Should You Start Rhamondre Stevenson vs. Vikings? Fantasy Outlook for Patriots RB

What is Rhamondre Stevenson's fantasy value in Week 12, and should there be any concern about starting him in this Thanksgiving Day game?

Rhamondre Stevenson has so far delivered for fantasy football managers who took a chance on him in their 2022 drafts. Stevenson has now scored double-digit fantasy points in half-PPR scoring in each of his last eight games. However, coming off his lowest output since Week 4, should fantasy managers be concerned about the New England Patriots‘ short week against the Minnesota Vikings?

Let’s examine Stevenson’s fantasy outlook for Week 12 and whether fantasy managers should have any hesitation in starting him in the final game of the Thanksgiving tripleheader.

Rhamondre Stevenson’s Fantasy Outlook for Week 12

Entering Week 12, Stevenson is coming off his worst rushing performance of the year in terms of efficiency. He averaged a woeful 1.73 rushing yards per attempt to finish with 26 rushing yards from 15 carries. However, that was just the third time this season Stevenson averaged less than four years per rushing attempt and just his second game with less than 35 rushing yards in a single game.

Despite the struggles on the ground, Stevenson salvaged his day for fantasy managers with six receptions for 56 yards on six targets. His role in the passing game has been a huge part of Stevenson’s value this year. He has averaged seven targets per game in the last four weeks, catching all of those targets sans one game.

That usage in the passing game has ensured Stevenson provides a solid floor for fantasy managers, especially in PPR formats. In three of the last four weeks, he has had more than 50 receiving yards. So even in non-PPR scoring, his role in the passing game has been a huge contribution to his fantasy output.

MORE: Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer Week 12

That role in the passing game is maintains Stevenson as a safe starting option, despite the return of Damien Harris. Even if Harris takes 8-12 carries away from Stevenson, the second-year back can be penciled in for five targets a game. That will mean Stevenson is likely to finish in the region of 18-20 opportunities at a minimum, giving him fantasy value that is not dependent on him finding the end zone.

The passing-game work is especially intriguing after the way we saw the Cowboys attack the Vikings’ defense last week. Tony Pollard finished with 109 receiving yards and two touchdowns from six receptions. You have to believe the Patriots took notice of the Vikings’ struggles covering Pollard and will try to exploit that this week.

The Vikings’ defense allowed 55.6 fantasy points to the Cowboys’ RBs. Not only did that include 136 receiving yards on nine RB receptions, but the Cowboys also had 135 rushing yards and two touchdowns from their 35 attempts. The lead duo of Elliott and Pollard split the touchdowns and totaled 122 rushing yards on their 30 attempts.

The Vikings have performed better this season against opposing RBs. In three of their last five games, they held opposing backs under 10 fantasy points. However, that was against the, at times, faltering run games of the Washington Commanders, Arizona Cardinals, and Miami Dolphins (minus Tua).

Should Fantasy Managers Start Stevenson in Week 12?

With the floor provided by his receiving work, Stevenson is always an intriguing starting option. While Harris is healthy, there is risk he could steal touches from Stevenson in the run game and around the goal line. Harris’ presence limits Stevenson’s ceiling, but the second-year back should still have the better floor of the two.

In his Week 12 RB fantasy rankings, Tommy Garrett has Stevenson as his RB14. At that ranking, Stevenson will be a starting option for most fantasy managers this week. With Harris and the Patriots’ plodding offense, Stevenson could have fantasy managers sweating if he does not find the end zone. However, come the end of the week, his realistic floor of 10-12 fantasy points should make him a starting RB option in Week 12.

Additionally, Stevenson is an intriguing Best Ball option for players on Underdog Fantasy. His floor should make him a useful lineup builder, but the big game we saw from Pollard in the receiving game is enticing when considering the potential output Stevenson could have this week.

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