According to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, Patriots RB Rex Burkhead is dealing with a “slight tear” in his knee. Granted, Howe also added “there’s a good chance he could have played through his minor injury,” but the team, “Knowing his value to the offense… have opted to take an extremely cautious path this week.” Nonetheless, Burkhead, who missed six games last season, including Weeks 15-17 due to a knee strain, is growing into a riskier fantasy pick, despite his monumental upside.
Just over a week ago, Burkhead made my “Top Fantasy Football Bargains” list in our Preseason Kickoff Guide. Indeed, everything from his enormous TD upside (8 TDs in only 10 games last season), to his high-end versatility and receiving ability, still make him a potential fantasy monster inside New England’s juggernaut attack. However, considering his injury-ridden 2017, a lingering knee ailment now creates an equal amount of risk to match the reward. While on the field, Burkhead seems likely to match his RB12 PPG output from last season. The question now becomes: how long will he last? Moreover, will the team want to keep using him in goalline situations, where contact is highest? Or will they try to preserve him and utilize him more in a pass-catching role, particularly with an effective hammer like Jeremy Hill behind him? Thus, Burkhead falls a hefty 21 spots in my rankings to 71 overall. He’s now more in-line with his ADP (73) and ECR (64) than far ahead.
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