brady
“Brady” by Brook Ward (CC BY-NC 2.0)
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In most years, the New England Patriots come into the season on the same page. Their offseason activities look organized and buttoned up, and they look poised to contend for another championship. This offseason, though, the team has looked disjointed and there is a palpable vibe of uncertainty surrounding the best team in recent NFL history.
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One of the biggest things that has appeared strange this offseason for the Patriots has been their cutting short of offseason team activities. Bill Belichick isn’t someone who normally cuts his team’s workload short. To see that happen is strange, but feels even weirder given all of the turmoil surrounding the team over the last few months with regard to Belichick and his relationship with Tom Brady.
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And Brady’s potentially frosty relationship with Belichick hasn’t been the only issue with the team this offseason. The team has also reportedly thought about trading tight end Rob Gronkowski. While Gronkowski has been an impact player during his career, his inability to stay healthy has hurt the team on a number of occasions. And while the team would want him to stay healthy, dealing the best tight end in the league only furthers the notion that there are some chemistry issues in New England.
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The Patriots have also wasted some time on the quarterback position this offseason. They’ve done so by getting in touch with former Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Hackenberg has been subpar throughout his entire career, and the Patriots clearly don’t need a quarterback given their reliance on Tom Brady. But with Brady prompting the team to trade Jimmy Garoppolo previously, it’s possible that they want backups who pose no real threat to him.
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belichick
“Bill Belichick” by Steve Glass (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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Heading into the next season, the Patriots will be one of the favorite to win the Super Bowl once again. But they have been notoriously slow starters over the last couple of seasons. As a result, it could well be worth using a free bet from Oddschecker to back their opponents over the first couple of weeks of the season as the team turmoil might make it even harder for them to get off to a good start.
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Injuries and suspensions can also derail a season, and the Patriots are dealing with those too. Julian Edelman’s four-game suspension is going to make things difficult on an offense that was looking forward to having him back for week one. And Malcolm Mitchell being hurt thins the receiving corps even further. Even though Brady can make almost anyone into a star receiver, these losses make his job much more difficult.
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The Patriots have a lot on their plate this offseason, with injuries, suspensions, and chemistry problems running rampant throughout the squad. Of course, all of the problems in the world can’t stop them from winning the AFC East due to the subpar competition presented by the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins. But come playoff time, these issues may lead to some problems when the Patriots face off with the best teams in the NFL.

Tom Brady's Thumb
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As Super Bowl 52 approaches, fans around the globe are looking forward to a potential classic. Although, New England Patriots are favorites, following last year’s victory, Philadelphia Eagles certainly have enough strengths in their locker to cause an upset.
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So, as you prepare for the game, and find legal sites to place a bet or watch the spectacle, it’s worth taking a look at what might give either team the edge. One of the deciding factors could be the performance of Super Bowl veteran Tom Brady who has certainly been a vital weapon in the Patriot’s previous Super Bowl successes. But, will the recent injury to the quarterback’s hand mean that he is not at full strength?
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The facts about Brady’s hand injury

Fans were alarmed by the injury to Brady’s throwing hand, which took place during a training session, on January 17 2018. The injury was the result of a collision with team mate Rex Burkhead and little more was known at the time. The fact that Brady missed media availability for a couple of days on the run, and was pictured with what looked like a very bulky thumb, served to cause some alarm. This was especially the case with a vital game against Jacksonville Jaguars looming on the horizon.
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The game against Jacksonville Jaguars

When the Jaguars visited the Gillette stadium, on January 21 2018, it was uncertain just how much of a problem their star quarterback’s hand injury would be for the home team. Tom Brady was certainly giving nothing away when he turned up for the game with his hands in his pockets. The good news for Patriots fans was that the injury did not appear to hamper Brady’s performance in any way, as his 38 throws and 2 touchdowns helped the Patriots to achieve a comeback in the game, and gain a 24-20 win in the fourth quarter.
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It has since emerged that Brady was apparently playing with 12 stitches in his hand during the game. The injury was protected by padding and gloves, and it did not appear to have a detrimental effect on Brady’s performance. This is good news for the Patriot’s team and supporters, now that this win has secured them an eighth Super Bowl appearance.
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Brady’s fitness is very important to the Patriots as they face an Eagles team that should give them a hard fight. This is a team that has the potential to bring the game to New England, and to keep the pressure on, should they be ahead coming into the fourth quarter. There is certainly a chance that the favorites could be in for a shock defeat.

