Patriots: What are the best fantasy football options on the team?
1. Patriots Defense/Special Teams
For the first time in a long time, the most valuable fantasy asset from the New England Patriots might be their defense.
Not Tom Brady, not Rob Gronkowski, not even Stephen Gostkowski with all those field goals and extra points. It’s the Patriots’ vaunted defense that won them their sixth NFL championship in a historic performance against the high-powered Los Angeles Rams offense in Super Bowl 53. While Brady and the offense were the story of the Patriots’ previous two Super Bowl appearances (a win in 51 and a loss in 52), it was Belichick and his brilliant defense that took a starring turn last February in Atlanta.
If momentum is a real thing, the Patriots will start the 2019 season right where they left off: fresh on the heels of what some have labeled “the greatest defensive performance in Super Bowl history.” They return the vast majority of that same roster this fall; the only notable exception is the loss of Trey Flowers, and even that departure was essentially nullified by adding Michael Bennett… who at worst figures to soften the blow of Flowers’ departure, and who at best could represent a significant upgrade.
Even if the Patriots allow opposing offenses to rack up their yardage totals, the hallmark of the Belichick defense is the bend-but-don’t-break principle. New England might concede gains here and there between the 20s, but once they’re playing defense in the red zone, forget about scoring a touchdown. No team has been more consistently stout in scoring defense than the Patriots under Belichick the past 20 years.
The 2019 version of that New England D could be one of the best incarnations we’ve seen since the early 2000s ushered in the first Patriots dynasty. Back in those glory days, it was players like Tedy Bruschi, Richard Seymour, Ty Law, Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison, and Willie McGinest that regularly provided the Patriots with their defensive swagger and mojo. This new-age New England dynasty could belong to different names along and around the defense, including Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, J.C. Jackson, and Michael Bennett.
Last season, the Patriots defense and special teams finished ranked No. 4 in fantasy football scoring, behind only the Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, and Houston Texans. They should finish in a similar place this season – if not even higher altogether. The sky truly is the limit for this season’s defense in New England… both in fantasy and in real-life football.