New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been working directly with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler during off season training, which would imply that Chandler is already invited into Brady's inner-sanctum. Last season, Brady put in extra work with Gronkowski and Darrelle Revis as the team tried to get all of the players on the same page.
Chandler can and will have a major impact in the red zone, as height is extremely valuable by the goal line, and he will likely see some snaps at midfield as an additional run blocker, siphoning snaps away from Michael Hoomanawanui and Danny Amendola.
But it's important to note that Chandler will be a rotational player in this Patriots offense, and he will be the fourth (or probably more likely the fifth) target when it comes to most passing plays.
If we look at the snap breakdown from last season, we see that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will always feature a running back on the field- and which running back is determined by whether or not the opposing defense is any good- which means that there are only four other skill positions available on the offense.
Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and Brandon LaFell claim the first three of those skill positions. This leaves one additional position for the likes of Chandler, Amendola, and James Develin (on rushing plays). This also ignores two running back downs, plays with six offensive linemen, and any such snaps for Aaron Dobson, Brian Tyms, or whatever other wide receiver makes the roster.
Chandler has ranked 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in targets with the Bills offense over the past three seasons, while ranking 2nd, 1st, and 4th in receiving yards. Over the past three seasons, no player on the Bills has accumulated more receiving yards or touchdowns, and Chandler ranks 2nd in both targets (behind Stevie Johnson) and receptions (Fred Jackson).
The former Bills tight end has enjoyed time as one of the team's primary receivers, and now he's dropping down to a likely rotational fifth option. He has just once ranked as a top 20 tight end in fantasy football over that time frame, and his role is only going to decrease.
When he's on the field, he will help the Patriots in disguising their rushing/passing alignment. He will draw coverage up the seams of the field, opening up passing lanes underneath. He will use his height in the red zone and he'll see a couple targets a game.
But when it comes to fantasy relevance, don't expect much of a return from the Patriots TE #2.
I'm now back from my vacation and I'm glad to see everyone again!