Dion Lewis, who tore his ACL in Week 9 of the 2015 season, will have to have a second surgery on his knee and is expected to be placed on the PUP/reserve list. That move will mean that Lewis should miss the first six games of the 2016 NFL season.
BREAKING: #Patriots RB Dion Lewis needs 2d knee surgery, league source confirms. Timetable for his return is uncertain. Tore ACL last Nov. 8
— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) August 21, 2016
The New England offense also got more bad news as OT Sebastion Vollmer is expected to be placed on season-ending IR.
With QB Tom Brady suspended for New England’s first four games and a multitude of injuries hammering the Patriots offense, it has certainly been a difficult offseason for the club. With Lewis now also due to miss a significant chunk of the regular season, Bill Belichick will have to yet again revamp his offense in a quest for another Super Bowl.
In seven games last season, Lewis shined as a pass-catching specialist for the Pats. Lewis averaged 4.8 yards per carry on 49 totes but commanded a healthy 50 targets en route to 36 receptions for 388 yards and four total touchdowns. In PPR leagues, Lewis averaged 17.5 points per contest, which was fifth in the league.
In a 12-team redraft league, Lewis can now be ignored. Although his ADP has remained too lofty, it will begin plummeting into the double-digit rounds. The best approach in redraft is to simply leave Lewis on waivers, monitor his recovery and proactively pick him up a couple of weeks before he returns
LeGarrette Blount remains an excellent value at his current ADP. His role won’t necessarily change with Lewis out, but Blount should see a handful more carries as the team’s first and second-down grinder and short-yardage specialist. Blount offers nothing as a pass-catcher, so other New England backs are expected to fill that void.
James White had a lot of success in that role for the Patriots after Lewis went down last season. Beginning in Week 13, White hauled in 28 receptions down the stretch for New England and scored four touchdowns. He is an instant must-add on waivers and a tremendous late-round selection for those about to draft.
Tyler Gaffney has gotten some first-team reps for the club in camp and could become a factor. Gaffney is a player to monitor in the next two weeks of training camp and the preseason.
It’s entirely possible that Belichick could use a committee of White, Gaffney and even Brandon Bolden to fill that club’s receiving back role. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep or members updated while also updating our 2016 season projections.