As an avid fantasy football participant, I plan to start a weekly analysis of the New England Patriots and their current matchup in terms of fantasy football. This is my analysis and estimations of stats heading into week 1. Good luck with all of your match-ups!
Heading into week 1, I know every Patriot fan is expecting terrific Tom to come out firing on all cylinders and put the Houston Texans in their place, like he normally does. In the past 3 years, Brady has faced the Texans 3 times, averaging 300 yards, 110.5 passing rating, and 3 touchdowns. He has also been sacked a total of 10 times in those 3 games! This last stat is what gives me hesitation about his fantasy production. With J.J. Watt healthy, and all the other weapons the Texans have on defense, I am concerned how our offensive line will hold up. While I do believe we will get the win, I think Brady has an average to decent game.
Tom Brady: 220 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception
Gronkowski is a must start nearly every week he is healthy. He is a tier above the rest, and even tight ends that could potentially match his productions, are very limited. Not to mention, it is no surprise that the Patriots are super thin at wide receiver, which will highly favor Gronk’s fantasy value. However, looking strictly at the numbers, in 4 regular season games vs the Texans, he has scored one touchdown in 3 out of the 4 games. The only game he didn’t score, was in 2016, where it was his first game back from an injury and was only targeted once. In the games he did score, he posted at least 80 yards in each. However, this time around, newly acquired Texan, Tyrann Mathieu, will potentially be matched up with Gronk. Even though Gronk has never played against Mathieu, I don’t expect him to slow down Gronk.
Rob Gronkowski: 8 receptions, 110 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
When you have Tom Brady slinging the rock, it helps the run game tremendously and like mentioned in previous blogs, the Patriots always like to keep the mystery when it come to the running game. With Mike Gillislee cut, and Sony Michel expect to be out in week 1, we can narrow it down to James White, Rex Burkhead, and Jeremy Hill. Since Burkhead himself is dealing with a knee injury, it is possible we won’t see a huge workload from him either. His status is something definitely to continue to watch leading up to Sunday. I believe we can see White getting the majority of the snaps during the game with a healthy amount of receptions, thus making him the most likeable fantasy option. Hill and Burkhead will make some appearances, but their fantasy impact should be minimal.
James White: 45 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 55 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown
Rex Burkhead: (barring further injury news): 22 rushing yards, 24 receiving yards
Jeremy Hill: 37 rushing yards
This section is scary. It felt like each week the Patriots were losing another wide receiver and while I have all the faith in Brady making the offense work with whatever receivers the Patriots put out there, the potential of injury is terrifying. With the main trio being Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, and Cordarrelle Patterson, I am expecting Hogan to be the only start-able fantasy wide receiver. Hogan’s success vs the Texans in the past has been sporadic, posting 9 catches, 171 yards and 2 touchdowns in his last 3 games. However, one of those games was played without Brady. One can make the argument that Patterson has a high upside but is also a very high risk. Same can be said about Dorsett, but until we see how he will be utilized during the game, he should remain on the bench.
Chris Hogan: 5 receptions, 67 yards, 1 receiving touchdown
I want to make it clear I am very high on the Patriots defense this year. With our new defensive play caller, healthy key players, and new faces that have showed a strong preseason, I think it is possible to be ranked in the top 5 in overall defenses in 2018. However, this is a week they should remain on the bench and better options should be explored. This is because of two names, Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. I know it is nearly impossible for the duo to keep up the pace they were playing at last year, I believe they will come out strong and will score some points against whoever they are playing across. My hopes are that the Patriots are able to contain them to some extent.
I would be looking on the waiver wire for the New Orleans Saints Defense, which play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home or the Detroit Lions, playing against the New York Jets and a rookie QB in Sam Darnold at home.