NFL Preview – New England Patriots
Daily Fantasy Sports managers, it`s time to play some football. In the next few weeks, we are going to do a preview of every football team in preparation for the NFL 2015 season. Get ready for some Online Fantasy Football, starting tomorrow.
The super bowl champions, New England Patriots, have been the most successful NFL franchise since Bill Belichick took the job of head coach, in 2000. This team didn’t come without a little controversy over Belichick reign. The latest one, the “deflategate” saga was the biggest football news all summer long. Basically, the Patriots were blamed for deflating the footballs in last year’s AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts. The National Football League reported that super bowl MVP, QB Tom Brady, was aware of the intentional deflation. This led to him being suspended for 4 games by the NFL. Last week, the suspension got overturned by Judge Richard M. Berman of the U.S. District court, leaving Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL the big losers in all of this. There will now be an exciting matchup between Tom Brady’s Patriots and Ben Rothlesberger’s Steelers in September’s 10th 2015 kickoff.
Cash Draft Offensive analysis
QB Tom Brady holds the all-time best winning percentage (.773) in the NFL. He had accomplished 373 completions for 4109 yards 33 touchdowns, while throwing 9 interception, in 2014. He also got sacked 21 times, his lowest total since 2009. The offensive line has a lot to do with this. With no more suspension in the horizon, Brady’s fantasy value just skyrocketed through the roof. The 38 years-old comes back this year to prove that not even the National Football League can stop him to reach the Super Bowl again.
New England didn’t commit to a full time running back since Stevan Ridley, in 2012. Bill Belichick is very meticulous about his game-plan, and it includes using running backs with particular set of skills for different plays. RB LeGarette Blount is the more experienced and skilled one of the bunch. He totaled 547 yards and 5 touchdowns with the Steelers and the Patriots in the past season. Unfortunately for him, he will miss tomorrow’s game against his old team because of a suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. But the undrafted Blount has his sight set towards the 1000 yard mark this year.
RB Brandon Bolden has been with the team for a while, so he knows the playbook quite well. He has collected 89 yards and 1 touchdown in 28 attempts last year. He will likely be starting the first game and run a few plays this season again, but he’s not relevant enough for Fantasy Leagues.
WR Julian Edelman was Brady’s top option in last year’s playoffs, and this chemistry could flow into this season. He finished 2014 with 92 receptions for 972 yards and 4 touchdowns. The small receiver missed a few games because of a concussion. If he stay’s healthy, he could be on his way to break his 2013 overall receiving records.
WR Brandon LaFell had his best season yet, in his first year with the Patriots. He caught 74 receptions for 953 yards and 7 touchdowns, last year. The 28 years-old will start the season on the PUP list, with a scheduled return on week 6 against the New York Jets. He will be a good Fantasy Pick when he comes back.
Antithetical to LaFell’s 2014 season, WR Danny Amendola had his worst season yet. He finished with 27 receptions for 200 yards and a lone touchdown, last season. Amendola did average 24.1 yards in kick returns though. He will once again be the kick returner for the Patriots, but will also have the opportunity to take some snaps at receiver until LaFell’s return to action. Managing both positions might be the way for him to bring some Fantasy Points on the board.
TE Rob Gronkowski played first full season since his all-star 2011 season, and boy did he deliver once again. A healthy Gronkowski is by no means the best tight end currently playing in the NFL. The 26 years-old had 82 receptions for 1124 yards and 12 touchdowns. Most Fantasy Managers are going to choose Gronk at the tight end spot for DFS leagues, week in and week out. Are you?
Cash Draft Defensive analysis
The Patriots defense allowed 1669 yards and 6 touchdown against the run, last year. It ranked them 9th in that category. Longtime veteran of the team and their defensive leader, DT Vince Wilfork, left this offseason to go play in Houston. The 2015 first-round draft pick, DT Malcom Brown, will be is replacement. DE Rob Ninkovich led the team with 8 sacks last season, while DE Chandler Jones saw his sack production drop from 11.5 in 2013 to 6 in 2014.
LB’s Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower were the Patriots best defenders in 2014. With them and the return MLB Jerod Mayo from injury, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Beside Wilfork, New England also lost CB Darrelle Revis, who signed with the New York Jets. It is unknown if CB’s Tarell Brown and Malcom Butler will be able to replace the void left by Revis. FS Devin McCourty will be the leading of the backfield this year.
Fantasy Football Outlook
The last team to win back-to-back Super Bowls (2004-2005) have lost a few key players on defense and had to deal with controversy all summer long. It looks like too much of a climb to do it again. But they can still be called the favorites to win the AFC East, this year.