The Tom Brady era in New England is officially over. Initially,
it appeared as though Bill Belichick was going to start the season
with Jarred Stidham at quarterback, a 24-year old with four pass
attempts in his young career.
Instead, Belichick made a wise move of adding Cam Newton to the
roster on a very team-friendly ďprove itĒ deal for
a mere $1.7 million. The deal looks like a smart move for both
the player and the team, as Newton has a shot to prove his worth
to other teams for a potential long term deal, and the Patriots
get a massive upgrade at QB and donít have to commit a ton
of money or cap space.
From a fantasy perspective, Newton is a far more exciting option
than Stidham, while also increasing the value of the other skill
position players in the offense. The last time we saw Newton play
at least 14 games was 2018 as a member of the Panthers. Although
he was suffering from an injured shoulder at the time, he managed
to finish as the No.7 ranked QB in FPts/G.
When healthy, Newton has always produced QB1 numbers due to the
rushing production he provides. He has never rushed for fewer
than four touchdowns, and he will likely add another 300 to 500
Considering the fact that the Patriots have little to lose by
running Newton, it would not surprise us to see him used in design
runs around the goal line. If his shoulder is healed and he can
complete over 60% of his passes, Newton could be a nice late-round
QB with a ton of upside.
To say that Sony Michel suffered a sophomore slump would be an
understatement. The former first-round pick out of Georgia managed
just 3.7 yards per carry and failed to reach 1000 yards, despite
earning 247 rushing attempts. He continues to be a non-factor
in the passing game because of James White, and Damien Harris
or Lamar Miller could be in line for more carries should Michel
continue to negatively regress.
On the positive side, he is just 25 years old, and the addition
of the Cam Newton and the threat of QB runs could help open running
lanes for Michel. On the negative side, the Patriots added veteran
Lamar Miller to the backfield stable, possibly indicating that
Michel (foot) may not be ready at the start of the season.
We would not blame fantasy owners who take a hard pass on most
New England Patriots this season, as the absence of Tom Brady
under center for the first time in two decades presents a massive
question mark on the offense.
The addition of Cam Newton does make players like White more
attractive than had the team rolled with Stidham, yet we donít
know how well Newton will gel with this new offense, especially
without a full offseason and training camp to build rapport.
The evolution of Newton leaning on Christian McCaffrey in the
passing game while in Carolina bodes well for Whiteís value
in PPR. Newton connected on just under 100 passes with CMC in
2018, proving naysayers wrong who doubted his ability to throw
to running backs in the flat.
White will likely be a non-factor for most standard leagues,
but his ability to post nearly 80 targets in the passing game
could make him a low-end flex in PPR.
The Patriots signed 29-year-old Lamar Miller to a one-year deal
to add depth to a running back stable that includes Sony Michel,
Rex Burkhead, and Damien Harris. Miller missed the entire 2019
season after sustaining an ACL and MCL tear in the preseason.
Like the addition of Cam Newton, this is a low-risk move by the
team as the Patriots embark on a new era without Tom Brady under
center. At 29 years of age, Miller is already likely past his
prime and will prove to be more of a valuable real life player
than a fantasy option.
We donít know how much Damien Harris will play into the mix,
and James White and Sony Michel (if healthy) have their roles
defined in the offense.
Edelman enters uncharted waters as a professional football player
now that his Bosom Buddy, Tom Brady, migrated south to join the
Tampa Bay Bucs. Without the comfort level of Brady and the rapport
they have developed over the years, Edelman may see steep declines
in his efficiency.
On the positive side, there are not many options for Cam Newton
to throw to other than Edelman and James White, which could lead
to a large target share for each player.
Edelman did post the most receiving yards of his career and hit
150 or more targets for the second time, which is a good sign
for anyone wondering if he has lost anything at age 34.
If you play in a full PPR league, Edelman should still put up solid
volume numbers, even if he does see a downgrade in efficiency. In
standard leagues, he does not carry as much value.
An ankle injury limited Sanuís time with the Patriots in
2019 after the team acquired the veteran wide receiver from the
Falcons. In eight games, San caught 26-of-47 targets for 207 yards
According to the teamís training staff, the 31-year-old
veteran is fully healed and ready to contribute in 2020. Unfortunately,
the first ballot hall of fame quarterback that Sanu played with
the last time he was on the field is now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.
The addition of Cam Newton does make receivers like Sanu and
NíKeal Harry more attractive than before when it appeared
as though the team planned on rolling with Jarred Stidham. But
the volume that Sanu needs to be fantasy relevant will not likely
be there, making him a player to avoid in all but the deepest
Injuries plagued Harry in his rookie season, leaving the former
first-round pick with just seven games from Week 11 through the
teamís wild card loss at home to the Titans. Harry clearly
did not have a rapport with Tom Brady, as the two continually
were off their timing routes.
Perhaps a new start with a new quarterback will help Harry with
his timing and confidence, and maybe he will have a stronger rapport
From a fantasy perspective, it is difficult to envision how Harry
will have much value as the No.3 wide receiver on a team that
will likely look to run the ball and play defense. Although Cam
Newton does have a history of making big bodied receivers like
Harry fantasy relevant (Devin Funchess), the team still projects
to be a run-heavy offense.