RB Sony Michel - New England Patriots
|5-11, 222||Born: 2-17-1995||College: Georgia||Drafted: Round 1, pick|
News you need to know
From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Dec 10): Tom Brady actually ran into Michel on one of his goal line carries, which led to fullback James Develin vulturing yet another touchdown. Michel should still lead the team in carries against the Steelers and merit a flex play.
Week 15: at Pittsburgh Steelers
FBG says: Neutral matchup. For years, the Patriots have coveted a consistent, grinding run game that can not only salt away leads but also help build them. Rookie Sony Michel has given them that, bringing a dynamism that LeGarrette Blount never did and a pile-pushing style Dion Lewis lacked. Michel has played 40% or more of Patriots snaps 7 times thus far, averaging 88 yards and scoring 5 touchdowns on the ground. He's the clear lead runner, dominating the ball when the Patriots are in a good game script, and he's shown the explosiveness to turn stuffed runs into sizeable gains. If the New England line was playing up to the level we're used to seeing, there'd be even more productivity. The Patriots are healthy up front, but lacking to run block consistently; our Matt Bitonti ranks them 20th, with a C+ run grade. Michel was bottled up last week by Miami (57 yards on 20 carries), but looked good in general and had a 40-yard run negated by penalty. When game flow doesn't go his way, he cedes some work to James White and Rex Burkhead, who take on 10-15 rushes a game in the third-down role. But Michel is the face of this attack and continues to produce in a variety of situations. He's dominated the weaker run defenses he's faced while showing plenty of life even in the tougher matchups. The Steelers run defense isn't consistent in the slightest, but it's occasionally dominant. There are plenty of lapses, especially against one-cut runners that can explode through a small crease. But last week was a reminder of how this talented front seven can control a game in the trenches. With both Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt healthy on the line, the Steelers are adept at keeping their linebackers clean and pursuing. And there's been a big change on the inside, where journeyman linebacker/safety hybrid L.J. Fort (81% of snaps over the last 2 weeks) has all but replaced Jon Bostic (19%). Fort is active and blazing fast, and he's made a number of plays on ballcarriers over the past two weeks, an area where Bostic had begun to lag. Fort's presence has coincided with the Steelers shutting down Austin Ekeler, Doug Martin, and Jalen Richard over that span. That trio has combined to average 5.0 yards per rush on the year but managed just 77 on 37 attempts (2.1 per) in this matchup. Sony Michel is the type of back that can poke holes in this unit, but the Patriots' retooled line will have its hands full with it.
Recent Stats and Projections
Weekly Performance vs RB 1, RB 12, RB 24, RB 36
Sony Michel's percentile rank in each category, among RB with more than 50 fantasy points.
Recent Game Summaries
2018 Week 14 vs MIA (20 / 57 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Michel found absolutely no room to run against the Dolphins, who simply didn't allow many holes to open up for him. Smart back 7 play sealed off the second level routinely, meaning that despite 20 attempts, Michel's long run was 9 yards. James Develin did steal a touchdown again for a second week in a row, but the performance was the Dolphins simply beating the Pats when it came to the run game.
2018 Week 13 vs MIN (17 / 63 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
Perhaps the highlight of Sony Michel's day was that he was stuffed at the goal line a couple times, and subsequently had touchdowns vultured by James Develin. Two of them, in fact. The Vikings are a tough defense to run against, and this was no exception, as Michel found little room to run on several of his carries. Still, it was good to see him in a feature role even with Rex Burkhead back.
2018 Week 12 vs NYJ (21 / 133 / 1 rush, 2 / 2 / 12 / 0 rec)
Though he came out of the game briefly with an injury, Sony Michel ran wild over the Jets defense, ripping off several big gains, including a tackle-shedding 30+ yard run as the highlight of the day. The run blocking was well above average, so major credit goes to the o-line as well. Michel's touchdown came from 1 yard out after getting barely stuffed on the prior play. It is notable that on some of his longer runs, Michel tried to barrel over defenders as opposed to use more elusive moves, especially in 1 on 1 situations. Still, tough to complain about his day.
2018 Week 10 vs TEN (11 / 31 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Michel found almost no room to run, and as the Titans went up big early and kept the lead, the run game was used much less than normal. Michel looked fine out there, but there were no explosive plays to speak of. Similar to the passing game, credit the Titans d while giving a thumbs down to the Pats o-line.
2018 Week 7 vs CHI (4 / 22 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 13 / 0 rec)
On his 4th carry of the game, Michel's knee got twisted awkwardly and he remained out for the rest of the game. Early reports have said the injury isn't season ending, but it's looking likely he will miss games.
2018 Week 6 vs KC (24 / 106 / 2 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
As the clear lead back, Sony Michel had plenty of room to run, and carved up the Chiefs defense with a number of good gains. On his second play of the game he missed a big gain by running into a pile instead of cutting to his right after about 5 yards, but did make up for it with good patience otherwise. Both his touchdowns were short runs, though his 1 yard touchdown was partly a product of the Chiefs defense being so worried about a Tom Brady sneak. Expect Michel to continue to produce as the locked-in early down back, and don't be surprised if he starts to work into scripted passing plays more.
2018 Week 5 vs IND (18 / 98 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 12 / 0 rec)
For the second week in a row, Sony Michel looked good. He ran with good vision and power, including his long touchdown that saw a nice running lane and stiff arm to boot. He did miss out on a second long touchdown, trying to barrel over a defender in a 1on1 situation instead of using his explosiveness to elude the defender. Still, Michel continues to improve, which is the most important point for his future role.
2018 Week 4 vs MIA (25 / 112 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
What a difference a week makes. Armed with better run blocking, Sony Michel ran all over the Dolphins defense, showing great patience for a rookie coupled with good, hard running. One of his first carries of the game, he followed right behind James Develin who paved the way for a 15 yard gain, which is just something you don't see many backs do early in their careers. Michel also had a few runs where he shed tackles for extra YAC, which was nice to see after last week's dud. His day could have been much bigger from a fantasy standpoint, as he was stuffed on the goal line twice in one particular drive. His touchdown was a toss from 10 yards out, and large credit goes to left tackle Trent Brown who cleared out the most threatening defender in Michel's way. It was a strong performance for the run game as a whole.
2018 Week 3 vs DET (14 / 50 / 0 rush, 3 / 1 / -1 / 0 rec)
In what may have been the most ordinary running performance of the season, Sony Michel received 14 touches on the ground and did absolutely nothing with them. His long run was 12 yards, and he left more on the field. As an example, on a rush of about 8 yards to the right side, Michel barreled into an defender engaged with a blocker instead of making a cut that would have allowed him at least 5 more yards. Though he seemed to lack vision and concerningly, explosiveness, the run blocking was not good either. Josh McDaniels also seemed to be forcing the run game in odd spots, dialing up obvious plays - Michel always ran from under center, which telegraphed play calls for the Lions defense. It was a bizarre game from the coaching staff. Michel also dropped a couple passes, showing he's still not ready for a big passing game role. Whether this was more experimental or Michel has truly taken the rushing reins remains to be seen, but he and the line will need to be better going forward.
2018 Week 2 vs JAX (10 / 34 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
Operating as the primary ball carrier, Michel did nothing special of note on 10 carries. The Pats o-line was worked over fairly well, and there was very little running room. What is notable was that he saw more snaps than Rex Burkhead, who only saw playing time in the first and fourth quarters. If that continues, Michel will be worth deploying in fantasy lineups in the future just due to touch volume and a potentially potent offense.
Latest NewsPatriots | Sony Michel finishes with 57 yards (Sun Dec 9, 04:22 PM) - New England Patriots RB Sony Michel rushed for 57 yards on 20 carries against the Miami Dolphins in Week 14. Our View: Michel ran into Tom Brady on one goal line carry that was later vultured by James Develin. He got the volume but didn't take advantage of a great matchup. He's only a flex option at Pittsburgh next week.
link to story Patriots | Sony Michel grinds out 63 yards (Sun Dec 2, 10:32 PM) - New England Patriots RB Sony Michel rushed 17 times for 63 yards in Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings and he added a seven-yard grab. link to story
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|15||@ Pittsburgh Steelers|
|16||vs Buffalo Bills|
|17||vs New York Jets|