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New England Patriots 2020 Fantasy Outlook


For the first time in pretty much forever, the New England Patriots are not being looked upon as a robust AFC contender. This comes after an incredible offseason that saw longtime QB and six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady depart for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team was still competitive without much firepower on offense last season, notching a 12-4 record before losing to the Tennessee Titans in the Wild-Card round.

The Patriots also lost some firepower on the defensive side of the ball this offseason too. Though it was speculated they could take a QB in the draft, New England stayed put and signed veteran Cam Newton at the end of June.

The Pats do enter 2020 with a lot of question marks rather than answers. With a respectable defense and terrific coaching, they can never be counted out. Nevertheless, it will be hard for New England to reach the AFC Championship (per usual) without Brady and a collection of weapons. This holds true on the offensive side of the ball where the QB position will be a battle and the other skill units are not as talented. In addition, many players on the team opted out of the 2020 season, which means Belichick will need to make the best of what he has. Let’s dive into New England’s offense to check out fantasy values.

 

Quarterback

Out is Tom Brady and in is former Panther Cam Newton. He was stuck in free agency limbo for a while before the Pats grabbed him, so they are getting a hungry, competitive player. New England also has sophomore QB Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer.

The Pats will have a QB battle, but Newton should be considered the favorite over Stidham and Hoyer. The 31-year-old is a proven veteran. Nevertheless, it will be risky to draft any of these QBs before Belichick decides.

Newton last played a full season in 2018 with Carolina. The Georgia native compiled 3,395 pass yards, 24 touchdowns, 13 picks, 7.2 pass yards per attempt, 242.5 pass yards per game, a 94.2 quarterback rating, 488 rush yards, and four rush touchdowns in 14 games. He had 62 bad throws and a 13.7 percent poor throws per pass attempt rate. The Auburn product finished 12th among fantasy QBs in 2018. He also ranked 19th in pass yards among NFL QBs, along with 14th in pass touchdowns, 22nd in pass yards per game, 17th in quarterback rating, fourth in rush yards, and sixth in rush touchdowns.

A Lisfranc injury kept “Superman” out of 14 games during the 2019 season, and he only appeared in two games last year. Cam had 572 pass yards, one pick, and -2 rush yards in the injury-shortened season. It is certainly a gamble to draft Cam considering coach Belichick is putting forth an open QB competition. Nevertheless, he does bring potential when he is healthy. Heading into drafts, consider Newton a backup QB in redraft leagues of 10-12 teams. There is room for him to elevate his fantasy potential if he earns the QB1 role and plays well at the beginning of the season.

2019 pick Jarrett Stidham is also in the QB battle and was considered the favorite to start before Newton arrived. Now, it seems unlikely he will be the starter. The Auburn product played in only three games last year and managed 14 yards and one pick. It’s best to avoid an unproven player for your fantasy team even if he ends up being the starter for the Patriots.

 

Running Back

The Patriots have been known to have a stable of running backs and they are all returning for the 2020 season. This includes Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead. With multiple backs, it is hard to pick out a clear-cut elite fantasy option from this unit because all the backs bring their own unique talent.

Michel is the bell-cow back on this team but had foot surgery just three months ago in May. The speediness of the recovery will go a long way in determining if the Georgia product will even play at the beginning of the season. Though he was terrific the past two seasons, his fantasy value is affected by the injury because it is unclear if he will be at 100 percent or even plays during Week 1.

The 25-year-old appeared in all 16 games during 2019 despite dealing with injuries during his two-year NFL career. He stockpiled 247 rush attempts, 912 rushing yards, seven rush touchdowns, 3.7 rush yards per attempt, 57 rush yards per game, 12 receptions, and 94 receiving yards. The back had 1.6 rush yards after contact per rush and 16 broken tackles, along with 46.2 percent of the team rushes inside the 5.

He ranked 10th among NFL RBs in rush attempts, 17th in rush yards, 18th in touchdowns, and 21st in rush yards per game. Among fantasy RBs, Michel finished 24th after ranking 25th in 2018, his rookie year. This is because the RB’s stats during his rookie season were like his sophomore season.

The Florida native offers decent fantasy value when healthy, so he does bring the potential for the same stats in 2020 as the clear bell-cow back on the team. Nevertheless, the surgery from his injury makes it unclear if he will miss time at the start of the season, so consider him an RB3 in 10-team redraft leagues.

