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.

Randy Moss
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Perhaps nobody is as thankful for Tom Brady’s return than Randy Moss.  His receptions took a 30% hit, his yardage a 32.5% hit, and his TDs a 52% hit.  It’s not like his 1008 yards and 11 TDs with Matt Cassel were bad, but it was a far cry from the 1493 & 23 he produced in 2007.  Though it seems like Moss has been in the league forever, he’s just 32 and still should have a few high level seasons in him…if he’s motivated.  I’m sure he’s motivated this year as the Super Bowl loss and TB’s injury have left a bad taste in his mouth.

Despite the amazing 2007 season and being one of the best WRs of all time, I still have Moss ranked as the third best WR.  I just think Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson have a little less risk associated with them.  Of course, Moss is going a few picks after them so he is a slightly better value.  I could see Moss putting up 1200+ yards and 12 TDs.  If Brady shows no lingering effects of his knee injury, those numbers could significantly increase.

SPORT FOOTBALL
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Tony Dungy is gone, but I can’t think of a QB more equipped to make the transition than Peyton Manning.  He had so much freedom with Dungy that he was pretty much running the show on Offense anyway.  He lost a weapon in Marvin Harrison, but let’s face it, Mavin wasn’t the same anyways.  Reggie Wayne should bounce back from a somewhat disappointing season.  Anthony Gonzalez should take the next step becoming a weekly fantasy football starter.  Dallas Clark is a top five TE.  Joseph Addai should bounce back giving them balance running the ball (along with Donald Brown) and another weapon in the passing game. 

Manning simply produces.  He has 4000+ yards in all but two of his eleven seasons.  He has never thrown for less than 26 TDs with nine of the seasons having betwen 26-31 TDs.  He has never missed a start.  Is he always the top fantasy scoring QB?  No.  He’s always in the conversation though.  There isn’t a more reliable option in fantasy fotoball. 

He has some tough tests (Miami, Tennessee twice, New England, Baltimore, NY Jets) and some favorable matchups (Arizona, St. Louis, San Francisco, Denver).  His fantasy playoffs schedule (Weeks 14-16) is decent as he faceds Denver, Jacksonville, and the Jets. 

He should be good for another 4200 yards with 30 TDs.  He’ll be drafted mid-second/mid-third round.  He may not put up the numbers Drew Brees or Tom Brady does, but he’ll consistently put up big numbers.


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