 

Of course, everyone associated with the Patriots will be hoping that their strength is enough to secure their sixth Super Bowl victory in eight appearances. If the team is successful, this will also be the sixth win for Brady; the most for any NFL player. The world will be watching on 4 February, to see what happens..

Martellus Bennett
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Tom Brady got a new toy. Martellus Bennett was brought in to pair with Rob Gronkowski to give Brady two big, athletic red zone targets. He’ll also give defensive coordinator fits.
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Bennett caught 53 passes for 439 last year as he dealt with injuries, but in 2014 he had 90 catches for 916 yards. Bennett has averaged 65.8 catches over the past four seasons.
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Gronk had 72 catches for 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns last year.
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The last time the Patriots had an embarrassment of riches at tight end was 2012 when Gronk had 790 yards and 11 touchdowns and Aaron Hernandez had 483 yards and five touchdowns. In 2011 Gronk had 1,3327 yards and 17 touchdowns while Hernandez had 910 yards and seven touchdowns. The addition shouldn’t hurt Julian Edelman. In 2011 Wes Welker had 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns despite the monster season by Gronk and Hernandez. Brady shined that year with 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns.
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Gronkowski should remain the premier tight end in the league and Bennett is a high-end TE1. The Patriots offense should be as deadly as ever.

Tom Brady throwing
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I know it’s blasphemy for a Patriots fan like myself to not rank Tom Brady in the top five in fantasy quarterback rankings, but that’s how I roll. I try to look at things with an unbiased eye to give my most honest evaluations.
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In an actual game there aren’t many quarterbacks in the league, if any, that I would hand the ball to over Brady in a crucial spot, but you can’t play favorites when assembling your fantasy team.
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Brady is coming off a remarkable season that saw him toss 36 touchdowns to just four interceptions to lead all quarterbacks with a 111.0 passer rating. Oh, and he threw for 3900 yards to boot. Those numbers are sick.
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After averaging 38 touchdown passes over his past three full seasons I must be off my rocker to rank Brady sixth. Hear me out.
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The Patriots drafted a pair of running backs in the 2011 NFL Draft leading me to believe that Bill Belichick is looking to pound the ball on the ground more to take some of the pressure off of his defense.
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I know it didn’t affect him last year, but without Randy Moss, Brady does not have the means to stretch the field. Wes Welker and his young tight ends are nearly impossible to cover, but they aren’t deep threats. I think Brady has a hard time reaching 30 touchdown passes again.
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Brady owners also have to be concerned with Bill Belichick’s schemes. The only thing that matters to Belichick and Brady is the win. There were three games that Brady threw fewer than 250 yards with just one touchdown. There were five more games in which he threw for less than 250 yards and two touchdowns. In half of Brady’s games he was average or better. Three of his three touchdown games saw him pass for 258 yards or fewer.
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We all know he’s capable of putting up a huge game, but more often than not he’s not putting up the monster game.
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In my estimation there are six elite fantasy quarterbacks this year. Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Michael Vick, Peyton Manning, and Brady.  Tony Romo and Matt Schaub are right on the cusp, but a notch below. Ranking Brady sixth is less a knock on him than a testament to the number of top tier quarterbacks.
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What are your thoughts on Tom Brady heading into the 2011 season?
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Also check out:

 


