Can Michel be started when Darrell Henderson is active?

With Darrell Henderson out last week, Sony Michel demonstrated why the Rams dropped a fourth and sixth round pick in August. Michel is a stabilizing force in an injury-prone backfield. With Henderson’s expected return today, what can be fantasy football do managers expect Michel?

The Sony Michel hype vs. Sony Michel reality

From 1999 to 2017, the Patriots drafted only one running back in the first round: Laurence Maroney (2006). So when GM / Head Coach Bill Belichick picked Michel towards the end of the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, there was good reason to believe he had found their new RB franchise.

Michel ticked all the boxes as an outstanding future NFL player. Although he largely occupied a 1B role alongside starter Nick Chubb at the University of Georgia, Michel was widely seen as a fantastic player with immediate impact in a team desperate for a No.1.

But in today’s NFL, one-dimensional rushers don’t make ideal bell cows. Michel has fewer receptions (29) in over three NFL seasons than most starting RBs in one season. Injuries and TD addiction made Michel a fantastic unreliable asset. He’s able to go out for RB1 / 2 production if he can find the end zone. But more often than not, his ceiling is around 80 rushing yards and 1 catch for 7-10 yards. In other words, it is generally a weak flexible game.

As of last week in place of the injured Henderson, the value of Michel’s fantasy was fully on display. He got a workload with 20 ground attempts and 3 surprising landings. Yet he has not been able to turn this use into a fantastic joy for managers.

Should we launch Sony Michel today?

The Rams backfield remains a two-person committee. As long as Henderson is on the court, Michel’s advantage is severely capped. Today against Arizona, unless Henderson suffers a setback, Michel is unlikely to exceed 60 yards overall, and even that could be ambitious. It’s a much better fantasy take in the deep leagues than it is a fantasy starter. And if Henderson goes down again, it would be wise to sell high on Michel, as his potential usually exceeds his production.

Just like in Georgia, Michel is a returning 1B. Except, unlike Georgia, he won’t roll on a lot of defenses.

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