Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2011 Fantasy outlooks: New England Patriots

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

In 2010, Fantasy owners spent most of the year deciding on which tight end to start in New England between Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. It became a frustrating exercise.

Hernandez opened the season as the better Fantasy option, but Gronkowski closed the year as a star. From Weeks 9-16, they alternated scoring touchdowns. If you picked up on the pattern, you knew which one to use.

This year, we hope there is more clarity. Going into the season, we recommend drafting Gronkowski first because he has the ability to score more touchdowns. In 2010, Gronkowski finished with 42 catches for 546 yards and 10 touchdowns on 59 targets. Hernandez, meanwhile, had 45 catches for 563 yards and six touchdowns on 64 targets.

Hernandez missed two games with a hip injury and could see an increase in his touchdowns by playing a full season, but we like Gronkowski as a more reliable target in the red zone. He had 15 red-zone targets and finished with nine touchdowns in 2010, while Hernandez had 12 red-zone targets and finished with six touchdowns.

Gronkowski should be drafted as a No. 1 Fantasy option with a pick around Round 8, and Hernandez should be drafted as a No. 2 tight end with a late-round pick. Both should be successful, but Gronkowski should produce more Fantasy points.

Now if that was the only dilemma in New England then we'd be OK. The Patriots made things difficult for Fantasy owners at the NFL Draft by selecting Shane Vereen in the second round and Stevan Ridley in the third round to make things confusing in their backfield with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead.

We'll address the running backs in our categories below, as well as the receivers with Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Brandon Tate. As for Tom Brady, at least he's guaranteed as a No. 1 Fantasy option in all formats.

He should be drafted in Round 2 after Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees come off the board. The only question when it comes to Brady is what his hair will look like Week 1.

Sleeper ... Deion Branch, WR

I've done several mock drafts with analysts from other sites this offseason, and generally I end up drafting Branch as my third or fourth receiver in Round 7 or later. These are leagues where receptions count for one point and you start three receivers. I know Branch will outperform that draft position. Santonio Holmes is a good comparison for Branch based on last year. If you recall, Holmes was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, but he finished the year with 102 Fantasy points in a standard league. Branch, by comparison, started last year in Seattle, but he played 11 games for the Patriots – or one less than Holmes did with the Jets. Branch had 97 Fantasy points for New England. Now, Holmes is being drafted well ahead of Branch because it's assumed he has more upside. But if you want better value, wait a round or two later and draft Branch. He should be tremendous playing with Brady for a full season. Welker remains a solid Fantasy option as well, and he should be drafted as a No. 2 receiver as early as Round 4 in standard formats and Round 3 in point per reception leagues. And if Tate starts out the season proving that he can be a reliable deep threat for Brady then add him off the waiver wire, but Tate is not worth drafting in most formats.

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value
Quarterbacks
Tom Brady
Running Backs
BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Danny Woodhead
Shane Vereen
Stevan Ridley
Wide Receivers
Wes Welker
Deion Branch
Brandon Tate
Julian Edelman
Taylor Price
Tight Ends
Rob Gronkowski
Aaron Hernandez
Alge Crumpler
Kicker/DST
Stephen Gostkowski
Patriots DST

Bust ... BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB

Add Woodhead to this category because the Patriots will likely work Vereen and Ridley into the rotation after drafting them with high picks. This isn't like aging veterans in Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris or a bust like Laurence Maroney – these kids are expected to play. Green-Ellis was a star last season with 229 carries for 1,008 yards and 13 touchdowns. Even with just 12 catches for 85 yards he finished as the No. 15 Fantasy running back in standard leagues. Woodhead finished as the No. 28 Fantasy running back with 97 carries for 547 yards and five touchdowns and 34 catches for 379 yards and a touchdown. But Green-Ellis and Woodhead can expect a decline in production. Ridley could take away goal-line work from Green-Ellis, and Vereen can take away third-down work from Woodhead. Along with that, the Patriots might bring back Kevin Faulk, which will also hamper Woodhead. Now, it's not like Green-Ellis will lose his starting job. He still has value as a No. 3 Fantasy running back in standard leagues, and he's worth drafting in Round 5 or 6 at the earliest. But if you reach for him before then you are making a mistake. As for Woodhead, he should be drafted in Round 10 or 11 in standard leagues. If Faulk returns as a free agent, however, his value will decline even further.

