The defending Super Bowl champions have done a lot in the offseason to improve their offense. With additions to the passing and running game, the Patriots are clearly hoping that they can repeat as champions. With the additions becomes tough questions for Fantasy Football owners. Specifically, who can you actually trust on the team?
Must Draft Players
- Tom Brady – Quarterback
- Julian Edelman – Wide Receiver
- Rob Gronkowski – Tight End
Tom Brady served a 4-game suspension to start the NFL season. When he came back for game 5, he tore the NFL apart. Had he played the entire season, he was on pace for 4,736 yards and 37 touchdowns. The offense has only gotten better with the addition of Brandin Cooks and Mike Gillislee in the offseason (more on them shortly). In addition, Rob Gronkowski looks like he will be healthy to start the season and Julian Edelman re-signed for two years. Brady’s going to be good!
As mentioned above, Julian Edelman re-signed for two years this offseason, cementing his spot at the top option for Brady to pass to this season. He is the go-to target for Brady in the offense. While he doesn’t score a lot of touchdowns, he has averaged 4 touchdowns in 3 of the last 4 seasons he played at least 14 games, he has averaged 98 receptions for 1,045 yards a season. Edelman’s draft capital is relatively low considering everyone is drooling over Cooks this year (again, more on him shortly) and he could even be your flex option depending on how you draft.
Rob Gronkowski is a difference maker at the tight end position, when he’s healthy. Since his rookie year, he has played in 15 or more games only 3 times. During those three seasons, he has averaged 81 receptions for 1,209 yards and 13 touchdowns. If he plays 16 games, he would average almost 18 points a game, which is better than a lot of players in different positions, including quarterback! He is a gamble, but a gamble that pays off very high dividends!
Players That Should Probably Be Drafted
- James White – Running Back
- Brandin Cooks – Wide Receiver
Honestly, I hate every running back for the New England Patriots this year. There are 4 running backs that could all be the starter for the team, but Bill Belichick will never let any of them be “the starter” and each one of them will have a great week. Of course, that great week will be when they are on your bench or on waivers. If I have to pick one of them in drafts, I’ll pick James White. If he can build off of what he did in the Super Bowl then he could have a chance to see significant work. However, Belichick may decide that he only gets to play a handful of snaps all season too.
I do not understand all the hype around Brandin Cooks going to the Patriots. Sure, with the Saints he averaged 81 receptions for 1,156 yards and 9 touchdowns. Cooks also played with Drew Brees who throws the ball about a million times a game. Tom Brady threw the ball 432 times last season because the Patriots like to run the ball. Right now, Brandin Cooks is going at the beginning of the 3rd round while Edelman is going at the beginning of the 5th. Cooks owners are going to be upset when they take him in the 3rd and Edelman finishes ahead of him in final points.
Players You Could Draft If Your Rosters are Deep
- Every Other Running Back Besides James White
- Chris Hogan
- Danny Amendola
- Malcolm Mitchell
- Dwayne Allen
You will have no idea which running back it will be, but every week one of the Patriots running backs will be a top 12 running back. Your guess will be as good as mine!
Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell are all victims to the fact that the majority of passing targets go to Gronk, Edelman and whichever running back is the pass catcher that week. Brandin Cooks could see a good number of targets as well, which will leave the other receivers wishing for some.
Dwayne Allen is only worth drafting if Rob Gronkowski looks like he is hurt heading into the season. Sure, he’ll have a game or two where he scores two touchdowns, but it will be on two receptions for two yards. If Gronk were to be hurt, then he would need to be a top waiver wire add in all leagues.
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