Editor’s note: Make sure you sign up for a fantasy football league with Yahoo! Fantasy before the season starts. I’ll be tracking our league all year and I’d love to be able to summarize all Pulpit leagues in a weekly post.
There are five players on the New England Patriots that you can expect to be rostered in every league: QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Julian Edelman, RB Dion Lewis, and K Stephen Gostkowski.
But there are a handful of other players that might be worth a late round pick to stash on your roster in case of injury, or because they emerge as a viable option. We will be using FantasyPro’s rankings for average draft position (ADP).
Here are three players that I will be watching against the Bears to see if they’re worth rostering- or if there is someone else to monitor.
WR Chris Hogan (178.3 ADP)
Hogan’s usually going in the 14th or 15th round, just a hair ahead of fellow Patriots WR Danny Amendola (179.3 ADP). Hogan has been practicing this week, so there’s a thought that he might receive some playing time against the Bears (and if not, well, the Patriots offense will be without any viable receivers).
I thought that Hogan would be asked to take Brandon LaFell’s role in the offense, but he has been lining up everywhere in the formation as both Edelman and Amendola were sidelined this summer. All reports are that he has looked excellent on the field, so I’m intrigued to see if he’s worth drafting.
Remember that LaFell was the 22nd ranked wide receiver in fantasy in 2014, his first and only healthy season with the Patriots. If that is Hogan’s ceiling, then he’s definitely worth a draft pick.
If Hogan looks like he struggles to fit in the offense, then perhaps I might grab WR Malcolm Mitchell (287 ADP) in the final round because he looked good against the Saints.
TE Martellus Bennett (147.2 ADP)
In 2011, Rob Gronkowski was the top tight end in fantasy, while Aaron Hernandez ranked 3rd (sandwiching Jimmy Graham). That’s what I’m looking for with Bennett in the Patriots offense, even though Gronkowski won’t be playing against the Bears. Bennett is currently going in the 12th and 13th rounds, so he could be a major steal.
Does Bennett continue to build off his strong preseason and quality outing against the Saints? Can he improve as a blocker? Does he show a nice connection with Brady? What types of routes do the Patriots have him run, and is he an option in the red zone?
There are a lot of questions, but that’s why I’m excited to see his performance against the Bears.
RB LeGarrette Blount (116.5 ADP)
Just an aside, but K Stephen Gostkowski has a better average draft position than Blount (116.3 ADP vs 116.5 ADP).
I’m watching Blount because I wasn’t very impressed last week against the Saints. He collected 9 carries for 20 yards and a touchdown, but he missed lanes and seemed content to fall over without yards after contact. If Blount can re-establish himself as a punishing running, then I’ll be interested in him again.
But if not, my focus will turn to Tyler Gaffney, who currently doesn’t have an average draft position because no one is taking him. Gaffney ran hard against the Saints, he followed his blocks, he caught the ball out of the backfield, and he plays on special teams. I want to see how Gaffney fares behind the first team offensive line.
Blount needs to have a great day against the Bears, or else there isn’t much of an incentive for the team to keep him over Gaffney.