by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
According to The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe (click here for the article):
“Running back Dion Lewis will be sidelined for another 8-10 weeks after he endures a second surgery on his left knee, according to a source. The ACL, which was repaired in November, is OK, but the Patriots’ medical staff determined they need to clean up an unspecified area in the knee.”
It’s a blow, but it’s not like New England will be left completely bare in the backfield. There are options with FLEX potential, as well as a sleeper who could really emerge. Let’s take a look:
LeGarrette Blount – He averaged 4.3 yards per carry last season (165 carries for 703 yards) and always figured to operate as the early down/short yardage back. We all know that it’s impossible to predict what the Patriots are going to do from week-to-week, but Blount should be a decent bet for 12-14 carries and around 50 yards per week. Consider him as a potential FLEX option, though he’s better suited as a RB3/RB4 to have on call off your bench.
James White – White could be the biggest benefactor, as he figures to assume a large portion of the passing down work. He had 40 receptions for 410 receptions last season, averaging 5.6 receptions and 63 yards per game over the final five games of the season. Those types of numbers are obviously impressive for those in PPR formats and there’s little reason to think that he can’t close in on them starting in Week 1. Of course he may not be among the Top 4 options on the passing depth chart (there has been talk about them going tight end heavy due to the signing of Martellus Bennett), and a run heavy approach would limit his upside in any given week. He’s got appeal, but it’s still tough to trust him from Week 1.
Brandon Bolden – More of a special teams standout, Bolden could see a few touches but he’s going to be tough to trust.
D.J. Foster – If he could get healthy, Foster would have the potential to grab a significant role. The undrafted rookie was moved to wide receiver by Arizona State last season, which alone should tell you how much potential he has catching the football. He had a monster 2014 campaign all around:
- Rushing – 1.081 yards, 9 TD
- Receiving – 62 receptions, 688 yards, 3 TD
Over his final three seasons his worst was a 59 catch campaign (2015) and he totaled 10 receiving TD (14 receiving TD over his college career). He’s actually an ideal replacement to Lewis so keep him on your radar. The problem is his health, which could ultimately cost him the opportunity.
Source – ESPN