Bill Belichick believes Damien Harris is in a different spot this year and looks ready to compete for the top role. This is an uncommon statement from Belichick and paints a picture of how highly Harris is viewed. (Phil Perry on Twitter)
Harris missed the first and last three games of the 2020 season, but from Weeks 4–14, he received 137 carries and ran for 691 yards. Over a 16-game season that would have come out to 219 carries for 1,109 rushing yards. The third-year pro is unlikely to be involved in the passing game, but that doesn't mean Harris isn't valuable in fantasy. He's currently being drafted as the RB35 and fantasy managers should be all over that price. Harris could be a "Josh Jacobs-lite" type of fantasy running back. One thing that will continue to hold him back, however, is Cam Newton. Harris only scored two times last season, while Newton racked up 19 carries inside the 5-yard line. However, if Mac Jones is the starter at any point, Harris' value will increase because he will be in line for all of those goal line carries. The Patriots' invested heavily in their offensive line this offseason and their defense is getting a lot of key contributors back this season. Fantasy managers should be expecting the Patriots' offense to play old-school, power football. They signed two tight-ends in free agency and figure to use Harris a lot to control tempo. The former Crimson Tide running back could easily be looking at 240 carries this season. Such volume will easily allow him to return value at his current price point.