RB Sony Michel - New England Patriots

5-11, 222Born: 2-17-1995College: GeorgiaDrafted: Round 1, pick 2018

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Game Recaps

2019 Week 1 vs PIT (15 / 14 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

You could call this a dud for Michel, who didn't do much of anything despite great game script. On the positive side, he did see touches. On the negative side, he split plenty of time with James White and Rex Burkhead. There weren't huge holes in terms of running room, but he didn't do much with what was given, looking fairly ordinary. He did not, however, look injured or held back, so this may be one to chalk up to rough play. Better days are likely ahead, especially given the look of this offense.

2019 Week 2 vs MIA (21 / 85 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

To no one's surprise, the Pats made a concerted effort to run the ball against the Dolphins, especially since the game was out of hand by the second half. Behind a makeshift offensive line for much of the game, Michel looked relatively ordinary, though again, blocking was hit-or-miss. His lone touchdown was of the short variety for the first score of the game, and was a relatively easy one. His biggest blemish was a fumble, though Belichick didn't bench him for the error. Unsurprisingly, Michel was not involved in the passing game, and though his usage should remain consistent as the Pats look to balance their attack in games, it's a reminder that he won't play in hurry-up or pass-heavy games.

2019 Week 3 vs NYJ (9 / 11 / 1 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Sony Michel isn't right. For the third straight week, Michel plodded his way forward whenever he got the ball, and barely played a quarter of the snaps when all was said and done. He did find the end zone on a short touchdown, but his box score of 1.2 yards per carry is indicative of how he has been playing. In fact, the Patriots were completely pass heavy out of the gate, a sign they know Michel has been struggling as the first carry of the game was his touchdown. He'll need to pick it up or he risks losing even more touches.

2019 Week 4 vs BUF (17 / 63 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

The Patriots made a concerted effort to try to get Sony Michel going, but funny enough, the bad passing game actually affected him negatively at times. While he looked better than in prior weeks, offensive line blocking was better in the run game, and he had his ups and downs, particularly in the vision area. With all that said, he didn't play himself out of a job like some suspected he would, especially against a defense of the Bills caliber. Michel will continue to be involved going forward, but will be game script and pace dependent.

2019 Week 5 vs WAS (16 / 91 / 1 rush, 3 / 3 / 32 / 0 rec)

This game had "Sony game" written all over it with the Pats being large favorites and Rex Burkhead sitting out. Michel responded with what was by far his best game of the season, getting decent gains on many carries and even working himself into the passing game with 3 catches. Michel was getting good blocking and still doesn't look "explosive", but the difference was his vision and patience, which were much better than his prior few weeks. His touchdown was a 14 yard score which was again a good display of vision and a nice cut outside. With that said, once Rex Burkhead is healthy, he will no doubt eat into some of Michel's carries, and not every game will be a coast to the finish.

2019 Week 6 vs NYG (22 / 86 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 27 / 0 rec)

Once again, it was a relatively ordinary day from Sony Michel. His biggest highlight was that he had touchdowns "vulture" by Brandon Bolden and his quarterback. Besides last week, he hasn't looked the part, and one wonders when "borrowed time" starts to turn into reality. The only good news for fantasy owners was volume.

2019 Week 7 vs NYJ (19 / 42 / 3 rush, 2 / 1 / -8 / 0 rec)

Once again, he didn't run particularly well, but Sony Michel salvaged his stat line with 3 short touchdowns. Two of them were 1 yard touchdowns and one was a 3 yard touchdown, so they weren't huge plays. In fact, on one of the scores, he was absolutely stonewalled on first and second down and barely managed the score on third down. Michel also had a blatant drop on a designed screen that may have been a potential touchdown. It doesn't appear there is a backfield change in the offing as Damien Harris only saw time when Sony Michel banged knees towards the end of the game, but reports seem positive. He's still the volume and gamescript guy til we see otherwise.

2019 Week 8 vs CLE (21 / 74 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Though Sony Michel was once again a shell of his 2018 self, he did make a couple good runs that won't show up on the stat sheet. His vision seemed better this game than in other games, with tough running at times behind an offensive line that wasn't beating the Cleveland defensive line on most plays. Michel was also making better cuts upfield than in games prior. He didn't get many opportunities to score in this game, though he was stuffed at the 1 yard line at one point. For better or worse, he didn't do anything to dissuade the notion he's still the early down guy going forward.

2019 Week 9 vs BAL (4 / 18 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 12 / 0 rec)

Part of the problem with Sony Michel is his one-dimensional nature. In games where the Pats have to pass, Michel won't do anything, and this was the case against the Ravens, who went up early and forced the Pats to go into throw mode. He should see more touches in future games, but it's a reminder of his limited perceived skillset.

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 15 vs PIT (13 / 59 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

The three headed backfield in New England can limit the playing time another player can see. In Week 15 the Patriots were never leading and therefore Michel's playing time was limited. In Michel the Patriots have a runner who gets exactly what is blocked for him and does not display much creativity on his runs. Michel's longest run of the day was 13-yards. Michel was close to have a bigger day if it wasn't for a 20-yard run called back due to a holding penalty.

2018 Week 16 vs BUF (18 / 116 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Sony Michel was the lead back for the New England Patriots against the Buffalo Bills. Michel was leaned on early as the Patriots game plan called on attacking the Bills on the ground. Michel benefitted from a strong performance from his offensive line, repeatedly reeling off successful interior runs. Michel scored a 4-yard touchdown on the second series of the game, a series when Michel had five successful runs. While Michel benefitted from interior running holes, he also showed the ability to make defenders miss, including a chunk gain where he strung together multiple cuts. James White scored a late red zone touchdown, but the carry was on a drive where he dominated, so it was not a threat to Michel's red zone role.

2018 Week 17 vs NYJ (14 / 50 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

With the passing game firing on all cylinders, Michel wasn't needed much against the Jets. Surprisingly, even though the Pats had a heavy lead most of the game, the passing game was still on display deep into the 4th quarter, a sign that the coaching staff saw the secondary as exploitable. Michel is still the primary guy for rushing totes.

2018 Week 19 vs LAC (24 / 129 / 3 rush, 1 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)

Sony Michel alpha-dogged his way to 3 touchdowns on the game and gaudy rushing totals, including a 40 yard burst of a carry. Two of his touchdowns were of the short variety, while one featured a nice cut and speed to dive at the pylon for a narrow score. His long run featured nice blocking and a nice slice through a small hole for added yardage. Speaking of nice blocking, it was a huge reason why Michel piled up the yards, as the run blocking against the Chargers defense was stellar. As usual, Michel ceded some snaps to Rex Burkhead and the passing game to James White, but he still performed well when it mattered most.

2018 Week 20 vs KC (29 / 113 / 2 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

The running game hummed on all cylinders against the Chiefs, with a strong game from Michel and wonderful blocking all around. Michel had several chunk plays of 7 to 10 yards and fought hard on his runs, which included two short touchdowns. Rex Burkhead was very involved in the run game as well, or Michel could have had even more scores. His second touchdown was actually a 4th down run from about the 10 yard line which was blocked well by the line once again. He will be the lead dog once again against the Rams in two weeks.