It goes without saying that the majority of New England Patriots players are typically worth starting in fantasy football. The Patriots have a potent offense and the defense is improving week-by-week; but depending on the matchup, there are situations when you should consider starting someone else.
This week the Patriots will travel to face their divisional rivals, the New York Jets. At 3-3, the Jets have surprised a lot of fans of the league. They are led by a stout defense, though Geno Smith has proved to be a serviceable quarterback in his young career.
Can you trust starting Tom Brady?
Tom Brady is averaging a minuscule 14.4 points per week in standard leagues. For a guy that was drafted as early as the second round, that's what you call a bust. But since Brady is Brady, we all know that the best has yet to come. With a young wide receiver core, injuries at running back, and the loss of his top tight end, Tom has had to fight through a rough start of the season.
Is this the week that Tom Brady becomes a reliable fantasy option? Most people would say no because the New York Jets have allowed the 13th least fantasy points to quarterbacks, and are traditionally known for their great defense. That's true, but upon closer inspection, I believe this could be a week for Brady to put up big numbers.
First, take a quick look at what the Jets have done against opposing quarterbacks in standard leagues:
|Week & Opponent||Player||Fantasy Points|
|1. vs. Bucs||Josh Freeman||11.4|
|2. @ Patriots||Tom Brady||11.2|
|3. vs. Bills||E.J. Manuel||19.72|
|4. @ Titans||Jake Locker & Ryan Fitzpatrick||27.78|
|5. @ Falcons||Matt Ryan||18.76|
|6. vs. Steelers||Ben Roethlisberger||15.66|
Freeman is terrible, we all know what happened with that situation. Tom Brady had only a few days to prepare for that disgusting, sloppy Thursday night game against the Jets. Remember that? Yes, me too, even though I'd like to forget it despite the win. But how about other than those three games? I'd say those quarterbacks held their own against the Jets.
If you factor in that Tom Brady and the Patriots have had a full week to prepare for this game, and that it's their second match against the Jets, then I think you have to believe that there is a greater chance that number 12 has a very good week. Unless you have another good QB on your roster, go with Tom Brady. He won't disappoint you this week.
Is Stevan Ridley the man yet?
Ridley has been nothing but bad news for fantasy owners...until last week against the Saints. The third-year back ran for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns, and in the process may have proven that he deserves his starting job. After receiving 20 carries in six games in 2012, he did that for just the first time this season. Should we expect more of this in the coming weeks? Probably, and there's a good chance you should play him this week. With LeGarrette Blount tilting downwards, it is Stevan Ridley who will be the beneficiary.
The New York Jets have given up the second fewest fantasy points to running backs, but it's not like backs haven't had solid totals against them. In weeks one and three, Doug Martin and Fred Jackson had over 10 fantasy points; and in week five Jacquizz Rodgers had almost 20. The Jets were able to shut down Le'Veon Bell, Chris Johnson, and of course, Stevan Ridley in week two. Despite some of the success the Jets have had, it's hard to sit Ridley after this past week. I would go with him, as it's reasonable to expect one touchdown and 50 yards rushing, at the least.
It's a tasty matchup for the WR
The one weakness on New York's defense is the secondary, at least when it comes to fantasy football matchups. In each week this season at least one receiver has eclipsed 10 points versus the Jets, and the second wide receiver would come up with a very fair number too. Of course, with the Patriots, you never know what receiver will end up with a big day.
Could it be Danny Amendola? Julian Edelman? Kenbrell Thompkins? Aaron Dobson? Who knows? It really comes down to who scores touchdowns, but I don't think you can go wrong with any of these options. They should all be starting this week for your fantasy teams, though I would give Edelman and Thompkins the edge. Keep an eye on Amendola's status come Sunday because there is a chance he doesn't play, which would only increase Dobson's value.
These decisions go without saying
Starting kicker Stephen Gostkowski is a no-brainer. He is a points machine, averaging the third most this for kickers this year. The same can be said for the Defense/Special Teams of the Patriots, as the Jets are allowing the fifth most points this year. In week two the Pats totaled 16 fantasy points versus the Jets, so a similar result should be expected this week.
And of course, if tight end Rob Gronkowski ends up being active for Sunday's game; start him. Even if he only plays 50 percent of the snaps, he should be good for at least one touchdown. The Jets have been terrible defending tight ends this year, allowing Heath Miller, Tony Gonzalez, and Scott Chandler to all have big weeks.