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This week’s topic:
Which rookie’s fantasy stock fell the furthest due to the draft?
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My response:
While his long-term value may be solid, the immediate value of Ryan Mallett took a big time hit. Unless Tom Brady decides to stay home to spend time with Gisele, which would be as understandable as it is unlikely, Mallett isn’t seeing the field for years.
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Brady will turn 34 in August, so the waiting won’t last forever, but it will seem like an eternity for those who use a dynasty league pick on him. In redraft leagues you can forget about calling his name.
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There were a number of franchises looking for a quarterback in the draft. Miami, Seattle, and Arizona still don’t have their QB situation figured out. Mallett could have been a starter in a number of locations, but he gets clipboard duty in New England. It could be the best thing for his career, but that does little for fantasy owners.

Tom Brady throwing
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The AFC East is truly a case of the “haves” and the “have nots”.
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The quarterback position is the most glamorous one in the league, and the Patriots have the most glamorous one at that position. Not only does Tom Brady have the model wife and movie star looks, but he puts up video game numbers. Most quarterbacks would struggle after losing a talent like Randy Moss, but Brady got better. He finished with 3900 yards and 36 touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions. Jay Cutler did that in one game last year. Look for Brady to be the class of the division and among the best in the league again.
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Mark Sanchez doesn’t put up the monster numbers like Brady as he three for just 3291 yards and 17 TDs (13 INTs) last year, but he’s also a winner having been to two consecutive AFC Championships. With their rushing attack Sanchez doesn’t have to carry the team, but he is more than a caretaker. Look for Sanchez to improve once again for the Jets, assuming he gets Santonio Holmes and/or Braylon Edwards back.
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While Ryan Fiztpatrick is a far cry from Tom Brady, he actually was fairly effective for the Buffalo Bills. He threw for 3000 yards and 23 TDs (15 INT) despite playing just 13 games. There were thoughts that the Bills would grab Blaine Gabbert in the 2011 NFL Draft, but Buffalo opted to stick with the Harvard quarterback. He developed a nice rapport with Stevie Johnson, which should continue going forward. Questions remain as to whether or not the Bills will pick up Lee Evans option. If he leaves, it will be a blow to Fitzpatrick. If he stays, Fitzpatrick makes a solid QB2.
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Then there’s Miami. Chad Henne isn’t the answer. There is some talk that the fins will deal for Kyle Orton. He was be a quality QB2 if  he’s reunited with Brandon Marshall. We’ll have to see who ends up getting the nod before we can rate their quarterback situation.


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Tom Brady is on fire. The past three weeks he’s thrown for 341, 326, and 369 yards against the Lions, Bears, and Packers oh my. He’s averaging 261.4 yards per game on the season.
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Once again SMW Clothing is offering up a free t-shirt. All you have to do is guess Brady’s passing yards. Whoever comes the closest without going over takes home the awesome prize.
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Be original. If somebody guessed a total you want, you’ll have to come up with another one. Just leave a comment with your best guess and be sure to check out SMW Clothing.


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There’s no place like home. Vikings fans (and Randy Moss owners) are hoping that is the case. He had a brilliant start to his career with the Vikings catching 17 TD passes as the Vikings took the league by storm going 15-1 until seeing their dreams dashed by the Dirty Birds aka Atlanta Falcons.
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Moss had 574 catches for 9142 yards and 90 TDs in seven years with the Vikings. He had one decent year and one dud with the Raiders before resurrecting his career with the Patriots. He caught 98 passes for 1493 yards and 23 TD in his first season with the Pats as they went 16-0 before being upset by the New York Giants. He followed that historic season with two more 1000+ yard, 10+ TD seasons. Currently he has nine catches for 139 yards and 3 TDs.
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Brett Favre has long expressed his desire to play with Moss and he finally gets his wish. Both Favre and Moss see their values increase. Percy Harvin will draw less attention and should see his numbers spike as well. Visanthe Shiancoe could see less red zone targets, but he remains a solid low-end TE1. Bernard Berrian becomes an afterthought…not that his play didn’t already make him one.
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For the Patriots, Tom Brady’s numbers take a hit. They’ll get by, but I expect them their offense to look more like the pre-Moss years. Wes Welker will draw the shutdown corners now and will also lose some value. Tight Ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski will be used in more two tight end sets and should see an increase in targets, especially in the red zone for Gronkowsi. Brandon Tate will slide into the starting lineup and becomes a borderline WR3. Julian Edelman should get more looks and become a bye week option in PPR leagues.

