The New England Patriots face the Green Bay Packers in Week 4 as the first month of NFL action comes to a close. Fantasy football managers have tough roster decisions to make entering the matchup – with one of them being whether you should start Patriots running back Damien Harris or Rhamondre Stevenson against the Packers.
Should you start Damien Harris vs. the Packers?
The Patriots are coming off their best week of offensive production in Week 3, but there were still major issues that plagued the unit. Producing 302 passing yards and 145 total rushing yards was a great sign of growth. But Mac Jones threw three interceptions and they lost a fumble to the Ravens, losing in a 37-26 contest.
Harris is truly in a 1A/1B situation with Stevenson, clouding projections for the duo. But even in this situation, Harris received 11 carries and two receptions but did punch in a touchdown. Fantasy managers will always be happy with Harris’ goal-line opportunities.
Entering Week 4 against the Packers, Harris is ranked at RB17 and No. 75 overall in our expert PPR fantasy football rankings. With that ranking, he’s a must-start for fantasy managers. Even in a slogging offense, Harris gets too valuable of touches to ignore and keep on the bench.
Our friends at Underdog Fantasy have projected Harris to have 63.5 total yards, 48.5 rushing yards, and 9.5 receiving yards in half-PPR leagues. These are exactly in line with his season averages, making it difficult to go lower on every fantasy prop.
The Packers’ defense rank as one of the best units against rushers in fantasy this season and remains a tough matchup. Run-heavy offenses have found some success on the ground against the unit, though. Expect the Patriots to continue that trend and for Harris to benefit.
Should you start Rhamondre Stevenson vs. the Packers?
The workload share between Harris and Stevenson has shifted over the last few weeks. Stevenson had one more carry and two more receptions last week, earning 101 total yards and one touchdown. It was the second consecutive week Stevenson won the snap count battle as he played 62 percent of snaps.
Is this a full embrace of Stevenson, or was it a one-off? Fantasy managers will be looking at what happens this week closely to know for sure, but I think this trend is here to stay. Even so, we have Stevenson as RB30 and No. 105 overall, so he’s more of a flex consideration than a must-play.
With an Underdog Fantasy projection of 47.5 rushing yards and 15.5 receiving yards, it’s clear that his expectations are a bit higher this week. He’s suffering from an uncertain role and quarterback situation. Underdog is a little bolder with their predictions than our expert staff is willing to be.
It’s true that Stevenson could go off this week because the Patriots remain unpredictable, but the unit that produced a few fantasy-relevant players in 2021 now has a number of questions we simply don’t have the answers to right now. Only start Stevenson if you have to, or you believe he’ll see relevant goal line touches.