New England Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson is coming off his best game of the season last week, while his teammate, Ezekiel Elliott, was only able to rush for less than half of Stevenson’s total. So is there any reason for fantasy football managers to change Stevenson as their top option to start over Elliott? We’ll break down each player heading into Week 13.
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 12.2 points include 42 rushing yards, four receptions, and 24 receiving yards. That projected stat line outperforms the consensus projection of Elliott’s 8.0 points.
My ranking for these running backs aligns with the consensus. Stevenson’s best three performances of the season have come in the last three games. He just has been the better of the two backs all season.
Fantasy Outlook for Stevenson This Week
In last week’s piece, I wrote the following about Stevenson’s fantasy outlook for Week 12:
“I am expecting a lot of carries and a lot of production from Stevenson this week.”
98 rushing yards on 21 carries later — both season-highs — and it appears that Stevenson surely has the New England Patriots offensive MVP award all locked up. Over his last five games, Steveson has recorded rushing yard totals of 34, 39, 87, 88, and 98.
Talk about getting stronger as the season goes on.
He has also run for two touchdowns over his last three games, including last week against the New York Giants.
Another added benefit for Stevenson, although he probably wished it didn’t exist, is the trouble at the quarterback position. With QBs Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe battling it out on a weekly basis to determine which one is the least mediocre of the two, it probably provides not only an increase in rush attempts but a lot of short, safe pass receptions out of the backfield.
Stevenson caught five passes last week — the ninth time in 11 games this season that he’s had multiple receptions. However, those five receptions produced just nine yards.
Now come the Los Angeles Chargers, owners of the league’s worst defense in yards allowed (390.6 PG). Another good game from Stevenson is hardly expecting too much at this point.
Fantasy Outlook for Elliott This Week
Like Stevenson, Elliott has been very productive over the last two games, averaging 50 rush yards per game and an average of 4.5 yards per carry.
But once again, as long as Stevenson is healthy, Elliott’s role will remain as the Patriots’ backup.
This doesn’t mean you have to avoid Elliott the rest of the season or anything, but as long as Stevenson is leading the Patriots in rushing, there’s really no reason to start Elliott over a productive starter at the RB position.
The PFN Start/Sit Optimizer projects Elliott to finish with 36 yards with one reception for six yards.
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