Rhamondre Stevenson had a rough start to his first NFL training camp. However, he progressed admirably and has been outstanding this preseason. What is Stevenson’s fantasy football outlook in the crowded New England backfield, and is he a value at his current ADP?
Rhamondre Stevenson’s fantasy outlook for 2021
Stevenson was selected 120th overall by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma. As training camp and the preseason has progressed, New England’s running back coach Ivan Fears has spoken positively about him.
The rookie put together some solid performances in the Patriots’ first two preseason games. Stevenson amassed 127 yards and 2 touchdowns on 10 rushing attempts against the Washington Football Team.
Stevenson’s positive momentum continued against the Philadelphia Eagles. He took 15 carries for 66 yards and 2 more touchdowns. Stevenson is reminding fantasy football managers of the second coming of Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount with his ability to score touchdowns.
I know what you are thinking. Patriots running backs have hurt your fantasy football team in the past. It was infuriating. New England’s coaching staff loves a committee approach. It is worth the risk because the Patriots have consistently had a robust running game with outstanding offensive line play under head coach Bill Belichick. Unfortunately, the team’s depth chart at running back is as crowded as a can of sardines.
Stevenson’s competition at RB
Stevenson does join a group in New England that also has Damien Harris, James White, J.J. Taylor, and Brandon Bolden. However, he does have a wider path to seeing consistent touches. The Patriot traded Sony Michel to the Rams for two draft picks according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. This move makes sense because the Patriots declined his fifth-year contract option back in May.
Harris got off to a slow start in 2020 because of an ankle injury. In 10 games played, he averaged nearly 14 rushing attempts and 69 rushing yards per contest.
White will continue to be leveraged as a receiver out of the backfield. Taylor is also having a solid preseason. While Bolden has historically been used in a multitude of ways by the Patriots coaching staff.
Stevenson’s versatility could separate him from his running back peers. How does this affect his 2021 projection?
It’s important to briefly examine Stevenson’s past before discussing his projection for 2021. The former Oklahoma running back was suspended for the first five games of the 2020 season due to a failed drug test from the previous season.
Stevenson led the Sooners with 665 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns on 101 attempts. He also had 18 receptions and 211 receiving yards. Stevenson has the profile of a three-down back at the NFL level.
His running style is purposeful and aggressive. Stevenson has an adequate burst and easily generates yards after contact with his frame. He’s very capable in pass protection and operating as a receiver out of the backfield with his soft hands. His strongest traits are his vision and the way he sets up blockers.
The excellent training camp and preseason of Stevenson and Taylor was a catalyst for the trade of Michel. It’s possible that the two rookies could cannibalize each other’s fantasy value.
Stevenson would still be fighting for touches with Harris, White, Taylor and Bolden.
Rhamondre Stevenson’s ADP
Stevenson has an ADP of 208.8, according to Fleaflicker. Similarly, Stevenson has an ADP of 172.86 in pay-to-play fantasy formats such as the National Fantasy Championship. On Sleeper, his ADP is in the middle of the others at 187.
Should you draft Stevenson in 2021?
Stevenson is an inexpensive way to get exposure to one of the most prolific running games in the NFL. New England running backs have averaged 32.7 opportunities and 154.6 total yards per game since 2010. This trend is likely to continue in 2021.
The biggest risk with Stevenson is that despite a wider path to touches due to Michel’s trade, the New England backfield still has plenty of capable contributors. With that being said he is worth drafting and holding onto for the entire season. Stevenson has the potential to be a waiver wire darling.