's phenomenal," Stiegelmeier said of Strong as a receiver. "That's his greatest strength. He has unbelievable hands—very soft. We would like to isolate him on a linebacker and say, 'Advantage Pierre.'"

Even if he does end up winning that particular job, Patriots running backs are traditionally tough to trust on a weekly basis given the committee situation. Strong would be looking at a low-end flex designation.

But for now, until there's more clarity on White's status going forward, Strong is still absolutely a player who should be on your radar.

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