The Patriots have the weird deal where they don’t throw to their starting running back. More so than other teams, they like to have a back who runs, with more of a pass-catching specialist playing in spread formations.
James White is their third-down type guy right now, and he caught 77 passes two years ago. He’s great in that role. Previously, Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen have held that job – playing in spread formations and catching passes, but not running all that much.
At the same time, new England usually has a runner who isn’t much of a pass catcher. And it’s been like this for a long time, dating back to guys like Corey Dillon, Antowain Smith and Laurence Maroney in the first decade of the century.
Since 2010, there have been 18 running backs who’ve started at least half of the season and averaged over 60 rushing yards, while also averaging less than a catch per game. Remarkably, a third of these guys have been New England players. LeGarrette Blount has done it twice, and also Damien Harris (pictured), Sony Michel, Stevan Ridley and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Some of this can be attributed to backs who don’t catch all that well. Blount, for example. But with others, like Michel they catch the ball just fine. It’s more a function of how the Patriots run their offense.
If form holds, Harris and Michel will post decent rushing yardage totals this year (when they’re starting), but unlikely that either is much of a factor in the passing game, really hurting their value in most fantasy formats.
|MOST RUSHING YARDS FOR CATCH-AVERSE BACKS|
|2012||Alfred Morris, Was.||16||20.9||100.8||.7||4.8||105.6|
|2010||LeGarrette Blount, T.B.||10||20.1||100.7||.5||1.4||102.1|
|2010||Michael Turner, Atl.||16||20.9||85.7||.8||5.3||91.0|
|2011||Willis McGahee, Den.||14||17.5||85.4||.5||1.4||86.8|
|2013||Alfred Morris, Was.||16||17.3||79.7||.6||4.9||84.6|
|2012||Stevan Ridley, N.E.||16||18.1||78.9||.4||3.2||82.1|
|2010||Jonathan Stewart, Car.||8||16.0||77.8||.5||2.3||80.0|
|2015||Chris Johnson, Ariz.||10||18.6||77.7||.6||5.8||83.5|
|2011||Beanie Wells, Ariz.||14||17.5||74.8||.7||3.7||78.5|
|2016||LeGarrette Blount, N.E.||16||18.7||72.6||.4||2.4||74.9|
|2018||Sony Michel, N.E.||13||16.1||71.6||.5||3.8||75.5|
|2014||Frank Gore, S.F.||16||15.9||69.1||.7||6.9||76.1|
|2020||Damien Harris, N.E.||10||13.7||69.1||.5||5.2||74.3|
|2019||Carlos Hyde, Hou.||16||15.3||66.9||.6||2.6||69.5|
|2010||BenJarvus Green-Ellis, N.E.||13||15.2||66.8||.8||6.1||72.9|
|2018||Derrick Henry, Ten.||16||13.4||66.2||.9||6.2||72.4|
|2013||LeGarrette Blount, N.E.||8||12.9||66.1||.3||4.8||70.9|
|2016||Jonathan Stewart, Car.||13||16.8||63.4||.6||4.6||68.0|