LeGarrette Blount is back with the Patriots this season after he signed a one-year contract to return. He's coming off a hip injury that landed him on injured reserve in Week 14, but he's expected to be fine for the start of the season. He should continue to share carries as part of a committee backfield for the Patriots, but he should get the majority of carries when healthy and have the chance to work at the goal line. Prior to going down last year, Blount was a No. 3 Fantasy running back in all formats. He finished the season with 165 carries for 703 yards and six touchdowns and six catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. He played 12 games, including when he got hurt, and scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in four games. But when he got at least 13 carries in a game, which happened eight times, he scored at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league six times. Since he plays for Bill Belichick it's hard to guarantee what his role will be on a weekly basis. But if he remains the big back for the Patriots this season as expected, that should allow him to lead the team in carries and be the focal point of the backfield when New England commits to the run. As such, he is worth drafting with a mid-round pick in the majority of leagues.
While playing 16 snaps, Blount recorded 11 carries for 69 yards and a TD in Thursday's preseason win over the Bears, ESPN's Mike Reiss reports. Meanwhile, Blount's main competition for the Patriots' "big back" role, Tyler Gaffney, carried 11 times for 31 yards. Though CSN New England notes that Gaffney ran hard in the contest, Blount appears to be moving closer to locking down the team's power back assignment, with the report suggesting that the 250-pound Blount -- who is bouncing back from a hip injury that slowed him in 2015 -- "looked light on his feet" and "efficient" Thursday "in terms of creating yards on his own."
Blount had nine carries for 20 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's preseason opener against the Saints. In the absence of Dion Lewis (knee), Blount split snaps with James White and Brandon Bolden throughout the first half. Though he only averaged 2.2 yards per carry, Blount converted two of his three short-yardage opportunities, including a one-yard touchdown. Even with Bolden managing 33 yards on four carries and Tyler Gaffney ripping off 64 yards on nine totes, Blount is the favorite to open the season as New England's top power back. Gaffney saw all of his work in the second half.
Blount (hip) was not among the Patriots' players placed on the team's initial preseason PUP list, the Providence Journal reports. Blount didn't participate in any of the Patriots' spring practices, but unless the team elects to add the running back to the list in the coming days, it looks like he'll be able to take the field in training camp. Assuming he is able to re-prove his health in the coming weeks, Blount would appear to have the inside track at reclaiming his role as the Patriots' top "big back."
As training camp approaches, ESPN's Mike Reiss suggests that Blount (hip) "bears watching as it relates to his roster status." Blount, who didn't practice with his teammates this spring as he bounces back from hip woes, is back with the Patriots on a team-friendly one-year deal, so as long as he is able to re-prove his health in camp, we suspect that he'll have a solid shot to reclaim his role as the team's top "big back." If Blount ends up being slowed at all, or injuries impact the Patriots' backfield depth in general as the summer rolls along, it remains possible that team could elect to add further competition to the mix, thus making Blount's status worth monitoring in the coming weeks.
Blount (hip) didn't participate in any of the Patriots' spring practices, ESPN.com reports. Blount's status will thus be worth monitoring as training camp approaches, but in the absence of any setbacks with his hip, we'd expect him to move toward the end of reclaiming the Patriots' "big back" role this coming season. Barring any additional moves by the team to address the running back position, Blount's primary competition for the role should come from Joey Iosefa and Tyler Gaffney. Meanwhile, Donald Brown, James White, Brandon Bolden and undrafted rookie DJ Foster figure to jostle for slotting on the team's depth chart, with the only secure spot on that front belonging to Dion Lewis, who will serve as the team's top pass-catching back, provided he fully recovers from the knee injury that ended his 2015 season early.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|11||11/20||@San Francisco 49ers||32||22.88|
|12||11/28||@New York Jets||3||13.13|
|13||12/04||Los Angeles Rams||23||18.50|
|16||12/24||New York Jets||3||13.13|
|3 Year Avg||148||674||6||6||45||0||107|