Patriots 2018 new england patriots Fantasy Preview

Last year might have ended in disappointment for New England, but fantasy owners were pleased with the variety of high-scorers in the Patriots offense. At quarterback, Tom Brady was his usual self, throwing for 4,577 yards and 32 touchdowns en route to another MVP. Brady was the QB3 last year, his 11th season as a top 10 scoring fantasy quarterback. Dion Lewis was a viable option throughout the season for the Patriots, finishing with 1,325 all-purpose yards and nine total touchdowns. James White backed up Lewis and served as his Mini-Me. Much like Lewis in his early years as a Patriot, White remained more valuable as a pass catcher (56 receptions) than a runner (43 rushes). Offseason addition Mike Gillislee had three scores in the season-opener and appeared to be taking the featured back role. That was not the case. He finished the season with more healthy inactives (7) than touchdowns (5). Rex Burkhead, another offseason signing, struggled to stay healthy. He only played 10 games, but was used frequently in the red zone and scored eight total touchdowns, all from inside the 20-yard line. Brady's favorite wideout target, Julian Edelman (WR22 in 2016), tore his ACL in the preseason and missed the entire year. Brady used standout off-season acquisition Brandin Cooks (WR7), Danny Amendola (WR53) and Chris Hogan (WR54) to fill Edelman's void. Rob Gronkowski was healthy for 13 games, which is about all the Patriots can hope for, and finished as the TE1. After scoring as the TE19 in 2016, Dwayne Allen was traded to the Patriots, but finished 2017 with just 10 receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown (TE66).



TE - Patriots

FACT: Gronk has led tight ends in touchdowns in five of the six seasons that he's played at least 11 games. He's also led tight ends in receiving yards in four of those six seasons. If he is playing, Gronk is always a reliable fantasy option.
Offseason Moves

Like any year, many Patriots jumped ship in the offseason for bigger paydays. Dion Lewis (Titans), Danny Amendola (Dolphins), Malcolm Butler (Titans) and Nate Solder (Giants) all signed lucrative deals elsewhere. Brandin Cooks (1,082 receiving yards) was also traded to the Rams for draft picks. The Patriots drafted Sony Michel and signed Jeremy Hill (Bengals) to fill Lewis' void. Michel has the most potential of these Pats running backs with Lewis gone. At wideout, the Pats signed Jordan Matthews (Bills) and traded for Cordarrelle Patterson (Raiders). New England has had success with former Bills in the past (Stephon Gilmore, Chris Hogan, Alan Branch), so the possibility is there for Matthews to turn his career around. Julian Edelman is suspended for the first four games of the season due to a PED violation, but he has recovered from the ACL tear and participated in offseason workouts. Jason McCourty was brought in from Cleveland to form a McCourty-filled secondary and replace Butler. With the Rams first round pick, the Patriots drafted offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn in an effort to solidify the O-line without Solder. They also acquired offensive tackle Trent Brown from the 49ers.

Sleepers & Busts

Tom Brady has a proclivity to rely on sure-things. Over the last 10 seasons, only three players have led the Patriots in receiving yards (Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman) and only four in touchdown catches (Gronkowski, Edelman, Randy Moss, Martellus Bennett). Outside of Gronkowski and Edelman, Chris Hogan is the only familiar face Brady has left. Hogan is the only wide receiver on the roster that had more than 12 catches for the Pats last season. With Edelman suspended and Gronk's health constantly in question, Hogan is a sleeper that will be a reliable starter for fantasy owners. Injuries limited Hogan to just nine games in 2017, but he still finished with more targets and touchdowns than 2016 when he played 15 games. In the first five games of 2017, Hogan had five touchdowns and four games of at least 60 receiving yards. A shoulder sprain hampered him for the rest of the year, missing seven of 11 games, but he erupted in the Super Bowl (six receptions, 128 yards and a touchdown). Hogan will be a dangerous weapon if he stays healthy in his third year as a Patriot.

Any Patriots offensive skill player can realistically turn into a fantasy bust. One fumble or missed assignment and they can be glued to the bench for weeks, if not longer. Julian Edelman is a player that hasn't had too many problems in those areas (21 career fumbles in eight seasons), but he is still in jeopardy of being a fantasy bust this year. It's already known that Edelman, 32, is suspended for four games and coming off a torn ACL. The combination of his age and the injury doesn't bode well for Jules. Wes Welker, a player Edelman has long been compared to, was a Pro Bowler at age 31. The Patriots let him leave in free agency after that year and he responded with a career-high 10 touchdowns at age 32. His production dipped after that season, however, and he was out of the league by age 34. It's not necessarily fair to assume two players will take the same career trajectory, but the signs are there. Edelman will more than likely still be a solid player this season, but he isn't worth the risk considering age and injury concerns.

Fantasy Depth Chart
QB Tom Brady Brian Hoyer
RB Sony Michel Rex Burkhead James White Mike Gillislee
WR Chris Hogan Julian Edelman Malcolm Mitchell
TE Rob Gronkowski Dwayne Allen
K Stephen Gostkowski