New England Patriots
|By Daniel Kalles, Sunday, October 27, 2013|
QB Tom Brady - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 10-20-2013 - Tom Brady has had a slow start to the season, but look for his numbers to start to get back to normal, now that he is getting his receivers back
Update (8-14): Good news out of Patriots camp, at least based on initial fears: MRI on Tom Brady's left knee was negative and the quarterback is considered day to day, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported. Brady went down during 11-on-11 drills on Wednesday following an incomplete pass. Immediate reports included some fearing the worst as the Golden Boy limped off the field, though under his own power. Now it's a waiting game, but at least it appears New England avoided a calamitous situation. Nobody should expect to see him under center when the Patriots take on the Tampa Bay Bucs on Friday. Worth noting is that it is the same knee in which Brady suffered a torn ACL five years ago. This comes on top of significant changes in offensive personnel. We've learned never to doubt Brady and he still has top-5 potential, but the accumulation of issues in a very deep quarterback crop drops him into the back half of the QB1 rankings.
Preview: No sell job needed here. Once again, he had an amazing season in 2012, passing for 4,827 yards and 34 touchdown passes. No matter what scoring system you use, Brady has top-5 fantasy QB potential. The weapons might change, with Wes Welker out and Danny Amendola in, but the production will be the same. Brady plays in the most up-tempo offense and as long as he is healthy, he will continue to put up amazing fantasy numbers. If you get the chance to draft him, enjoy it.
QB Ryan Mallett - Not Draft Worthy
Mallett will go into this season as Brady's back up, making him nothing more than a glorified clip board holder. Not worth drafting.
RB Stevan Ridley - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 10-23-2013- Ridley got off to a very slow start and missed a game due to injury. Has picked it up the last two weeks and looks to be getting back to last year's production
Profile - Ridley went from being part of the Patriots' running game in his 2011 rookie season, to the man in the Pats' running game in 2012. Despite sharing the load with others, Ridley rushed for 1263 yards and 12 touchdowns. There is no reason to believe that Ridley can't put up the same numbers once again, as the Pats seem intent on having Ridley be their go to guy. Ridley's value goes down in PPR leagues as he has only 9 receptions over his 1st 2 seasons. While Ridley is not a top 5 fantasy RB, he probably falls into the top 10-15 range.
RB Shane Vereen - Quality Backup
Update September 10, 2013 - Patriots announced they placed RB Shane Vereen on Injured Reserve with a designation to return.
Update September 9, 2013 - After having a great game in week 1, helping the Pats come back against the Bills, Vereen will miss at least 2-3 games due to a broken bone in his wrist. He gutted it out during the game, but will now miss time after having surgery. Keep him stashed on your bench.
Going into training camp Shane Vereen looks to be the clear cut 3rd down/passing down running back replacing starter Stevan Ridley in those situations. This job was done by Danny Woodhead last season, but he wasn't brought back this season, leaving open a greater opportunity for Vereen. While Vereen didn't do much last season, he showed what he can do in Woodhead's role, when he replaced the injured Woodhead in the divisional playoff round, rushing for 41 yards and a TD as well as 5 receptions for 83 yards and 2 TDs. In a high powered offense like the Patriots, it is worth having 3rd down backs and handcuffs, because if they get a chance to play there is lots of opportunity to put up good fantasy numbers. Additionally, with the departures of Welker, Woodhead and Hernandez, there's a whole lot of balls to go around in this offense. He and Ammendola should be the primary beneficiaries. There's a lot to like about Shane Vereen this year. We highly suggest you add him to your roster in PPR leagues after the sixth round. He's startable due to his pass catching ability, however in the event Ridley were to have an injury, Vereen becomes a Top 10 back.
RB LeGarrette Blount - Bust (overvalued)
Coming out of nowhere in his rookie season, Blount surprised everyone and rushed for over 1000 yards and scored 6 touchdowns. He has barely matched those numbers over the last 2 years combined, which led to his trade to the Patriots. At this point, Blount is nothing more than depth for the Pats and will likely see some time on special teams. Not worth drafting at this point.
RB Brandon Bolden - Not Draft Worthy
Bolden's job in 2012 was to give Ridley a breather once or twice a game, but not being involved enough in the Pats offense to be worthy of taking a look at it, unless of course there are some injuries to the guys ahead of him on the depth chart.
WR Danny Amendola - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 10-20-2013 - After missing a game with a concussion, looks like Amendola will be back in action this week
(Update 10-5): Although tight end Rob Gronkowski appears likely to miss yet another game, the Patriots think they will get at least one of their leading receivers back from injury this week. According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, the Patriots "remain highly optimistic" that wide receiver Danny Amendola will play Sunday against the Bengals. Amendola hasn't played since Week 1 due to torn adductor muscles, but he practiced on a limited basis all week, and the reports on how he has looked in practice have been encouraging.
Update September 11, 2013 - Amendola hasnt practiced with his groin injury and looks unlikely to play in week 2.
