For the second straight season, Lewis played only seven games, as the knee issues that cut short his 2015 campaign held him out until Week 11 of 2016. Once he returned to the Patriots' backfield mix, he looked like his normal elusive self, but while he was sidelined, James White had established himself as the team's top pass-catching option at running back, limiting Lewis' targets and production once he returned. At 5-8, 195, Lewis is never going to be an every-down option, but he's proven over the last couple of years that he can be an effective weapon when he's healthy. New England's crowded backfield situation likely will prevent him from having any kind of consistent value, but in best-ball formats he might well surprise with a big performance or two.
Lewis announced his presence as a breakout player right away in 2015, racking up 325 total yards and two touchdowns in his first three games. The Patriots were as impressed as anyone, signing Lewis to a two-year contract extension in September. That's a rare move for any team, especially the Patriots - and notably rare when you consider Lewis' modest resume entering the season. Lewis validated the deal with six more quality games, then blew out his left ACL in early November. After undergoing surgery to address the issue, it was hoped he'd be ready for Week 1, but news arrived on Aug. 21 that Lewis would require a clean-up procedure on his knee, with regular season PUP his destiny to start the coming campaign. On the plus side, if you score all the PPR backs for the segment of games Lewis played, he grades out as the No. 7 RB. If healthy, he's a weapon, an obvious favorite of Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. And it's not like the Pats view Lewis only as a satellite player - he collected 12 red-zone carries and five rushes inside the 10 during his two months of play. Quickness and decisiveness has a place all over the field. Nonetheless, there's a limit to how much optimism we can show on a back who has just 124 touches over the last five years. We also have to note Lewis missed the 2013 season with a broken fibula. At 5-8 and 195 pounds, we're always going to have to worry about durability.
Lewis hasn't played in an NFL game over the last two seasons, but he's still somewhat in the mix to help fill the void in the Pats' backfield created by the departure of pass-catching back Shane Vereen. That said, at this stage, James White and Travaris Cadet remain to favorites to absorb Vereen's previous duties.
Lewis has carried the ball just 36 times in his three seasons in the league and spent all of last year on IR due to a leg injury, but is healthy now. Although it's a very limited sample, he does have a 4.8 YPC to show for his career so far. An undersized back at 5-8, 195, he lacks elite speed and isn't well suited to three-down work, but he could carve out a complementary role.
Lewis will battle Montario Hardesty for backup slotting behind clear-cut starter Trent Richardson.
Lewis was given just 23 carries as a rookie last year, with 12 of them coming in Week 17 when the team rested LeSean McCoy. The former fifth-round pick is unknown, but the Eagles view him as McCoy’s backup, so while he may not be a workhorse if McCoy goes down, he’d be the favorite to lead an explosive offense in touches. Lewis offers insurance for McCoy owners and upside for those who take a flier on him regardless.
Competing for third running back role.