Here’s a look at the New England Patriots players that will propel you to a Fantasy Football title in 2017 and some other forgettable pieces that may help the real team more than yours. After a busy offseason, we felt it a was a good time to re-examine the Pats prior to the NFL Draft.
Tom Brady, Quarterback – Probably the most obvious Fantasy stud on the Patriots, Brady still has it at almost 40 years old. Prior to capping off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, Brady averaged almost 25 Fantasy points per game while tossing 26 touchdowns to only six interceptions. Barring any unforeseen circumstance, Fantasy owners should expect another stellar season from the future Hall of Famer in 2017 when they draft him in the fourth- to fifth-round range.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Quarterback – In the two games that Brady missed to start the season, Garoppolo threw four touchdowns and no interceptions. He showed the NFL that the Patriots can still win without their star quarterback. He scored 18 and 23 Fantasy points in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, and he should have a future with the Patriots or another team if traded. Based on his performance during Brady’s suspension, should he be traded, his Fantasy value would propel him from a backup to QB1 status.
Danny Amendola, Wide Receiver – With only 29 targets in 11 games in 2016, Amendola doesn’t appear to be the receiver he once was a few years back. He gets a bulk of his work in the return game these days and gets some snaps on third downs, but he doesn’t get enough work to make him an every-week Fantasy player. His value will come on bye weeks or if another Patriots receiver gets injured and misses some time. He finished the season with 23 catches for 245 yards and averaged fewer than 4.5 FPPG.
Malcolm Mitchell, Wide Receiver – The rookie came on late last season just when the Patriots were looking for another option with Rob Gronkowski out for the season. Over the final six weeks of the season, Mitchell averaged double-digit Fantasy points in half of those games, and he looks poised to possibly break out in his second season. It may be easy to forget him come draft day with other top receivers on the team, but that could end up being a mistake. He is a WR4 with WR3 potential.
Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver – Once the top pass-catcher for Brady, he may not have that role in 2017 with Brandin Cooks now in the fold. Either way, he will still be a prime target for his quarterback. He had 160 targets and was two catches shy of 100 in 2016 while averaging more than eight FPPG. He’s still a third- to fourth-round pick in 2017 Fantasy drafts.
Chris Hogan, Wide Receiver – With 680 yards and four touchdowns in his first year in New England, Hogan has made this receiving corps even more dangerous with his big-play ability. He averaged just over six FPPG and should produce similar numbers in 2017 again. He has the ability to put up big numbers in any given week, but also has the potential to not produce up to standards, as the Patriots are so gameplan specific from week to week. He’s definitely worth drafting as a WR4 next season, but be wary about playing him each week.
Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver – Say hello to Brady’s newest weapon. Last season with the Saints, Cooks had 117 targets and more than 1,100 yards receiving, while averaging double-digit Fantasy points. It may be hard to ask those numbers to improve much, but it is possible for him to have the same number of targets or more. Cooks remains a second-round pick in 2017 Fantasy drafts. His skill-set gives the Patriots offense a whole new dimension that will be even more challenging for defenses to slow down.
Rex Burkhead, Running Back – While his role is not yet known, Fantasy owners may want to take a look at Burkhead in the middle of drafts – especially if you subscribe to the zero running back theory of grabbing backs late. Last season with the Bengals, Burkhead averaged almost seven FPPG while only scoring twice. With so many versatile backs in the Patriots backfield, it will be difficult to predict when Burkhead will have much value on a week-to-week basis, but don’t forget about him. He could be a surprise in 2017.
Dion Lewis, Running Back – It’s always a task trying to figure out which Patriots running back will have the better week, but Lewis was always part of the New England game plan. In seven games in 2016, Lewis had almost 400 yards and averaged 5.4 FPPG. The upcoming season will probably yield similar results for him, and he should be considered a late-round pick in drafts. His health makes him much more of a concern, as he’s had injuries the last two seasons that forced him to miss significant time.
James White, Running Back – After a season that saw White get 86 targets with 60 receptions for more than 550 yards and average more than six FPPG, Fantasy owners have to figure that if there is any back to own in the New England backfield, White is the one for now. Fantasy owners should have him on their radar come August as he remains a viable pick in PPR formats.
Rob Gronkowski, Tight End – Regardless of the injury history, Gronk remains the best tight end in Fantasy Football. Even after playing in only eight games last season, Gronk managed to collect more than 500 yards and three touchdowns while averaging nine Fantasy points per game. In 2015, when he played in all but one game, he had 72 catches for 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns. If his injury history scares you away, he may not be a player you want to draft. You will have to invest an early pick to get him, and a guy that is always hurt may not be worth the risk for you. If he does pan out for more than eight games, you will have a decided advantage at the tight end position.
Dwayne Allen, Tight End – There’s a new tight end in New England to complement Gronk, and his name is Dwayne Allen. Last season with the Colts, Allen had 35 catches for more than 400 yards and six touchdowns. Now he’s lining up for the Patriots, and Fantasy owners are expecting TE1 numbers from him and rightfully so. He definitely improved his draft value by moving to New England, and he should put up monster numbers in the Patriots system in 2017.