When it comes to Fantasy Football, there are three rules I’ve learned to live by that have helped me win a few championships in my league. Number one, never draft a wide receiver with a really bad quarterback unless they are in the elite category. Number two, don’t draft running backs past the age of 30. And lastly, steer clear of the crazy running back by committee situation in New England.
Yes, David Montgomery will likely take away some touches from Tarik Cohen. There’s no questioning that. However, Cohen is still going to very much be involved in that offense in every game, playing at least half the snaps, if not more. James White may see 75% of the snaps one game, and 10% another, 25% the game after that, then 50% and so on. You just don’t know. That’s the frustrating part about having a Patriots running back on your roster. And it just got even harder this past offseason.
The Patriots now have four different running backs in their committee that will line up behind or alongside Brady. Damien Harris and Sony Michel figure to play the biggest roles as runners. Rex Burkhead will get a lot of short yardage and goal-line carries and some third down work. Then there’s James White, who figures to play a role in the backfield whenever Bellichick decides to put him in. The concern is you don’t know when that is.
The Patriots are unpredictable when it comes to fantasy. You never know which wide receiver Brady will depend on from game to game and you never know the game plan going in. Right now, Jakobi Meyers, an undrafted rookie, is the flavor of the month at wide receiver that everyone is trying to draft in their dynasty leagues.
Numbers-wise, Cohen and White are very similar. They put up similar numbers last year, with White actually outproducing Cohen in more double-digit fantasy point games. Many mock boards have White slightly ahead of Cohen. That’s all fine…I think both men may have similar numbers again this year. The problem again, is it’s the Patriots, and you just simply don’t know when White will get a lot of action, and when he’ll just sit on the sidelines and watch Michel and Harris get a ton of touches. There will be games where Michel and Harris will watch White get a lot of runs and catches, too. Which game is that? Who knows.
And there-in lies the unpredictability of the Patriots and why I would advise in this situation to take a stronger look at Cohen over White. Trust that Trubisky will continue to develop and Cohen will get solid PPR points.
If you’re in a non-PPR league, I highly advise against either one of these two as I think they’re both mostly going to be used in the passing game, not as much in the running game. Montgomery for the Bears and Harris/Michel for the Patriots will be the prime runners.
Now, the scenario changes if you have a handcuff option and one of these runners is available late. If you decide to draft Harris early and White is there in the seventh or eighth round, it might not be a bad idea to draft White as insurance in case Harris gets hurt. Likewise with the Bears and Montgomery. So keep that in mind if you wind up drafting Montgomery or Harris early on and one of these two guys is available later than you would think. While I don’t normally advise Patriots running backs, Harris does have some value as a rookie.
Both teams should have solid years this year, so like I said earlier, I think both players will get action and be contributors…just Cohen will be doing it more consistently. White more sporadically.