by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The assumption was that Mike Gillislee would step into the LeGarrette Blount role for the Patriots, meaning an opportunity would be there to be a force on a weekly basis. Blount thrived in New England last season, racking up 1,161 yards and 18 TD, and after two weeks it looked like Gillislee could put up a similar line:
First Two Games – 33 carries, 114 yards, 4 TD
He’s continued to see carries in the subsequent three games, with 12 carries per contest, but the results have not been impressive:
Next Three Games – 36 carries, 132 yards, 0 TD
The carries have been down, and there could be a variety of reasons (i.e. game flow), but the bigger issue is that the numbers demonstrate how TD dependent he is. Even over those first two games, when he was averaging a few more carries (16.5 carries per game), without the TD he would’ve been a worthless fantasy play.
Overall he’s averaging 3.6 yards/carry and there’s a chance that the opportunities start to diminish. Dion Lewis outgained Gillislee in Week 5, with 53 yards on just 7 carries. Over the past two weeks he has 71 yards and 1 TD on 11 carries (6.5 yards/carry), after getting 8 carries over the first three weeks of the season.
It’s easy to forget that, when on the field, Lewis has been a productive runner for New England over the past two seasons. He was limited to 14 games, but he totaled 113 carries and 517 yards (4.6 yards/carry). Maybe he’s capped at 8-10 touches per game, as a way to keep him healthy, but those touches will come at the expense of Gillislee.
We’ve long been skeptical about New England, as you never truly know what they are going to do on a weekly basis. Of course, given Lewis’ history there’s always the risk that he goes down and misses time (and that will give Gilislee a little bit more value once again). For now he’s going to remain a TD dependent FLEX play, and that means you can only utilize him if you are desperate.
As far as targeting him in a trade, it’s hard to consider him a buy low candidate. In fact, if you can still deal him for a premium we’d be far more likely to cut bait and trade him as opposed to letting him take up a spot at the back of your roster and never being willing to put him in an active role.
Source – ESPN
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: