Tom Brady is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He owns nearly every
record in the book and is widely considered to be the greatest
quarterback of all time. But for fantasy purposes, the days of
Brady being a QB1 appear to be over, as the Patriots continue
to evolve into a run-oriented offense.
As the 17th-ranked quarterback in fantasy points per game, with
29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, Brady performed on par with
Dak Prescott, Philip Rivers, and Russell Wilson, but he was nearly
five points per game behind the elite performers at the position.
Although Brady continues to play excellent football well into
his 40s, the offensive scheme for the Patriots is not set up to
require Brady to throw the ball a ton. The Pats will look to play
solid defense, run the ball effectively, and take apart defenses
with a short and accurate passing attack.
For fantasy purposes, Bradyís floor does make him a nice,
reliable option to pair with a more volatile option like Jameis
Winston or Kyler Murray.
With six touchdowns in the NFL playoffs and five games of over
110 rushing yards in 2018, Sony Michel lived up to his first-round
draft stock and proved to be a vital key in New Englandís
Super Bowl victory over the Rams.
Early projections after the 2018 season ended appeared to have
Michel jumping up into high-end RB2 consideration, but those bullish
feelings on the second-year back from Georgia flamed out with
the news of Michelís offseason knee scope and the Patriots
selection of Damien Harris 87th overall in the 2019 NFL draft.
There is always a ton of fantasy value to be found on the Patriots,
a team that has finished in the top five in total fantasy production
at the running back position in three of the last four years.
If Michel is fully recovered from his knee scope, his fourth-round
draft ADP is well worth the cost as he will likely be a touchdown
scoring machine. However, owners need to consider the addition
of Harris and what he could mean to the volume of Michel on the
Only Christian McCaffrey logged more targets at the running back
position than James White, and only Kareem Hunt matched Whiteís
touchdown production in the passing game (7). Instead of viewing
White as a running back, fantasy owners should consider him more
of a wide receiver with running back eligibility, who may garner
between 50 and 80 carries this season in addition to his passing
Negative regression is likely going to come Whites way, as the
former Wisconsin Badger posted an increase of 51 targets from
the previous season. But his role in the offense is clear, and
his rapport with Brady is undeniable, making him an excellent
low-end RB in half-point and full-point PPR formats. It should
also be noted that the retirement of tight end Rob Gronkowski
will change the offensive scheme for the team, and could lead
to more targets for White and Julian Edelman.
The Patriots used the 87th pick of the 2019 NFL draft to select
running back Damien Harris from the University of Alabama, a 5í10Ē,
216 tailback who posted 876 yards and nine rushing touchdowns
in a timeshare with Josh Jacobs.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Alabama head coach Nick
Saban have a close relationship and share information about players
and schemes, leading us to believe that the Patriots took Harris
for a reason and the team will utilize him this year.
The question, is, how much will Harris eat into the workload
of Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead? The unknown production
level for Harris makes him a draft and stash player this season,
but an injury to Michel could make him a massive value for owners
willing to take the plunge.
Edelman posted 74 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns on
108 targets in just 12 games last season after missing the first
month of action while serving a suspension. His 11.0 fantasy points
per game where the second-most of his career, and he was on pace
to set a career-high in receiving touchdowns.
With the retirement of Gronk and the unknown surrounding Josh
Gordonís availability this year, Julian Edelman is the unquestioned
No.1 WR for Tom Brady and the favorite target in the passing game
after James White.
The fact that Edelman has yet to post more than seven touchdowns
in a season of his career has always negated his value in non-PPR
formats. However, his likely increase in volume with the absence
of Gronk could make him of the best values of the fourth or fifth
The Patriots did two very un-Patriot-like things in the last
two NFL drafts by using a first-round pick on running back Sony
Michel in 2018 and a subsequent first-round pick on NíKeal
Harry in 2019.
At 6í2Ē, 230 pounds, Harry projects to be a red zone
asset for Brady in the passing game on a team that lost arguably
the best tight end in NFL history to retirement over the offseason.
But offseason reports suggest that Harry has not shined in workouts
this summer, and learning the Patriot offense is a formidable
task for a rookie wide receiver.
Dorsett enters his fourth season as the often forgotten man in
the Patriots wide receiving corps, with just three receiving touchdowns
in 25 games with the team over the past two seasons.
Despite his low touchdown production, Dorsett continues to build
a rapport with Brady and is currently ranked as the No.2 wide
receiver on the depth chart. An injury to Julian Edelman would
likely be required to hoist Dorsett into fantasy relevance in
12 team leagues, but he is someone to keep an eye on and could
be a nice waiver pick midseason.
The Patriots lured Watson out of retirement to join the team
and fill a void left by the departure of Rob Gronkowski.
Watson was ineffective for fantasy purposes last season with
the Saints, posting just 35 catches for 400 yards and a touchdown.
To make matters worse, he will miss the first four games for violating
the league’s rules on performance-enhancing substances.
When he returns to the field, Watson will likely take over the
starting role for Matt Lacosse. How significant that role will
be is unknown at this time, but we do know that the tight end
has always been a part of the Josh McDaniels offense.