AFC East: The All-Encompassing 2014 Divisional Preview

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Jul 24, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) watches drills during training camp at the team practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots

Offseason Recap

Rob Gronkowski’s rehab is said to be ahead of schedule. Darrelle Revis is now a Patriot.

Enough said.

Most Important Player in 2014 not Named Tom Brady

Darrelle Revis

With a healthy Revis, I’d be disappointed if the Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl. Without Revis, I’d be surprised if they came out of the AFC. He’s that good; shocking that he appears to be underrated at this stage of his career.

The Patriots Make the Playoffs If …

They show up to the stadium on time each week.

Regular Season Record


Bold Prediction

1) Darrelle Revis is two years removed from his ACL tear. He’s in a system where his skills will be maximized, and he’s aware of the apparent crowning of Sherman and Peterson as the premiere corners in the league; they’re not. Darrelle Revis is. He’ll be the 2014 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

1a) I’m expecting big things from Dont’a Hightower in 2014. The third year linebacker, who was forced to play out of position for a majority of the ’13 season, should excel with Mayo back in the lineup. Hightower will never be confused with a backer who can turn and run with tight ends or running backs i.e., Lavonte David, but he’s an elite run defender who, if given the chance, should make plays behind the line of scrimmage. By this time next year, I’m confident Hightower will be considered one of the better linebackers in the NFL.

Fantasy Stud (Standard Scoring)

Rob Gronkowski

Here’s to hoping Gronk plays a full season. If he does, he’ll finish first amongst tight ends, thus shattering his current ADP of #3 amongst tight ends and #33 amongst all players.

If healthy, expect numbers in the range of 90/1,400/15.

Fantasy Dud (Standard Scoring)

Julian Edelman

I know he’s been a star at training camp, but with a healthy Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, coupled with–what I believe to be–a significant second-year jump for Kenbrell Tompkins, I don’t think there’ll be enough balls to go around. With an ADP of #25 amongst wide receivers, I think there are players with a lower ADP that present better value i.e., Jeremy Maclin, Reggie Wayne, and Michael Floyd.

That said, if Gronk or Amendola suffer significant injuries (imagine that), then Edelman’s #25 ADP would present great value.

Fantasy Sleeper

James White

If Stevan Ridley struggles with ball security, expect White to step in and carry the load on early downs for the Patriots’ running attack. With a stellar offensive line creating holes, coupled with elite play at quarterback, White has a real chance to contribute for the Patriots in 2014 if Ridley struggles to hold on to the ball.