James White and Rex Burkhead are the pass-catching backs on the unit. White brings great value in the passing game and was a sneaky good weapon for Tom Brady to dump off passes to. The 28-year-old finished 2019 with 263 rush yards, one rush touchdown, 3.9 rush yards per attempt, 17.5 rush yards per game, 72 receptions, 95/620 targets (15.3%), 645 receiving yards, nine yards per catch, five receiving touchdowns, and 43 receiving yards per game in 15 games. The Florida native finished 29th among fantasy backs.

White has a valuable role in the passing game, so while his rushing numbers have been traditionally low during his six-year career, he makes up for it with his catching abilities. That alone merits flex value for the Wisconsin product in redraft.

The presence of James White negatively impacts the fantasy value of fellow RB Rex Burkhead. The former Bengal has now played three years with New England and has offered modest numbers. Last season, the Kentucky native compiled 302 rush yards, three rushing touchdowns, 4.6 rush yards per attempt, 23.2 rush yards per game, 27 receptions, and 279 receiving yards. He ranked 49th among fantasy backs. The 30-year-old has never been a prolific fantasy option, as he has never accumulated more than 344 rush yards (2016) and 279 receiving yards (2019) in a season. Only consider him depth in very deep redraft leagues.

 

Wide Receiver

The Pats have lost Marqise Lee for the season after he decided to opt-out. This leaves veteran Julian Edelman, former Falcon Mohamed Sanu Sr., and second-year player N’Keal Harry as the three top receivers and most fantasy-relevant players on this unit.

Edelman is a beacon of reliability. The 34-year-old paced the team in receptions, targets, yards, and touchdowns in 2019. The Kent State product notched 100 receptions, 153/620 targets (24.7%), 1,117 yards, 11.2 yards per catch, six touchdowns, and averaged 69.8 yards per game in 16 games. The 2009 seventh-round pick recorded the second-highest receptions and targets and most receiving yards of his 10-year career in 2019.

The 5’10” receiver finished 13th among fantasy wideouts last season. Among NFL pass-catchers, the veteran ranked fourth in targets, fifth in receptions, 18th in yards, and 18th in yards per game. Edelman remains the most reliable option in this passing game. Despite the QB change and longtime buddy Tom Brady departing, the WR’s role on this team should not change. Consider him a WR2 or WR3 in redraft leagues, WR2 in 14-16 team leagues, and WR3 in 10-12 team leagues.

Mohamed Sanu is the WR2 on this roster but is coming off a season in which he played seven games for the Falcons and eight games for the Pats with not so impressive numbers. The Rutgers product compiled 59 receptions, 89 targets, 520 yards, and two touchdowns in total for the 2019 season. It was quite a drop-off in numbers for the 30-year-old compared to his 2017 and 2018 seasons with Atlanta. The 2012 pick finished 71st among fantasy receivers last season. A QB change in New England means Sanu must build rapport with yet another QB. Don’t consider him anything more than a flex in very deep redraft leagues.

Finally, Arizona State product N’Keal Harry had an underwhelming rookie season in 2019 that saw him appear in only seven games due to an ankle injury. The 22-year-old managed 12 receptions, 24/620 targets (3.9%), 105 yards, 8.8 yards per catch, and two touchdowns. The 2019 first-round pick finished 117th among fantasy receivers as a result. Because he is coming off an injury-ridden rookie season and remains unproven, Harry should only be considered depth in very deep redraft leagues.

 

Tight End

Without Gronk on the team anymore, the Pats will likely field a tight end committee in 2020 that consists of Ryan Izzo and rookies Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi. Tight end Matt LaCosse has opted out of the season like WR Marqise Lee.

The 24-year-old Izzo didn’t fare well in his first official NFL season (drafted in 2018, but played in 2019). The FSU product only managed six receptions, 9/620 targets (1.5%), 114 yards, 19 yards per catch, and one touchdown in six games.

This committee will also consist of two rookies who will also fight for the TE1 role. Dalton Keene was drafted in the third round out of Virginia Tech. He played three seasons there and was not all that impressive. The 21-year-old finished his collegiate career with 59 receptions, 748 yards, 12.7 yards per catch, and eight touchdowns.

Asiasi was taken in the third round out of UCLA, just ten picks prior to Keene (Pick 91 vs. Pick 101). The 22-year-old played three college seasons as well, two at UCLA and one for Michigan. His stats are somewhat like Keene. The California native finished college with 50 receptions, 771 yards, 15.4 yards per catch, and five touchdowns.

The Patriots have quite a few tight ends, but none of them are proven. The stats of all three tight ends, whether it was in the NFL or college, were not that impressive. In addition, the committee approach on this unit ruins the fantasy value of all three players. It’s best to avoid this unit in fantasy drafts because it’s impossible to tell who could break out and be the most reliable TE on the roster.



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It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More