New England Patriots
QB Tom Brady (QB - #3) - Stud (low risk)
The 2011 season was a great one for QBs. Tom Brady was no exception. The Golden Boy had the 2nd best single season in terms of passing yards with 5235 yards -- sitting only behind Drew Brees' 5,476 yards. The Patriots added Brandon Lloyd to their receiving corps, which will only give Brady another weapon. Look for another big season from Brady and he should be considered a top 5 fantasy QB.
Update 8-11-2012 - Brady has had a good off season, comes into the season healthy and looks to have found another big weapon in Brandon Lloyd. No matter what the scoring system in your league is, Brady is a top 5 fantasy QB; draft him accordingly.
RB Stevan Ridley (RB - #16) - Sleeper (undervalued)
In his rookie season, Stevan Ridley was used as a change of pace. With BenJarvus Green-Ellis gone, look for Ridley's carries and stats to rise this season. If he ends up taking over the starting job - as of early August, that looks like the deal - you can expect very similar numbers that the Law Firm has put up the last few years. Follow Ridley throughout the summer and training camp and see how he compares with Shane Vereen and the other backs on the roster.
Update 8-11-2012 - Ridley seemed to be winning the battle for lead back vs. co-2nd year man Shane Vereen and got the start in the first pre-season game. While he looked good rushing 8 times for 40 yards, he seemed to have problem with blitz pick-ups, even getting a talking to by Tom Brady. If his lack of blitz pick-ups keeps up, he will lose playing time.
RB Brandon Bolden (RB - #55) - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Update 8-11-2012 - Similar to when the Law firm came out of nowhere to be a part of the Patriots backfield, don't be surprised if you start to hear Brandon Bolden's name mentioned a little more often. There have been rave reviews around Patriots camp about him and if he keeps this up, he might even push Ridley for some playing time.
RB Danny Woodhead (RB - #67) - Low Potential
You never know with the Patriots, but right now we can pencil in Woodhead as the primary 3rd down back. While he might have a game or two that are worthy of fantasy starts, it will be next to impossible to guess which games those will be. Not really worth drafting at this point.
Update 8-11-2012 - Woodhead is battling 2nd year man Shane Vereen for the 3rd down running back spot. Coach Belichek always likes to have at least one veteran RB on his roster that he can trust when called on. With Faulk and the law firm gone 9and new addition Joseph Addai not even making it to training camp), look for Woodhead's roster spot to be safe.
RB Shane Vereen (RB - #103) - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Vereen only played in five games as a rookie due to injuries and too many other running backs ahead of him on the depth chart. That should change this season as the Patriots attempt to get him more involved in the offense. Look for him to battle Stevan Ridley for the lead back role, if such a thing truly exists in New Engald. Most likely he won't do enough to be a fantasy starter, as the Patriots often go with the hot hand, but he will definitely be worthy of a roster spot. Depending how things shake out, Veereen might even be a starter down the road.
Update 8-11-2012 - By all accounts Vereen hadn't done anything in camp to bump Ridley out of the #1 spot, and looked more like he was battling veteran Danny Woodhead for the 3rd down role.Then he had a really solid pre-season game, rushing 11 times for 64 yards and catching 2 passes for another 17 yards. If the speedy 2nd year back can keep showing this kind of play, he might not just win the 3rd down job, but might steal playing time from Ridley if he keeps messing up on his blitz pick-up.
WR Brandon Lloyd (WR - #20) - Solid/Safe Pick
With Rob Gronkowski injured in the Super Bowl, the Patriots saw that they needed more weapons in the passing game. In comes Brandon Lloyd, who followed offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to New England from their previous stops. Over the past two years (under Mcdaniel's watch), Lloyd has had the best 2 seasons of his none-year NFL career. Lloyd will help the Patriots stretch the field and while he is no Randy Moss, he should put up very solid numbers in 2012.
Update 8-11-2012- Lloyd has looked great in camp and looks like he will get along just fine with his new QB. The Patriots' newest receiver didn't take long to start making impressions as he showed his knowledge of the play book due to his years playing under OC Josh Mcdaniels. Look for Lloyd to have a bounce back season after he dropped off a little last year.
WR Wes Welker (WR - #22) - Stud (low risk)
Plain and Simple, Wes Welker is a stud fantasy receiver. In PPR leagues, Welker is a top 5 fantasy WR and in non PPR leagues he is top 12. The 2011 campaign, stellar, catching 122 receptions and setting career highs in yards (1569) and TDs (9). As long as he is catching passes from Tom Brady, you can expect him to put up similar numbers. Draft as a top WR and don't let any lingering contract banter cloud your vision.
Update 8-11-2012 - Like Brady, not much needs to be said. Welker does what he does and does it well. Welker is a top 10 WR and top 5 in PPR leagues.
TE Rob Gronkowski (TE - #2) - Stud (low risk)
Rob Gronkowski is a pure beast. It seems that guys like him and the Saints' Jimmy Graham are the new wave of Tight Ends-- bigger and stronger than wide receivers and almost as fast, making them very hard to cover. Gronk set all sorts of records last season, including most yards (1327) and most TDs (17) in a single season, to go along with his 90 receptions. Gronk is the #1 TE in fantansy and in leagues where you can use a TE as a WR he is top 10 on that list as well.
Update 8-11-2012- Gronk played in the first pre-season game, proving he is back and ready to play after injuring himself in the playoffs last year. Don't be shy in drafting and enjoy watching the points he will put up for you.Injury Status: Injured Reserve