Rhamondre Stevenson has been the starter all season in the backfield for the New England Patriots, and despite the team’s offensive struggles, there doesn’t appear to be a change in the depth chart on the horizon.
Is Ezekiel Elliott still good enough to overtake Stevenson as the feature running back in New England?
Let’s check out the fantasy football outlook for each player in Week 12.
Should You Start Rhamondre Stevenson or Ezekiel Elliott This Week?
In the Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer, our Consensus Rankings say that Stevenson is the player to start. His projected 11.1 points include 39 rushing yards, four receptions, and 22 receiving yards. That projected stat line outperforms the consensus projection of Elliott (5.4 points).
There has been nothing that Elliott has done that would indicate he deserves to take the job away from Stevenson.
Fantasy Outlook for Stevenson This Week
Stevenson’s last two games have produced 87 and 88 rushing yards — his best two games this year on the ground. In the Patriots’ last game, a matchup against the Indianapolis Colts before New England’s bye week, Stevenson had a season-high 20 rush attempts.
The offense as a whole has been terrible this year, and Stevenson was especially bad early in the season. He averaged only 37.6 rushing yards per game on 2.8 yards per carry in his first five games, but he’s gotten much better over the last five games (58.8 rushing yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry).
What separates Stevenson from Elliott is that the latter is making a lot of plays catching the ball. The third-year RB has 20 receptions during the latter five-game stretch, an addition that combines with his rushing production to result in 87.2 total yards of offense per game.
The Patriots are going up against the New York Giants this week, and that’s a good opportunity for Stevenson. New York ranks 29th in rush yards allowed per game (135.1) and has given up the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL.
This feels like an opportunity for Stevenson to have a big week, with 120 total yards of offense and a touchdown being a legitimate possibility.
Fantasy Outlook for Elliott This Week
In that same game against the Colts, Elliott finished with 13 carries (his second most this year) and a season-high 88 total yards of offense in the loss.
Elliott was brought to New England this year to give the Patriots another punch in the ground game. If there is one thing that makes Elliott someone to consider this week, it’s his familiarity with the Giants. During his time in Dallas, the former Cowboys star scored 11 touchdowns in 12 career games against the Giants — he scored a touchdown in his last six games against New York.
While Elliott had a big game against the Colts, Stevenson has been very good for the Patriots as of late. The big difference this week is the latter’s ability to catch passes. This feels like a huge week for Stevenson, and don’t be surprised if he’s a top-10 RB.
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