New England Patriots: Week 5 Fantasy Flashback


Coming off their fantasy breakout party in Week 4 against Buffalo, the Patriots’ offense continued to look sharp in their Week 5 match-up with Denver. The Pats once again utilized the multiple weapons at their disposal – especially in the backfield – hanging 31 points on the Broncos before taking their foot off the gas. Let’s take a look back at the Patriots’ fantasy output in Week 5.

Oct 7, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) runs against the defense of the Denver Broncos during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

Week 5 Fantasy Stud:

In what is turning into a compelling subplot of the 2012 season thus far, the Patriots backfield once again put up well over 200 yards rushing led by Stevan Ridley. With 151 yards rushing and a touchdown against Denver, Ridley once again impressed with his speed and decision-making, cementing his role as the lead back for the Patriots. However, with his second fumble in as many weeks, it will be interesting to see if his touches are reduced at all, seeing as how Brandon Bolden, Danny Woodhead and even Shane Vereen have all contributed greatly on the ground over the past two weeks. Ridley remains a must-start RB1 each week, but owners should pay attention to the carry distribution this week – and pray that he doesn’t fumble again…

Week 5 Flashback:

Playing against his longtime rival Peyton Manning, everyone expected a fired-up Tom Brady on Sunday. The 3-time Super Bowl winning quarterback did not disappoint as he picked apart the Broncos’ defense with a completion percentage near 75%, 223 yards passing and a touchdown. For the second straight week, Brady added a rushing touchdown, salvaging what would have otherwise been a mediocre game for fantasy purposes. While Brady has been above average this year, fantasy owners are still waiting for him to consistently put up huge numbers and justify his high draft position. Good news: After this weekend’s matchup against a tough Seattle pass rush, Brady goes up against the mediocre/poor pass defenses of the Jets (twice), St. Louis, Buffalo, Indianapolis and Miami over the next 7 weeks…Brandon Bolden received 14 carries and added a catch, looking more and more like Ridley’s main backup. Ridley owners should handcuff themselves to Bolden if he’s still on the waiver wire. While there is much talent in the backfield, Bolden and the other RB options are not really worth fantasy consideration yet because the distribution is so unpredictable. In the past two weeks, Bolden, Woodhead and Vereen have all scored out of the backfield, with Brady adding two short rushing touchdowns of his own…Once again, it was the mighty Wes Welker leading the way in the passing game, putting up 104 yards on 13 catches. His production the past few weeks has rewarded patient fantasy owners, however it might be time to get creative. With persistent trade rumors swirling around Wes in Foxboro, it might be time for fantasy owners to consider fielding offers for the receiver as well. Consider this: If Welker does get traded before the deadline, his situation and opportunities are automatically downgraded no matter where he goes since as a Patriot, he is the ideal fit for one of the best offenses in the league and knows the playbook better than anyone not named Brady. In addition, Wes’ stock is very high right now after a four week stretch that saw him average nearly 9 catches and 120 yards per game –numbers that don’t seem sustainable with tight end Aaron Hernandez likely to return as soon as this week and Julian Edelman’s return on the horizon. Obviously don’t trade Wes just to trade him  – but it might be beneficial to test the waters and see what you can get for him, possibly taking advantage of an owner who isn’t a Patriots fan and therefore not as informed with Welker’s pending situation…With Champ Bailey on him for part of the game and the running game very effective, Brandon Lloyd was quiet against his former team, catching 3 balls for 34 yards. We warned you about the inconsistent production from Lloyd this year…Who knows what’s going on with Rob Gronkowski? His fantasy numbers are dramatically down from last year and with his fellow tight end, the aforementioned Hernandez, returning soon, his opportunities may dwindle. Is it his bothersome hip that’s slowing him down? Is it different game plan with Josh McDaniels at the helm? Whatever the case, last week’s pick for Patriot Start of the Week was missing in action against Denver, totaling just 35 yards on 4 catches. His fantasy owners wait with baited breath (and mouths full of Gronk Flakes) for some kind of explanation…

Oct 7, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork (75) recovers a Denver Broncos fumble during the third quarter as New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo (51) helps on the play at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

The Patriots’ defense put together a solid fantasy outing on Sunday, limiting the Broncos to just 70 yards on the ground while adding 3 fumble recoveries and 2 sacks of Manning. The unit looked extremely sharp through nearly three quarters as the Pats built a 31-7 lead. Once up by 24, the Pats then relaxed the pass rush, played a more Prevent style of pass coverage and switched over to ‘garbage-time’ mode, allowing Manning to pad his passing yard numbers and also add 2 more scores.  So while 345 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and 21 points allowed are not the numbers of a top-10 fantasy defense, it bears mentioning that New England’s D played much better than that when the game was still in question.