Rhamondre Stevenson Dynasty Profile 2022: A deceptively undervalued fantasy RB for years to come

Rhamondre Stevenson had the second-best broken tackle rate among all 2021 NFL RBs -- Is he an undervalued dynasty RB heading into 2022?

After a very slow start to his NFL career, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson flashed enough in 2021 to merit deep consideration in fantasy football leagues. With Damien Harris seemingly entrenched (for now) as the Patriots’ starting RB, how should fantasy managers — including dynasty managers — value Stevenson in 2022 and beyond?

Rhamondre Stevenson’s dynasty profile for 2022

When the Patriots drafted Stevenson in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, he was slotted in behind Harris, Sony Michel, and James White. His average draft position four weeks before the start of the season was RB84 behind the likes of Anthony McFarland, Brian Hill, and Javian Hawkins. Within two weeks, his ADP popped to RB64. And after New England shipped Michel to the Rams, Stevenson began his first NFL campaign at RB52.

In hindsight, he was still far too undervalued, though we might never know how much White’s Week 3 season-ending injury opened the door for Stevenson. New England used 31-year-old Brandon Bolden to help fill White’s shoes, and he performed admirably. But with a rookie quarterback and a stout defense, this team was designed to keep the chains moving on the ground. For example, they were fourth in the league in rushing first downs.

Harris and Bolden weren’t enough. Head coach Bill Belichick wanted to see what he had in his rookie, and Stevenson didn’t disappoint. The Oklahoma alum rushed for 729 total yards while finding the end zone 5 times. He eclipsed 5.0 yards per carry in six of his final eight contests. Certainly, he looked like he belonged not only in the NFL but also on fantasy rosters.

Stevenson’s upward trajectory

Investing in Stevenson in 2022 and beyond means believing he will eventually earn a starting role — that his rookie-year metrics are a sign of great things to come. He averaged the fourth-most yards after contact (2.7) among NFL RBs, as well as the second-best broken-tackle rate (8.3 rushing attempts per broken tackle), just behind Javonte Williams. And he demonstrated capable enough receiving chops to suggest a second-year leap in this category.

Simply put, Stevenson has nowhere to go but up. He remains a modest-floor, high-ceiling dynasty option, depending on the role he earns each season.

Fantasy projection for Stevenson

About seven weeks ago, my fantasy analysts and I independently assembled initial dynasty fantasy rankings for 2022. I ranked him as the RB27, Jason Katz listed him at No. 37, and Tommy Garrett placed him at No. 30.

Our collective rankings assumed Stevenson would continue to be a fantasy contributor. He might not receive more than 150-175 touches in the near term, though I believe he’ll push for 200+. Longer-term, Stevenson could achieve bell-cow status by 2023 or 2024. Of course, having seen only a small NFL sample size, he’s a more speculative asset than a proven commodity like Harris. The biggest question concerns his unrealized potential playing alongside Harris.

Will Stevenson play a larger role in 2022?

Recently, New England’s crowded backfield has spelled trouble for cautious dynasty fantasy managers. But frequently, one or two RBs rise to the top, offering consistent or semi-consistent fantasy stability. Stevenson and Harris represent the future — Stevenson clearly more so.

Stevenson averaged 61 total yards per contest in 12 games played or only 10 fewer yards than Harris averaged across 15 games. And Harris started 13 more games than Stevenson did. There’s an untapped potential here. Surely Belichick sees it, or else he wouldn’t have entrusted his rookie back with expanded snaps and touches as the season progressed.

If we use Stevenson’s 13.0 touches per game in 2021 as a rough baseline, we could easily envision a 200+ touch output in 2022. Keep in mind Harris averaged only 14.7 touches. True, Stevenson started two games in Harris’s absence. But the rookie also was limited to a handful of touches in Week 1 (when he was No. 3 or No. 4 on the depth chart). Knowing what the team knows now, a full season with Stevenson as the 1A back could turn him into some version of AJ Dillon, making him a solid RB3+.

Realistically, we should expect 180-220 touches for 900-1,100 total yards. He’ll need to poach even more of Harris’ goal-line work to push into solid weekly streaming territory.

How to assess Stevenson’s contract situation

The 24-year-old Stevenson won’t become a free agent until after the 2024 season. As a relatively “old” rookie last year, he’ll hope for a bigger payday entering his age-27 campaign, which normally comes right after a bell-cow RB’s prime years.

That said, if Stevenson splits touches, minimizing the wear and tear of workhorse backs, he could secure significant fantasy value as a bell cow when his next contract begins. While this all remains far off, it’s important to note that Stevenson remains a terrific hold in dynasty, and his value could fluctuate dramatically for years, depending on his and his backfield teammates’ contract situations.

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