Sony Michel has missed the last two games with a knee injury. He returned to practice two Saturdays ago and was a bit of a surprise scratch for last Sunday night’s win over the Packers.
However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Michel is “likely” to be back this week against the Titans. In the absence of Michel, the Patriots have rolled with a heavy dose of James White, who has been in on over 80% of the offensive snaps the last two weeks after playing 71% of the downs in Week 7 after Michel left early in the first half. White has been on an absolute tear, checking in as the overall RB5 in fantasy points per game in PPR leagues Weeks 7-9 and the RB7 in standard leagues in that span. Cordarrelle Patterson has also handled 21 rushing attempts the last two weeks, turning those into 99 yards and a touchdown while gaining running back eligibility on multiple fantasy sites.
Unfortunately, White’s snaps figure to get dialed back to the 50-60% range that he was at when Michel was healthy, and Patterson will go back to return-man and gadget-role duties on offense. He’ll likely be a popular pickup across leagues this week, but it’ll be all for naught for the most part. This is going to be Michel and White’s backfield as long as both are healthy. Keep riding White as a back-end RB1 in all formats, while Michel will go right back to RB2 status with obvious upside.
Giants Will Stick with Eli
Eli Manning is 27th in touchdown passes, has absorbed the most sacks in the NFL, and is 22nd in passer rating heading into Week 10. He simply doesn’t have it anymore and seems like a better than 50:50 bet to retire at season’s end. Still, coach Pat Shurmur is going to keep running him out there in what is a totally lost season as Manning holds back the offense. It makes sense to see what the Giants have in Kyle Lauletta, but the rookie didn’t help his case by getting arrested last week. Shurmur would only commit to Manning for this week against the 49ers in Santa Clara, saying ideally Manning “will get on a run” the second half of the year. Unlikely. Manning is a bottom-barrel QB2.
Geronimo Allison Going to I.R.
It’s been a tough year for Geronimo Allison after the Packers released Jordy Nelson in the offseason in order to free up more playing time for Allison. He’s been totally unable to stay healthy and now needs core muscle surgery after previously missing time with a concussion and hamstring pulls. Allison was sent to injured reserve on Tuesday, forcing him to miss at least eight weeks. So, a best-case scenario is Allison will be back for the playoffs. But right now the Packers are on the outside looking in at the postseason after back-to-back losses to the Rams and Patriots. Allison will be an exclusive rights free agent in the spring. In the meantime, Marquez Valdes-Scantling has solidified himself as the Packers’ No. 2 wideout, running more routes and playing more snaps than Randall Cobb each of the past two weeks with Allison hurt. MVS has serious WR3 appeal in an Aaron Rodgers-quarterbacked offense. He needs to be owned in all formats.
Quarterback & Running Back Quick Slants
J.D. McKissic (foot, I.R.) is still at least a week away from returning. He’s unlikely to have much of a role. … Nick Mullens, after his stunning Week 9 picking-apart of the Raiders, will start again this week against the Giants. … The Lions gave up on former second-rounder Ameer Abdullah, cutting him on Tuesday, and replacing him on the roster with Zach Zenner. … Owner/GM Jerry Jones confirmed the Cowboys still believe in Dak Prescott as the future of the team at quarterback, and Jones said Prescott will get an extension at some point.
Wide Receiver & Tight End Quick Slants
Dez Bryant visited the Saints on Tuesday. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports the two sides are negotiating a deal. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Bryant signed Wednesday. Brandon Marshall also worked out for the Saints. … Eagles waived WR/KR DeAndre Carter. … Tajae Sharpe was injured in pregame warmups ahead of Monday night’s win over the Cowboys but is expected to be fine for Week 10. … The Lions signed WR Bruce Ellington, who was released from the Texans’ I.R. last week after recovering from a hamstring pull. Hamstring injuries have been Ellington’s downfall, but he could immediately fill the void in the slot created by the Golden Tate trade. … Torrey Smith (knee) remained sidelined on Tuesday. We doubt he plays Thursday night against Pittsburgh. … Adam Shaheen (foot, I.R.) is “getting very close” to a return.