Keeper-league target ... Shane Vereen, RB

Add Ridley to this category as well. The Patriots backfield in 2012 has the potential to be Ridley and Vereen sharing carries, but we like Vereen with more Fantasy value down the road. You're not going to see Vereen drafted in most standard formats, but he could be worth drafting with a late-round pick in point per reception leagues. And in dynasty and keeper leagues, you can draft Vereen with a mid-round pick. He was a star at Cal last year with 1,167 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. As for Ridley, he is suited to work at the goal line and in short-yardage situations at 5-foot-11, 225 pounds. Like Vereen, he's not worth drafting in most seasonal leagues, but you can take him with a late-round flier in touchdown-only formats. He had at least one touchdown in 10 of 13 games for LSU last year.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
@MIA SD @BUF @OAK NYJ DAL bye @PIT NYG @NYJ KC @PHI IND @WAS @DEN MIA BUF

If the Patriots are going to return to the playoffs this season, they'll have to earn it. Their early-season and late-season schedules are sweet, but in between they'll face five playoff teams from last season as part of a difficult eight-game stretch. The Pats will play road games at Pittsburgh, at the Jets and at Philadelphia. Granted, they dismantled the Steelers last year, but the Jets dismantled the Pats last January and gave defensive coordinators a lot to think about. The juicy silver lining: Their final four games are very appealing and should net some big stat totals -- assuming that the Pats are not resting any stars.

Training camp topics

2010 Touches Leaders
* includes postseason
Player Touches
BenJarvus Green-Ellis 252
Danny Woodhead 151
Wes Welker 93
Deion Branch 53
Aaron Hernandez 49
Rob Gronkowski 46

Three positions should keep Fantasy owners busy during training camp: Running back, tight end and third wide receiver.

At running back, you'll want to see how Vereen and Ridley are being used with Green-Ellis and Woodhead. At tight end, you'll want to watch the split in reps with Gronkowski and Hernandez. And at wide receiver, you'll want to see if Tate can make an impact in his third year.

The Patriots don't need much from their third receiver with the production they get from both tight ends and their running backs. But they do need a consistent deep threat, and Tate has the potential to be that guy. If he plays well in the preseason then his value will rise.

Injury update

Tom Brady (foot, probable for the start of training camp) … Aaron Hernandez (hip, probable for the start of training camp) … Kevin Faulk (knee, questionable for the start of training camp) … Stephen Gostkowski (thigh, questionable for the start of training camp)

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Jamey at @jameyeisenberg . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Browns FS Tashaun Gipson (knee) to undergo MRI Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:59 pm ET) Browns free safety Tashaun Gipson will undergo an MRI Monday after suffering a potentially serious knee injury in Sunday's win over the Falcons, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Gipson had to be carted off the field after colliding with teammate Joe Haden in the fourth quarter Sunday. "Gipson is one of the best safeties, one of the top three in the NFL for sure," Haden said. "Losing him, you can't replace him, but in the NFL nobody is going to feel bad for you."

Gipson was seen on crutches after the game. The Browns are set to play the Bills in Week 13.


49ers' Vernon Davis continues dismal season in Week 12 win
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:57 pm ET) 49ers tight end Vernon Davis continued his dismal season Sunday when the tight end was held to three receptions for 21 yards on five targets during a 17-13 win Week 12 against Washington.

Davis has not scored since Week 1 and has yet to catch more than four passes in a game or eclipse more than 50 receiving yards. The 49ers are back in action Week 13 vs. Seattle.


49ers' Michael Crabtree hauls in five catches in Week 12 win
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:51 pm ET) 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree caught five of his seven targets during the 49ers’ 17-13 win over Washington Week 12.

Crabtree’s 58 receiving yards continued his streak of not producing a 100-yard receiving game during the 2014 season. The 49ers next play Thursday against Seattle.


Interceptions not the story for Brian Hoyer
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:50 pm ET) For the third time in four games, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer threw for 300 yards Week 12 at Atlanta.

He had 322, to be exact. It was his second-best single-game total this season. But because of some miscommunication with star wide receiver Josh Gordon, who was making his season debut after serving a 10-game suspension, he also had a season-high three interceptions, including two in the fourth quarter, both on passes that sailed well beyond Gordon's reach.

That's what miscommunication will do for a quarterback.

