Friday, July 5, 2013

Fantasy Outlooks: New England Patriots


QUARTERBACK

Tom Brady would be a top 10 fantasy quarterback playing on a high school team, so he'll produce for you no matter how limited his options end up being. That said, this could easily be one of his worst fantasy seasons ever. No Welker, no Hernandez (probably), no Brandon Lloyd, and Gronk probably won't be ready for week one. That leaves Danny Ammendola, who gets injured about as much as anyone else in the league. Brady could easily be throwing to a bunch of rookies, backup tight ends, and running backs in week one. If anyone can handle it, its Brady. However, his production could be in for a steep drop off.

RUNNING BACK

Ridley has apparently come back bigger and stronger and should remain the number one back for this season. I think Ridley will hold the job most weeks and should be a solid RB2. However, this is the Patriots, which means on any given week Shane Vereen could get almost all the touches, so be prepared for that. Vereen is a decent spot starter or flex option because they throw him the ball out of the backfield so much. It wouldn't even surprise me if they started using him as a receiver a bit this year. He's certainly a late round sleeper pick especially in a PPR league.

WIDE RECEIVER

The wide receiver situation is certainly a mess this year in New England. The only recognizable name on the depth chart is Danny Amendola, who is one of the most injury prone receivers in the entire league. When he's healthy, Brady will be feeding him the ball, and he could be a fantasy monster. Unfortunately, there is almost no chance that he will stay on the field long enough to be a truly reliable option. The other two options I would look at is Donald Jones and Aaron Dobson; I'll discuss them more in the breakout player section.

TIGHT END

Who ever thought the Patriots would be struggling at the tight end position? Gronk is leading the league in surgeries while Hernandez is looking for Ray Lewis' old attorney. The Patriots very well might have to turn to people like Jake Ballard on opening day. It's going to be tough for Gronk to be ready week one, and his production will probably be down a notch or two even when he gets back. He will probably be over drafted. I never thought I'd say this, but you should probably steer clear of New England's tight ends this fantasy season.

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS

The Pats defense has improved slightly, but they still shouldn't be relied upon on a weekly basis. Remember to pick them up for the Jets match ups though (remember the butt-fumble?).

POTENTIAL FANTASY BREAKOUT PLAYER

As promised, New England has two potential breakout players this year, both coming from the WR position. The first is rookie Aaron Dobson. In the pre-draft process, he drew many comparisons to Randy Moss. While I doubt he'll ever be that good, he does posses great deep ball speed. If he develops quickly and Brady can find him down field, he could be in for a huge season. The other potential breakout WR is Donald Jones. Jones has been stuck with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback the last few seasons, so being paired with Brady could really unlock his potential. He can also get down the field in a hurry, and has the experience to be ready to start right now. Both guys could go undrafted or very late in your league, so if you have an open spot take a flier on one of these guys.

POTENTIAL FANTASY BUST PLAYER

As I'm sure you've guessed, my potential bust player for New England is Danny Amendola. He can still be a beast when healthy, but asking him to play more than half the season might just be more than he can handle. Do you really want to spend an early pick on that?

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