New England Patriots: Week 8 Fantasy Preview


If you’re in London this weekend and you see a quarterback drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s with perfect hair, it’s probably just Tom Brady.

The Patriots’ visit to the UK this Halloween weekend has fantasy owners howling ‘aaahoo’ at the prospect of a juicy matchup against a fading Rams defense. Despite being fifth in the NFL in sacks, the St. Louis pass defense has shown signs of cracking recently giving up 5 passing touchdowns over the last two games. Fantasy owners starting Brady and Company this week are hoping once again that this is the week that the Patriot offense draws blood.

Oct 21, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) is congratulated by tight end Aaron Hernandez (81) after he scored a touchdown during the third quarter against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 29-26. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Tom Brady isn’t facing a top-ten pass defense as he has the past three weeks, but the Ram defense is certainly solid in their own right. Before their slight decline in the past few weeks, the St. Louis defense was giving up the sixth fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. It’s very reasonable to expect Tom to get “his” as he always does, but a repeat of his 2009 London performance (308 yards, 3 touchdowns) while possible, is unlikely…After tallying just 99 yards rushing in the last two weeks, Stevan Ridley looks to get back on track against a competent Rams run defense. He’s faced tougher units and put up great numbers this season so you should continue to start him as you would. The absence of Brandon Bolden has little or no impact on Ridley as Shane Vereen or Danny Woodhead will simply continue to see the non-Rids carries like last week…Hey remember when everyone was talking about Wes Welker getting phased out of the offense? Wes leads the NFL in receptions and receiving yards and has been a true fantasy stud for five of the last six weeks. He should be covered by above-average cornerback Cortland Finnegan for much of the game so you might want to temper expectations for Worldwide Wes… In their last three games, the Rams have given up 177 yards per game and four touchdowns to wide receivers. In the last three games, Brandon Lloyd has faced Champ Bailey, the very tough Seattle secondary and Antonio Cromartie. It’s quite possible that Lloyd gets things going again even against this decent secondary – simply because this matchup is better than what he’s been facing. But keep in mind, he’s the riskiest start on the offense each week so you may want to stay away from him if you have a better option. Keep in mind, he had a monster game in London as a member of the Broncos in 2010 – for whatever that is worth …With the news that Aaron Hernandez did not make the trip to London, expectations for Rob Gronkowski should be bumped up this week. The Rams have been great against tight ends in 2012, but they haven’t faced Gronk yet. It wasn’t until Week 7 last year that Gronkowski really took off, a trend we might see repeating itself if last week is any indication…The Patriots defense would be one of the best defenses in fantasy if you could bench their pathetic secondary – but alas, you’re stuck with the whole unit. The Rams should throw a lot in this game both to stay competitive and to exploit New England’s weakness. The defense makes for just a solid play this week and as always, the potential is there for a top 10 fantasy defense-like effort if the secondary has an even mediocre showing.

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