What will Gordon do for a quarterback? Well, even with all that miscommunication, he still led the Browns with 120 receiving yards. And that was with his longest catch going for just 24 yards. He and Hoyer failed to connect on all the deep balls -- again, a product of miscommunication.

The takeaway for Hoyer owners: Just imagine what can do when he and his star wide receiver are communicating. And I don't mean via text. Imagine when they've had more than just a few days of practice, when they've had a chance to get in sync and aren't missing on all those plays they could have made in Week 12.

Hoyer may be a so-so quarterback, but he's a so-so quarterback who could be in for a big finish, making him a player to monitor even in standard 12-team leagues.


Anquan Boldin helps lead 49ers to win against Washington
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:45 pm ET) 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin had a productive day to help lead the 49ers to a 17-13 victory over Washington Sunday.

Boldin was targeted a team-high 12 times and caught nine passes for 137 yards. Boldin had the play of the game on the 49ers’ first possession when he hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The 137 receiving yards marked the first time Boldin had eclipsed more than 100 receiving yards in a game this season.

The 49ers play Seattle Week 13.


Seahawks K Steven Hauschka kicks four FGs in Week 12 win
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:41 pm ET) Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka made four of his five field-goal attempts while adding an extra point in his team's 19-3 win over the Cardinals in Week 12.

Hauschka was successful on attempts from 27, 32, 52 and 40 yards but had a 49-yard attempt blocked in the second quarter. The 13 points represented his highest output of the season, and Sunday's win was his first time in three games attempting a field goal of 30 yards or more. He faces the 49ers on Thursday.


Redskins hold 49ers' Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde in check
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:38 pm ET) The 49ers struggled to get any of their running game going during a Week 12 win against Washington.

Running back Frank Gore struggled to produce rushing for 36 yards on 13 attempts which also included a lost fumble.

Running back Carlos Hyde scored the lone rushing touchdown for the 49ers on a 4-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Sans the touchdown, Hyde was also unproductive with 16 rushing yards on seven carries to go along with the first lost fumble of his career.

The 49ers next play Thursday against Seattle.


Seahawks receivers stay quiet in Week 12 win vs. Cardinals
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:36 pm ET) Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette led his team in receiving yards Sunday, catching his only target for 48 yards in his team's 19-3 win over the Cardinals in Week 12.

No one receiver was able to deliver a breakout performance on a day where the Seahawks led for most the game and attempted just 22 passes. Quarterback Russell Wilson hit nine different receivers with completions in the game, with tight end Tony Moeaki hauling in a team-high four catches for 34 yards.

Tight end Cooper Helfet caught both of his targets for 27 yards and a touchdown, doing most of the work on the 20-yard score after catching the ball behind the line of scrimmage. Tight end Luke Willson (21 yards) and wide receivers Jermaine Kearse (19 yards) and Kevin Norwood (10 yards) each managed just one catch. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin caught two passes but for only six yards.

The Seahawks face a quick turnaround, with a Thursday night matchup with the 49ers on the schedule for Week 13.


Delanie Walker gets back in the game
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:29 pm ET) Tight end Delanie Walker, who had offered only modest yardage since averaging 79.3 in the Titans' first four games, exploded for a career-high 155 on five catches Week 12 at Philadelphia, finishing second on the team with nine targets.

His connection with rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger seemed to get better as the game went on. He first earned his trust with a 68-yard connection early in the second quarter. Then, with the Titans in desperation mode in the fourth quarter, the two hooked up on passes of 26, 13 and 27 yards. Walker also had a 21-yard grab in the second quarter.

It was the second time in four starts that Mettenberger targeted Walker nine times in a game. Considering Walker was active for only three of those starts, the two look like they have a good thing going. And because Walker is one of those tight ends who can actually turn in a big play, as evidenced by his four of 20 yards or more in Week 12, the uptick in targets is an especially encouraging development in Fantasy.

He's back to being a must-own tight end, I'd say.


Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch totals 82 yards vs. Cardinals
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:24 pm ET) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch managed just 39 rushing yards on 15 carries but added 43 yards on three receptions in his team's 19-3 win over the Cardinals in Week 12.

Lynch dealt with a back issue during the game that limited him in the first half, but he was able to return in the middle of the second quarter and play a significant role in the second half as the Seahawks kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard. Lynch delivered his two best performances of the season coming into the tough Week 12 matchup, and he'll look to return to that level of play Thursday in San Francisco.


 
 
 
Rankings