Mac Jones and Bill Belichick had a successful first year together after the Patriots played their first game without Tom Brady on their roster in two decades. But can that success continue? With former defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia now working alongside Joe Judge on the offensive side of the ball, some apprehension with the Pats’ offense is understandable.
However, there’s still plenty of promise both in the fantasy football world and the real one which can benefit your team. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best talent the silver and blue have to offer this year that will help you win your fantasy football league.
Leave Your Fantasy Football Draft With This Player
Hunter Henry, TE
Hunter Henry is currently available in just about 20 percent of leagues on ESPN which is absolutely ridiculous considering his upside. Let’s assume the worst-case scenario for the Patriots is that all the negative press their offense has received is warranted. If that’s the case, Henry is by far your safest bet on this offense. There are few things a young quarterback utilizes more than their trustworthy tight end which Henry proved himself to be last year, finishing the year with five top-12 performances at the position.
Coming off a literal career year with nine touchdowns, the chemistry between Henry and Jones is clear. With a receiver corps consisting of DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, and Nelson Agholor, Henry is by far the most dependable option fantasy football-wise when it comes to pass catchers. At the very worst, Henry will likely become a touchdown-dependent tight end which is essentially what that position has turned into aside from the top three or four players there anyways.
Old Face, New Place
DeVante Parker, WR
DeVante Parker has a well-earned reputation as one of the most frustrating fantasy football wide receivers over the past several years. The 2015 first-round pick has only played one complete season in his entire career but it’s worth noting that in that one season, he finished as the sixth-best receiver in terms of total fantasy football points.
Parker thrives when the ball is delivered deep down the field to him. In 2019, his most successful season, his average depth per target was 14 yards. Meaning the further down you sent him, the more successful he was. This provides a pretty good explanation for his drop-off after 2019 as Tua Tagovailoa took over and the Dolphins played much more conservatively for the next two years, limiting Parker’s effectiveness. Now that the Patriots have more confidence in Mac Jones as he enters his sophomore season, hopefully, they will air it out more leading to more opportunities for Parker.
Parker’s current ADP places him roughly around the ninth round in most leagues. This makes him equal value with the likes of George Pickens, Jahan Dotson, and other risky but promising receivers. While I personally believe this is a little early for him, I can certainly see the promise. If the Patriots show their increased confidence in Jones by allowing him to air the ball out more, Parker is the most likely one to benefit from that.
Potential Fantasy Football Breakout Player
In his rookie year, many expected Rhamondre Stevenson to overtake Damien Harris as the lead back in New England. That wasn’t the case. Stevenson was the clear second fiddle to Harris but even in that role, his rookie year was nothing to sneeze at. He finished the season with 606 yards on the ground and five touchdowns, leaving plenty of promise for him to grow on.
Stevenson is undoubtedly a better receiving threat than Harris, leaving many to wonder if he could fill in a role similar to the one James White had fulfilled for so long in New England. It’s also been reported that Stevenson is going to take over the third-down duties for the Patriots this season. If he can make the most of those situations, it’s entirely possible that he takes over Harris as the primary ball carrier later in the season. His ADP currently ranks him as anywhere from the 29th-36th running back taken.
For a running back that has actual, tangible potential to take over as a team’s primary back at best and is their go-to receiving back at worst, there is some real value there. If you’re lucky enough to be in a league where Stevenson goes undrafted, it’s certainly worth keeping your eye on him with the waiver wire. He’s the perfect stash player to complete your bench in the later rounds to see if the potential is ever fulfilled.
Fantasy Football Bold Prediction
No Patriots Player Finishes Inside the Top-10 For Their Respective Position In Fantasy Football
While this article has been enormously positive toward the Patriots’ offense, it is important to note the distinction between optimism and cautious positivity. It’s no secret that the New England offense struggled throughout the preseason and by all reports, that trend has continued throughout August practices as well.
While Mac Jones, DeVante Parker, Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and others are certainly worth a spot on your bench, depending on anyone outside of Hunter Henry to be your starter is a risky proposition. It’s a difficult task but the best way to approach most players on New England’s roster this fantasy football season is to wait and see.
It’s especially important to note that overreacting one way or the other from Week 1 is a crucial mistake you should avoid. The Miami Dolphins are a team that could land in any three areas: good, bad, or ugly. If you have a Patriots player on your roster already, hold on to them through at least the first three weeks of the season, and if you have eyes on a potential waiver pick-up, follow the same advice to establish a time frame in which to pick them up.
Ultimately, I don’t believe the Patriots will be able to elevate any of their players to the point of being top-tier fantasy football contributors. It’s best to look at everyone outside of Henry as a bye-week replacement and hope that they elevate their play beyond that threshold. At the end of the year though, I firmly believe that this offense, with the changes they’ve experienced and will continue to do so, will be limited.