The Patriots should continue to be one of the better teams both in fantasy and reality, but they aren’t quite what they once were. Perhaps playing more of an underdog role is what they need.

 

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Somewhat difficult
If the Patriots play like they are capable of, their opponent doesn’t really matter. However, facing the Bears in Chicago (Week 14), the Packers at home (15), and the Bills in Buffalo (16) means they could have three bad weather games in the fantasy playoffs. You should keep that in mind when deciding between Patriot players and someone you consider of equal value.

 

Five Star Fantasy Options
Tom Brady – Brady had a great season (65.7 completion percentage, 4398 yards, 28 TDs, 13 INTs, 96.2 passer rating), especially when you consider he was coming off a serious knee injury. Don’t look for another 50 TD season, but he remains one of the elite QBs in the league.

 

Randy Moss – He’s playing for one last big contract. He can disappear a bit when teams get physical, but you know what you’re getting with Moss. 1000+ yards and 10+ TDs.

 

Four Star Fantasy Options
None

 

Three Star Fantasy Options
Wes Welker – He can move up to four star option if he proves that his knee will be OK. He could also slide down to a two or one star option. It’s a matter of how he recovers, and you won’t know until down the road.

 

Patriots Defense/Special Teams – They always seem to be an opportunistic unit. They have some solid match-ups against the Bills twice (Weeks 3 & 16), the Browns (9), and the Lions (12).

 

Two Star Fantasy Options
Laurence Maroney – I don’t love Maroney, but he’s probably the best option the Patriots have. Draft him for RB depth and ride him if he gets hot.

 

Julian Edelman & Torry Holt – If Welker is slow to recover, Edelman can be used to fill the void. Once Welker is back, Edelman will catch the ball, but consistency will be an issue. I don’t think Holt has anything left in the tank, but Belichick somehow squeezes the last bit of production our of veterans.

 

One Star Fantasy Options
Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, and Fred Taylor – Each of them will probably show some value at different points of the season, but you can’t rely on any of them.

 

Taylor Price and Brandon Tate – Keep these guys on your radar, but don’t bother drafting them until they have defined roles.

 

Alge Crumpler, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez – The Patriots have little to offer at TE. Look elsewhere.

 

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

Wes Welker cutting
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

If anyone was ever tailor made for an offense, it’s Wes Welker for the Patriots.  Who loses a Hall of Fame QB in the opening week and hardly misses a beat with a QB that hadn’t started since high school?  Wes Welker, that’s who.  Welker had 112 receptions for 1175 yards with Brady and 111 catches for 1165 yards without him.  The only real difference is the 8 TDs he caught with Brady vs. 3 with Cassel.  I’m still convinced that he could have caught 20 passes in the Super Bowl loss to the Giants, as New York did not have an answer for him. 

The addition of Joey Galloway, who provides another vertical threat can help stretch defense so Welker can work his magic.  He is such a great route runner with amazing hands.  He’s quick, but he’s also shifty, which makes him so tough to defend on quick slants.  He’s even a tough little cat for  his size, taking the hits and popping back up.

Welker is a solid WR2, especially in PPR leagues.  He’ll likely go in the fifth round in standard leagues and as early as the third round in PPR leagues since he catches so many passes.  I see a 110 reception, 1100 yard, 6 TD season for Welker.


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