2019 Fantasy Football: Players to avoid in the AFC East

There are thousands of fantasy football articles advising you who to draft and when. However, what about the players to stay away from?

There are thousands of fantasy football articles advising on who to draft and when. However, what about the players to stay away from?

In my next fantasy football series, I will be going around the NFL and selecting one player from each team for fantasy football owners to avoid in their drafts.

I kick off the series with selecting a player from each team in the AFC East.

Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots

The Case

The hype surrounding New England Patriots running back Sony Michel is excessive. Everyone knows he dominated the 2018 postseason by rushing for 336 yards over three games, which is the 13th-most ever by any player in a single postseason. He also scored the lone touchdown in the Patriots’ 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

However, Michel is the lead player to be a regression candidate for fantasy football in 2019. He will struggle to duplicate his 2018 performance.

Michel has a degenerative knee condition, which makes him a considerable health risk. He has suffered significant knee injuries, and his knee issues began in high school when he suffered a torn ACL. In last year’s preseason, he had a procedure in early August to have fluid drained from his knee. The Patriots brought him along slowly and he returned in Week 2. In a Week 7 matchup last season, he was diagnosed with a knee strain and missed two games.

During this offseason, Michel reportedly had to undergo a knee arthroscopy which caused him to miss the final portion of the team’s workouts. Although the initial reports are positive, this has to be a red flag for Sony Michel fans.

Another negative for Michel is his lack of contribution in the passing game. He received just 11 targets as a rookie, catching seven of those passes for 50 yards and zero touchdowns. Furthermore, it’s difficult to envision an increasing role with James White and Rex Burkhead more talented in the passing game.

In addition to those two running backs, the Patriots added another running back in Damien Harris in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Patriots didn’t draft him in the third round to sit on the bench. Harris is projected as a north-south runner who excels in short-yardage situations.

The Verdict

The crowded Patriots’ backfield should concern fantasy owners. Michel is currently being drafted as RB20, which places him in as RB2 for owners. With a running back by committee being utilized, there is no way that Sony Michel is worthy of a third-round pick.

In the last seven seasons, the Patriots have never had back to back seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher. Michel’s situation is not favorable for him to accomplish that feat.

The Patriots will employ Sony Michel and Damien Harris on early-down work, which will limit each player’s fantasy production. Michel can also be phased out of game plans due to his lack of involvement in the passing game. James White and Rex Burkhead will play in distinct passing situations.

The injury history and the crowded backfield is enough to make me avoid Sony Michel at his current draft price.

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