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The New England Patriots fantasy offense has really stumbled as of late, thanks to multiple injuries to key positions. Quarterback Tom Brady had to play wide receiver for the Patriots to generate an offense against the Philadelphia Eagles, and, well, at least he didn't drop the ball.
The return of tight end Rob Gronkowski has really balanced the Patriots offense that struggles mightily with him out of the line-up:
Tom Brady really misses Rob Gronkowski pic.twitter.com/P2amUZJ4ot— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) December 6, 2015
Quarterback Tom Brady is primed to have a great day against the Titans, although his upside is capped due to blowout potential. The Patriots are monster favorites, which means that teams will typical hand the ball off to their running back in the second half after building up a first half lead. Brady's saving grace is that New England doesn't have a running back, so he'll likely have to keep passing the ball on quick swing passes and screens, as a modified rushing attack, to compensate. He's an absolute must-play against a Titans defense that has fallen apart in recent weeks.
The Patriots have allowed just one quarterback to post more than 12 points in the last seven games (the Giants Eli Manning), so play Marcus Mariota at your own risk. It would absolutely be a Bill Belichick move to try and have a rookie quarterback win through the air against zone defenses, so Mariota has some major yardage upside.
Running backs Brandon Bolden and James White can't be relied on this week and there will likely be a roster move announced later this week as the Patriots will not head into Sunday's affair with only two running backs on the active squad. These players will be game time decisions. The Titans rushing attack isn't great; they run well when playing bad defenses and struggle against good defenses. The Patriots have a good run defense.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola is still limited in practice, so he will play on a snap count behind Brandon LaFell and Keshawn Martin, unless his practice distinction changes. Still, Amendola is the most reliable of all the receivers and will probably end up as the most valuable receiver in the game as neither the Titans nor the Patriots have wide receivers that offer consistent value. Stay away from everyone other than Amendola.
The real moneymaker is at tight end with the Patriots Rob Gronkowski (#1 tight end in fantasy football) and Titans Delanie Walker (#5 tight end). Gronkowski is a full participant in practice and should be the Patriots leading receiver, while Walker is in a different circumstance. New England has been the 4th best team against tight ends. Walker is the heart of the Titans passing offense, but the Patriots can be expected to eliminate him from the game in order to force Mariota to utilize the less talented wide receiver position.