Patriots' Rex Burkhead's Updated Fantasy Outlook After Return from Neck Injury

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2018

New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead carries during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Duane Burleson/Associated Press

Rex Burkhead is set to return for the New England Patriots and his presence could create a new dynamic in the backfield.

The running back has been on injured reserve since Week 3 with a neck injury, but he was activated on Monday and is eligible to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.

Based on what we have seen from James White and Sony Michel when healthy this season, there doesn't appear to be much room in the backfield for Burkhead.

Michel had 21 carries for 133 rushing yards on Sunday, his third game this year with over 20 rushing attempts. White also plays a good deal of snaps and has at least 10 touches in eight of 11 games so far.

However, Patriots coach Bill Belichick doesn't care about your fantasy team and will likely give each of these players plenty of rest in the next few weeks in favor of Burkhead.

The 28-year-old was an impact player last season, totaling eight touchdowns, including six in a four-game stretch. He was used both as a short-yardage back as well as a quality receiver out of the backfield.

He also had a significant role when he was healthy in Week 1 of this season, rushing 18 times for 64 yards.

The coaching staff clearly likes what he brings to the table and he will get an opportunity to play over the next month.

Unfortunately, there might simply be too many mouths to feed in this offense for Burkhead to provide legitimate fantasy production. He could be added in deep leagues for teams desperate at running back, but you will be left simply praying for touchdowns to get any points.

This biggest impact this will have is reducing the value of both Michel and White, especially if he gets goal-line carries going forward.