The NFL season is right around the corner, and you know what that means. It’s fantasy football time as well. Mock drafts are closing, pick numbers are exchanged. Football fanatics are gathering up their friends and family. This will be one of two parts of my fantasy football series. One being the New England Patriots because I like to give our fans here at Musket Fire some content. The second will be my sleepers and some tips as well.
The New England Patriots have a lot of guys this year who are great fantasy candidates. Primarily the two players being Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Tom Brady is a great fantasy starter, top five guy every year. Brady put up great numbers being the third best fantasy QB in standard leagues (319 pts). We obviously could say that with Gronk, he’s simply a beast putting up monster points week in week out. Gronk can put up huge numbers (139 pts in 2012, 2nd in leagues). When he isn’t injured of course. That’s always something to think about when drafting him. If you do or are able to get him. Make sure you get a backup, because of those injury concerns. Jake Ballard is a guy who will catch some balls. Now that you know who is gone (Hernandez). He will fill in the second TE role.
Running backs in New England have been huge. I say “backs” because there is usually two or three that are fantasy worthy. Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead, and Brandon Bolden. But wait….. two of those guys aren’t anymore. That’s because Woodhead signed with the Chargers, and Brandon Bolden is probably going to be injured and he will be sharing carries with Lagerrette Blount if he’s even on the 53 man roster to start the season that is. One FLEX option, is one player who is due for a breakout season, is second string RB Shane Vareen. I play in a twelve team league, but we do not have a flex option instead we have a third WR, so in my league he is just a great bench player. Look out from Blount, he could get goal line carries.
Stevan Ridley (191 pts in 2012) is a good option at a number two running back, low-end number one. Most likely going in the end of the 2nd, beginning of the 3rd rounds. If he falls to you, grab him. He’s going to be better than some folks say because he’s learning to catch balls from Tom Brady. I highly recommend him for PPR leagues as well. Shane Vareen who I mentioned earlier is also very good for PPR leagues. He is going to catch around 30-50 balls. A decent amount of carries too as the Patriots third down back replacing Danny Woodhead.
The WR position is a very tricky one for the Patriots, The only guy who is guaranteed to pick up numbers on your team is Danny Amendola filling in for the departed Wes Welker. Great number one option in PPR. he’s most likely going to grab at least eight balls a game. Aaron Dobson is a low-end third WR backup with some upside but he won’t be catching enough to be a number two guy in your starting lineup.. Just a player who will grab five or six touchdowns this upcoming season. Josh Boyce the third WR on the Patriots depth chart, he isn’t going to give you week in week out points but he isn’t a bad guy if you’re looking for some upside and you pray that this guy grabs some touchdowns, same could be said for Michael Jenkins and Julian Edleman.
Stephen Gostowski has always been a great fantasy kicker. He is number one since joining the Patriots. The Patriots rely on his leg despite a slight decline last year. Gostowski is just a very consistent guy who will put up at least eight points a week.
The Patriots defense has mightily improved you can check out my article Defense Rebuilding Done? To see the new guys and moves that the Patriots have done to improve the roster on defense. New England has become a top 15, top 10 defense on some lists. It’s because they have always created turnovers. The Pats being the NFL’s best in TO differential.
If you’re looking to draft one or some of these players. Consider doing mock drafts on whatever site you’re doing so. I play on ESPN, which is my suggestion if you would like to start for your first year. Mock drafts are a great way to see where these players go in the real draft. Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Gronk and Danny Amendola are going to be first Patriot’s off the board this year.
You can follow Martin on Twitter @NucciMartin