Sony Michel is headed to the Los Angeles Rams via trade, so what is the fantasy fallout of the move?
Running back Sony Michel was a likely roster cut for the New England Patriots, but they got something for him instead. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Michel is headed to the Los Angeles Rams for two conditional late-round draft picks.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the picks are fifth and sixth-rounders in 2022, but they would become one fourth-rounder if the Rams get a compensatory pick in that round.
Fantasy football fallout: Sony Michel to the Rams
In the wake of Cam Akers’ season-ending Achilles’ tear, the Rams professed they were fine with Darrell Henderson as their No. 1 running back with literally no regular-season NFL experience behind him on the depth chart. Henderson’s fantasy stock naturally rose. A recent thumb injury is a setback more than a death knell for Henderson’s fantasy value, and fantasy managers who’ve already drafted him shouldn’t be concerned about it.
Michel topped 900 rushing yards with at least six rushing scores in each of his first two seasons with the Patriots, before his workload fell last year (79 carries in nine games). He averaged a career-best 5.7 yards per carry in 2020, but New England’s drafting of Rhamondre Stevenson in April put him on the roster bubble right away.
The Rams needed to add experience behind Henderson and Michel qualifies. In fantasy terms, he’s mostly just a potential touchdown vulture and a late-round flier for those who have a draft coming in a league with 12 or more teams. Michel may get just enough overall work to annoy Henderson owners, but his stand-alone fantasy value is minimal without an in-season injury to Henderson.
The biggest fantasy winner in the Michel trade is in New England. Damien Harris already seemed to be in line to seize the lead role, and now Michel is officially not going to be around to steal work. James White is still the top receiving back for the Patriots, but Harris is in line for all the early-down and goal-line work he can handle. In what still lines up to be a run-oriented offense, Harris now has high-end RB2/low-end RB1 potential this year.
Stevenson has been a preseason star for the Patriots, with 193 yards and four touchdowns (two in each game) on 25 carries. His emergence was surely a factor in the decision to trade Michel, and now the rookie out of Oklahoma bumps up a spot on the depth chart. Stevenson is now more draftable, or addable post-draft, as a depth option in 12-team leagues.