As we inch closer to opening day of the NFL season, we want to prepare you for your fantasy football drafts. That process begins with our team previews, where we’ll break down each team’s offense while providing players we’re targeting and, in some cases, avoiding.
Patriots Fantasy Football Team Preview
Head Coach: Bill Belichick (25th season)
Offensive Coordinator: Bill O’Brien (first season since 2011)
Key Offensive Additions:
Key Offensive Departures:
Key Offensive Rookies:
Points Per Game: 21.4 (17th)
Passing Yards: 208.0 (20th)
Rushing Yards: 106.6 (24th)
Vacated Targets: 214 (4th)
Pass: 61 percent Run: 39 percent
OL Rank: 16th
After a rock-solid rookie campaign where Mac Jones finished as the runner-up in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race, he took a step back last season. Jones was 32nd in fantasy points per game with 12.9 last season after finishing 28th in fantasy points per game with 14 his rookie year. Jones is a pure pocket passer who brings no real rushing upside to the table. Outside of best ball, two-quarterback and very deep leagues, Jones should be left on waiver wires in most situations.
Rhamondre Stevenson did his best Alvin Kamara impression in 2022, finishing with 210 carries and 88 targets. He was the Patriots’ entire offense, leading them in carries and finishing second on the team in targets. The front office has made many statements suggesting his workload will be reduced for 2023, as Damien Harris’ injury last season opened the door for Stevenson’s breakout. It’s still unclear exactly what type of veteran runner the Patriots want to pair with him, but they’ve recently been linked to Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook.
Behind Stevenson, Pierre Strong Jr. looks like the change-of-pace back. He’s an undersized speedster with some pass-catching ability who was taken in the fourth round of last year’s draft. Kevin Harris is also in town — he was taken in the sixth round of the 2022 draft — and is a big back with a strong receiving resume dating back to college. While Strong looks like the backup, there’s a roughly one-in-three chance Harris can overtake him during the preseason.
Ty Montgomery is 30, but he has a chance to be in the mix for pass-catching duties, too, even though he has totaled just 35 receptions during the past four seasons. Were the Patriots more predictable with their running back usage, he wouldn’t be mentioned. But Bill Belichick’s backfields have been notoriously hard to project, so Montgomery’s name is worth keeping on your radar.
Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
The Patriots upgraded their offense by hiring Bill O’Brien as their new play-caller. O’Brien worked in New England from 2007-11 and was the offensive coordinator in 2011. This is important because he understands how Belichick wants things to run, and Belichick clearly respects O’Brien enough to bring him back to run the offense.
Jordan Vanek expects the Patriots to utilize a lot of 12 personnel with Mike Gesicki and Hunter Henry. New England lost Jakobi Meyers in free agency but added JuJu Smith-Schuster, a seamless replacement. The one thing to note on Smith-Schuster is that he saw plenty of work outside with the Chiefs, which bodes well for Gesicki to get work in the slot. The other starting wide receiver should be DeVante Parker, but he isn’t dominant and will not be able to truly provide a high floor. The third wide receiver in the rotation is Tyquan Thornton; however, he is only a deep threat, and Vanek doesn’t envision teams allowing Thornton to run free down the field.
These pass catchers are all being selected late in any fantasy drafts, and they shouldn’t be prioritized. The only players of interest are late-round tight ends: Gesicki or Henry. They will both see the field plenty; Gesicki likely out-targets Henry, but Henry gets more red zone opportunities.
Ian Miller: Buy Stevenson (RB13)
Stevenson became the seventh second-year running back to post at least 2.25 yards per team rush attempt and a 15 percent target share. The six priors all posted at least one 18-point per game season. Stevenson’s upside is high, and he doesn’t even need a massive carry percentage to achieve it.
Patriots We’re Targeting in Fantasy Football
Josh Larky: None
Ryan Reynolds: Gesicki
Jordan Vanek: None
Other Fantasy Previews
Follow our Team on Twitter:
Josh Larky: @JLarkyTweets
Ryan Reynolds: @RyanReynoldsNFL
Jordan Vanek: @JordanVanekDFS
Ian Miller: @Dynasty_IM