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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Team Talk: New England Patriots

It's a brand "New" day for the Team Talk series here at the Brain.  Adam Filadelfo takes us to New England and New Orleans today to talk Pats and Saints football.  Please follow Adam on Twitter: @Frostt24.

Okay, here we go... The Patriots are up!


With all the turmoil in New England this offseason, it's hard to believe there would be much fantasy value. But, I'm here to tell you there is. Some of the value may just be players you have never heard of before.

Tom Brady - Brady is like fine wine: He gets better with age. His receivers may not be household names but even at 36 years old, Brady isn't going to let that stop him. Tom Terrific's knowledge of this offense is all he needs to make these new faces fantasy relevant. He's still a quarterback one and will have no problems throwing for 4,000 yards and 30+ scores. He will be selected after the top three signal callers but will produce just the same. He's still a fantasy stud.

Danny Amendola - The prevailing wisdom seems to indicate that he's just going to step in and replace Wes Welker. While Amendola has all the tools to make New England fans forget Welker, he's nowhere near as durable. If (and that's a very big if) Amendola can stay healthy and plays even close to a full season for the Patriots, he's going to be a top scoring receiver and then some. He probably will be gone by the fourth or fifth round in most drafts but I'm torn on taking a receiver there that I'm fairly certain will not make it through the season healthy.

Kenbrell Thompkins - This guy has sleeper written all over him but after the preseason game vs the Lions, may not be much of a sleeper anymore. He went undrafted so he may have something to prove. His chemistry with Brady is already in mid season formats he's poised to become a household name in New England and to fantasy owners. His ADP has risen a few rounds after the preseason he's had, so you may have to reach for him now. He's a great value if you can get him later in your draft.

Rob Gronkowski - At this time, it looks as if Gronk will avoid the PUP list meaning he can play at any time. He still may miss the first few weeks of the season but thirteen weeks of Gronk is better than sixteen games from most other tight ends, especially when you average that production with a replacement level fill-in when you know Gronkowski will be out. If he's healthy, expect him to be a fantasy contributor again. He's a PPR machine and is one of Brady's favorite red zone targets.

Stevan Ridley - Ridley put together quite a season last year. New England rushed more than they had in recent memory and it paid off. Ridley finished the season with over a 1,000 yards and double digit scores. While he's not a factor in the passing game, he will get his share of carries as the lead back. He should be drafted as a running back two and will deliver that level of production for you.  He's what we call a "P" or a "performer" around here... A safe bet to deliver on draft-day value.

Shane Vereen - Vereen may end up being used more as a receiver than running back to create mismatches for opposing defenses. He's quick and can catch passes. He should rack up receptions and could very well score 8-9 touchdowns. I believe Vereen will have a very solid season and should be drafted as your third tailback in PPR formats. He could very well finish the season as a running back two value in the PPR format.

Zach Sudfeld - Here's another potential sleeper for the Patriots. He could see a lot of action in the absence of Gronk and even when Gronk returns. He's a big target and New England likes to run two tight end sets. I like Sudfeld as your second tight end who could outproduce his ADP.

Julian Edelman - Edelman may end up being the fourth receiver this year which could limit his playing time. When given the opportunity, I think Edelman can be a sneaky play in PPR leagues. Only problem will be figuring out when he'll have that big week due to limited playing time. For now, take a late round flier on him and stash him on your bench. He could provide value if/when Amendola gets injured.

D/ST - The Patriots aren't known for having a good fantasy defense being that they surrender yards and points at an alarming rate. They do have playmakers though. Bringing back Aqib Talib will upgrade a poor secondary and the defensive line is solid. Take into account this defense faces the Dolphins and Jets twice each and the Patriots defense doesn't seem as bad as they've been in recent years.

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