Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson are coming into their second year in the Running Backs room in New England. Only two games into the season, they are already battling it out for the starting position in the backfield. Last season, Harris posted a solid resume of 15 starts in 15 games with 929 yards on the ground, 15 rushing touchdowns, and averaging 4.6 yards per carry. In most offenses around the NFL, these metrics would be attractive to fantasy football owners looking for a reliable RB or FLEX. However, the Patriots have historically proved to not be the most fruitful destination for players’ fantasy stocks. This is mostly due to an emphasis on spreading the ball to different players (excluding Tom Brady, for obvious reasons).
That is where Rhamondre Stevenson comes into the equation. Stevenson is coming off of a promising rookie season where he took part in 12 games and started in two of them. Already, he is proving to be a potential stumbling block for fantasy owners looking at Damien Harris as a viable option. In the 2021-22 season, Stevenson had 678 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns on the ground, and averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Interestingly enough, this is identical to what Harris produced per rush.
Who Got the Edge in Pittsburgh?
The Patriots had a decent bounce-back game away to the Steelers winning 17-14 after losing 20-7 in Week One to Miami. New England averaged 4.9 yards per rush in the game, according to Andrew Callahan of The Boston Herald. The offensive line overall proved to be effective against a Steelers defense without their star player, TJ Watt. The OLB is projected to be out six weeks with a torn pectoral as reported by Nick Shook of NFL.com.
For a deeper overall analysis of the game, check out this article from GridironHeroic’s Jonah Perez. For our purposes, let’s break down the performances of Harris and Stevenson.
Harris and Stevenson Leading the Backfield
Damien Harris started the game and proved to be the leading running back on the day for the Patriots. Harris carried the ball 15 times with 71 rushing yards. Harris added one touchdown on the ground, and two catches on two targets for 16 receiving yards. Oddly enough, the starting running back was only present on the field for 39% of snaps. Meanwhile, Rhamondre Stevenson was involved in 62% of the plays offensively. Stevenson had nine carries, 47 rushing yards, and one reception on two targets with four receiving yards. Statistically, Damien Harris comes out of this game as the clear favorite for New England as the leading running back.
Yet, Stevenson was on the field 23% more of the time than Harris. Though he may see more game time, it seems clear that Stevenson is being used as a “bruiser” type of running back. Standing at 6’0″ and 229 pounds, he can be a big asset with the blocking game. Considering Harris has started the first two games of the season, fantasy owners should be confident in his ability to be a decent RB2 or FLEX. However, he wasn’t on the field more than 40% of the time in this game. This could potentially point to Head Coach Bill Belichick preferring Stevenson’s profile in the backfield heading into the rest of the season.
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Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE