Just 10 minutes into the New England Patriots‘ Week 13 contest against the Los Angeles Chargers, starting RB Rhamondre Stevenson suffered a lower-body injury. What’s the latest on his status, and who will see the field in his absence?
Rhamondre Stevenson Injury Update
On a 2nd-and-5 run up the middle, Chargers DL Tuli Tuipulotu tackled Stevenson and forced a fumble. On the way down, Stevenson’s right ankle appeared to roll under Tuipulotu’s body.
#Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson was helped off the field after getting tackled on this play.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) December 3, 2023
As the Patriots’ RB was helped off the field, he didn’t put much weight on his right leg in obvious pain. Instead of heading for the blue medical tent, the Patriots took Stevenson straight to the locker room and ruled him out shortly after.
Stevenson carried the ball nine times for 40 yards prior to the injury, and Ezekiel Elliott will take over lead-back duties for as long he is out.
This is a huge blow for an offense that was already sputtering and onto their second starting QB of the year in Bailey Zappe. At 2-9 and averaging 13.5 points per game (31st in the league), Bill Belichick and Co. already have their eyes on the 2024 NFL Draft.
According to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, Stevenson’s X-rays came back negative, and the team believes MRI screenings will show an ankle sprain. Depending on the severity of the injury, Stevenson could miss multiple games, propelling Elliott into the RB1 role for an extended period of time.
Fantasy Fallout From Stevenson’s Injury
Elliott is set to handle the lead role in this backfield, but “lead role” and “fantasy-friendly role” are not the same thing. The veteran back didn’t have a 20-yard touch this season prior to the injury, and with a pair of tough matchups coming up, it’s difficult to project optimism for Zeke in an offense that lacks creativity.
Elliott isn’t the pass catcher that Stevenson is, so this injury could open up looks for Demario Douglas, assuming he’s back from his concussion next week. The Patriots are likely to be playing from behind with regularity moving forward, and that puts Douglas on the PPR Flex radar.
— PFN Fantasy Analyst Kyle Soppe