Let’s take a look at what to expect from Rhamondre Stevenson as you prepare for the 2023 fantasy football season.
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Rhamondre Stevenson was selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft after two college seasons at Oklahoma. After spending two years playing at the junior college level at Cerritos College, Stevenson transferred to Oklahoma.
Stevenson immediately grabbed the attention of the Patriots coaching staff during the team’s first preseason game by accumulating 127 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.
Alas, his impressive exhibition game performances would not carry over to start the regular season, with Stevenson used sparingly. He fumbled in Week 1 and was subsequently a healthy scratch until Week 5.
It wasn’t until Week 9 that Stevenson saw a meaningful role in the New England offense, as the bruiser back compiled more than 100 yards from scrimmage. He followed that up with another 100-yard-plus outing on 24 touches in spot-start duties due to a Damien Harris concussion.
And from that point on, Stevenson (93) and Harris (86) split touches nearly 50/50 in the team’s remaining seven games.
All in all, Stevenson experienced a very successful rookie season that savvy dynasty managers took notice of. After entirely escaping the Bill Belichick doghouse in Week 9, Stevenson earned top grades across the board.
He was PFF’s third-highest-graded running back (84.2). Stevenson also ranked 13th in rushing yards and yards per route run (1.41). As a rookie, he was the RB25 in total points scored, eight spots behind his backfield teammate Harris.
The stage was set for Stevenson to take another step forward in Year 2, especially as a receiver with James White no longer on the roster. And Stevenson did exactly that in 2023.
From Weeks 5-16, he was the RB13 in points per game as the Patriots’ lead back. And even when a healthy Harris played alongside Stevenson, the big running back finished third overall in route participation (58%) and targets (88) among running backs.
What’s even more impressive is that Stevenson’s strong campaign en route to an RB10 finish was not fueled by touchdowns. Stevenson was one of the worst RBs converting from inside the 10-yard line as he scored just thrice despite 19 goal-line carries. His teammate Harris scored thrice from inside the 10, on just six carries.
If Stevenson experiences positive TD regression with the red zone role all but his in New England, he will build off a strong sophomore season as PFF’s 11th-highest graded rusher. It’s his backfield with little competition for touches in an offense that should be substantially better than last season.
General Outlook for 2023 and Rest of Career
Harris has been replaced by human meat shield James Robinson on a monopoly money and heavily incentive-based contract making him no lock to make the roster. The low commitment suggests that Stevenson’s role in 2023 will be more of what we saw from Weeks 5-16 when he was the RB13 in points per game as the Patriots’ No. 1 RB. Stevenson has a sky-high fantasy ceiling that is worth buying into. His combined size and pass-catching props are a fantasy manager’s dream for the running back position.
List of RBs with at least 65 catches + 4.5 yards per carry at 225-plus pounds in one of 1st 2 NFL seasons:
Rhamondre Stevenson 👀
Courtesy of @Stathead
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) May 15, 2023
And that’s why you should be aggressively targeting Stevenson across all formats. He’s got the requisite three-down skill set and size. All that’s missing is the TDs. And that should come in a normal functioning offense.
The last point I want to make is that Stevenson is just that good. I’ve been re-watching his tape from this past season and there’s virtually nothing this guy can’t do. Here’s a sneak peek at some of my major notes on him.
- Stevenson showcases explosive athleticism when operating in open space, making him a threat to break off big plays.
- His ability to quickly hit cutback lanes and get to the edge on pitchouts demonstrates his agility and burst.
- Stevenson exhibits impressive elusiveness, consistently beating and evading defenders after the catch.
- He is comfortable running between the tackles, showing good vision and patience to find running lanes.
- Throughout the season, his route running noticeably improved, adding versatility to his skill set.
- Stevenson displays decisiveness when running up the middle, hitting the hole with purpose and power.
- One of his notable strengths is his ability to consistently pick up additional yardage after contact, fighting for extra yards.
- While not heavily utilized in pass protection, his limited opportunities show potential in that area. The team prefers he is running routes as opposed to staying in to block.
- He showcases great acceleration, hitting the hole with speed and explosiveness.
- Stevenson faced challenges finding success at the goal line, potentially an area for improvement.
- Particularly impressive was his performance against the Raiders in a hostile Black Hole environment, where he played exceptionally well despite coming off an ankle injury the previous week.
- Stevenson demonstrates a relentless attitude in the fourth quarter, showcasing his tenacity and competitiveness.
It’s really just about the touchdowns that will be the difference in him being a low-end RB1 and a top-five fantasy running back when the dust settles on the 2023 season.