Out goes Wes Welker, in comes Danny Amendola. The Patriots hope it is simply that easy and if Amendola can stay healthy, it really might be that simple. But that's a big if, as Amendola has struggled to stay healthy over his career. Missing 22 games over his first 4 seasons. In his 1 full season, Amendola caught 85 passes for 689 yards and 3 TDs. Amendola has a very similar skill set to Welker and might even be faster, so if healthy he should catch at least 85 passes for 1000 yards and 5 TDs. Obviously he shouldn't be drafted as high as Welker would have been, but he should definitely be drafted as a #2 WR, *if healthy, he could put up good numbers -- especially in PPR leagues).
WR Kenbrell Thompkins - Sleeper (undervalued)
From undrafted due to off the field issues (including seven arrests prior to the age of twenty), to a major threat in New England's offense in just over a couple of months. That's the magical ride Kenbrell Thompkins, 25, is on. Camp observers are calling Thompkins a breakout candidate this 2013 season. He's able to run a variety of routes right out of the gate and has shown soft hands that could hint he'll play an important role for this offense. Keep an eye on him.
Update: 8/23: Impressive. That's the word that sums up Kenbrell Thompkins' performance thus far in the pre-season. The other word that comes to mind is upside. With Tom Brady at QB, Thompkins' stock is soaring in fantasy drafts. When names like Chris Givens and DeAndre Hopkins are being called, you should be thinking Kenbrell Thompkins. Consider him as a WR4 with tremendous upside.
WR Aaron Dobson - Sleeper (undervalued)
Update September 7 2013 - Dobson has been ruled out week 1 due to injury.
The Patriots drafted Dobson out of Marshall, because he was fast and big (something they have been missing since they traded Randy Moss -- by the way, also went to Marshall). The Patriots love going deep and looking for the big play. If Dobson can be anything like Moss in the first few seasons with New England, the Patriots' offense will be even more dangerous. Follow Dobson's progression through camp and see if he is able to take hold of the #2 spot on the depth chart that is right there waiting for him.
WR Julian Edelman - Low Potential
Got signed late due to not being healthy this off season. Shortly after re-signing, Edelman suffered a setback, and with no guaranteed money coming his way he isn't a lock to make the roster.
WR Michael Jenkins - Low Potential
Update 8/15/2013 - Jenkins has been released by the Pats.
Signed in the off season from the Vikings. Will likely be battling Donald Jones for a roster spot. Don't see him making much of a difference.
WR Josh Boyce - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Boyce was also picked by New England in this year's draft, but won't be able to practice for a while due to a pre-draft injury. Once healthy, he should compete for time at WR, with a lack of depth at the position. Stay tuned for how he recovers from his injury.
TE Rob Gronkowski - Stud (low risk)
Update October 25, 2013 - Gronk dinally made his long awaited return and while he didnt catch any touchdowns, he was still very effective.. He is now a must start every week
Update September 7, 2013 - While Gronk is making great progress, he will NOT play in week 1. It is possible he plays in week 2, but let us wait and see.
Update August 31, 2013 - Gronk is off the PUP, and making his way back to playing. Look for him to be active any time from week 3 on.
Update June 20, 2013 - Gronkowski has undergone 2 surgeries (forearm and Back) over the past month and there is a chance he isn't ready for the start of the season. Pay close attention to this story. We Will update closer to the season.
Gronkowski is an absolute beast, and when he is healthy, there really isn't anyone who can keep up with him (especially around the end zone). Gronk has scored 38 touchdowns over his first 3 seasons and that includes missing 5 games last year. Gronk's numbers, when healthy, are comparable to any top WR so he should be drafted accordingly. Gronk is scheduled for 2 more off season surgeries, but he should be ready for training camp and if he is, he needs to be drafted in the first few rounds as the #1 TE or even WR in leagues where TEs can be started as receivers. Only thing that could hold Gronk back is his health, so follow how he is doing in training camp.
TE Zach Sudfeld - Sleeper (undervalued)
Update 10-25-2013 - Sudfeld is no longer on the Patriots
Profile - Don't feel bad. Sudfeld was just a guy until the undrafted University of Nevada product began practicing with the Patriots' first-team offense. The 6-foot-7 target moved past Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells on the team's depth chart with Rob Gronkowski recovering from multiple surgeries. He flashed pass-catching credentials last season with 45 receptions and eight touchdowns. Sudfeld's fantasy value is gaining steam and could add serious momentum if Gronkowski opens the season on the six-week PUP list. The epitome of a late round super sleeper.
TE Jake Ballard - Bust (overvalued)
Update August 31, 2013- Despite no Hernandez and an injured Gronk, Ballard was still cut.
Update June 20, 2013 - Ballard seems to be healthy after sitting out all of the 2013 season. With the uncertainty of Gronk and the recent Hernandez saga and release, Ballard could be a huge sleeper. Another guy to follow throughout training camp.
PK Stephen Gostkowski - Stud (low risk)
As long as he is healthy and kicking for the Patriots, Gostkowski will be a top 5 fantasy Kicker. Last season he scored the most points amongst kickers and should be very close to that again this year. Don't expect much competition for his job, you should feel very safe drafting him.
New England Defense - Bye Week Fill-in
Pats Defense should not be on the top of your fantasy list. While they are usually very high up on turnovers, they do not score many touchdowns on those turnovers, they do not generate enough sacks either. They also tend to give up a lot of yards. Look for your fantasy defense elsewhere.