What Rhamondre Stevenson can bring to your fantasy team originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots roster isn't typically a treasure trove for fantasy football enthusiasts, but one particular player can be a difference-maker for your team this season.
Rhamondre Stevenson could be a steal as a dual-threat running back available in the sixth or seventh round in most 12-team leagues. The Oklahoma product showed flashes last year as a rookie, rushing for 606 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and five touchdowns while totaling 14 catches for 123 yards in 12 games.
The good news for PPR (points per reception) players is those receiving numbers are expected to rise. Stevenson is likely to get more work in the passing game with James White retired and Ty Montgomery potentially starting the season on the sideline due to injury.
So, is Stevenson someone you should circle as a priority in your draft? Our Phil Perry joined NFL Network's Mike Giardi and NBC Sports Boston's "Camera Guys" to discuss the second-year back's fantasy value in 2022.
"The reason it's different this year is they don't have that many guys that can play. I mean, it's Damien Harris and it's Rhamondre Stevenson right now, and that's it," Perry said. "Ty Montgomery's banged up, it looks like he probably is not going to be ready to start the season, which is good news for people that either already have invested in Rhamondre Stevenson or are planning to, because this should just open up even more opportunities for him to catch the football. Coming into this year, we knew that part of his job was going to increase. But now with Montgomery out, to me he's clearly their best pass-catching back. I still think he's so talented in terms of being just a traditional big back that they'll get him the ball on first and second down as well.
"The reason you might hesitate a little bit compared to some of these guys around the league that are true three-down backs and are going to get the goal-line carries as well is I can see Damien Harris stealing work, stealing goal-line touches from Rhamondre Stevenson. But to me, I still would love to have Stevenson over Harris. Whenever that league drafts, and I don't know when it's going to draft, but I will be drafting Rhamondre Stevenson. At least I think I will be, because I'm going to be willing to do it earlier than I think most people are."
Giardi is also high on Stevenson this season, but he can't help but be wary about Harris stealing carries and touchdowns from the second-year back.
"The Harris thing down by the goal line is what would give me any sort of pause on drafting Stevenson because I think he's shown he's an effective goal-line runner," Giardi said. "And although we love Stevenson and what he brings to the table, it's sort of reminiscent of Corey Dillon. Nobody uses running backs like that anymore.
"So I think Harris in the last year of his contract too, are they going to be like, 'Fine, we'll just give you the ball. We'll run the tread off the tires because we don't really care about what you look like next year. We only care about what you look like this year.' So I understand where Phil's coming from but I have a feeling that Harris might vulture some of those touchdowns."
Even if Harris does steal touches -- and he almost certainly will -- Stevenson's No. 87 ADP (average draft position) is tremendous value. Don't be afraid to reach for him a round or two earlier as other running backs in that part of your draft, like Devin Singletary, Melvin Gordon and Miles Sanders, don't offer the same upside.
Stevenson and the Patriots will begin their regular season on Sept. 11 vs. the Miami Dolphins.