Updated: Jul 25, 2020
The Patriots were the hottest team in the NFL in the first half of the season. They were 8-0 and dominating teams with their defense. They were allowing 7.6 points per game and 234 yards per game over that span. The Patriots also forced just over 3 turnovers per game. They cooled off and finished the season 4-4. The Patriots still had their outstanding defense during this stretch. They finished the season with the best total defense, 2nd best pass defense, 6th best rush defense, best scoring defense, and the highest turnover margin. The Patriots finished the season with 25 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries. The Patriots didn't have a first-round pick this year because they traded back. They had 5 picks in rounds 2 and 3 and picked a safety, 2 outside linebackers, and 2 tight ends. Star quarterback Tom Brady left in free agency to Tampa Bay. It looked like Jarrett Stidham was going to start at quarterback until they just recently signed Cam Newton. The Patriots should still be one of the top teams in their division. The offense will remain pretty much the same with Newton, but will probably have a couple more quarterback run plays.
Projected Depth Chart:
Quarterback: 1. Cam Newton 2. Jarrett Stidham
Running back: 1. James White 2. Sony Michel
Wide receiver: 1. Julian Edelman 2. N'Keal Harry 3. Jakobi Meyers 4. Marquise Lee
Slot receiver: 1. Mohamed Sanu 2. Damiere Byrd
Tight end: 1. Devin Asiasi 2. Matt LaCosse
Quarterbacks - Tom Brady was a solid quarterback last year for the Patriots. He had 4057 yards on 60.8% completion, 24 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. This was good for the QB12 with 263.68 fantasy points. Brady was a little bit inconsistent as he had 5 games with over 300 passing yards and 4 games with under 200. He was also very boom or bust this year in fantasy with 6 games over 20 points and 8 games under 15.
Tom Brady left the New England Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. To fill the hole left by Brady, the Patriots signed Cam Newton. Last year was the worst season of his career. He only played in 2 games because of a shoulder injury and averaged 8.3 fantasy points per game in those games. He was not responsible for a single touchdown and had a 56.2% completion.
Going into 2020, Cam Newton will have a bounce-back year as the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots. ESPN has not updated their rankings since the signing, and because of that, he is ranked in the 300s. Newton will be a candidate for comeback player of the year if he can lead the Patriots to the playoffs. If Newton gets hurt, look for Jarrett Stidham to step in, who the Patriots like. If Newton is going below the top 16 quarterbacks he will be a great sleeper pick.
Running backs - The Patriots like to run a two-headed monster at running back. Sony Michel is the power back and gets more carries. He ran the ball 247 times in 16 games and had 912 yards and 7 touchdowns. He finished as the RB31 with 152.6 fantasy points. He was very inconsistent as he only had over 10 fantasy points in 7 games and never ran for over 100 yards. Michel also received 10 or fewer carries in 5 games.
James White is the third-down back and gets a lot of receptions. He only ran 67 times for 263 yards and 1 touchdown. He also had 72 receptions for 645 yards and 5 touchdowns. White finished as the RB18 and was pretty consistent. He was a great flex option as he had over 10 points in 12 of his games. White only had 1 game with over 10 carries and never had over 100 rushing or receiving yards.
Sony Michel is going in the 8th-9th round. While I like the volume he gets, I am still going to stay away because of his inconsistencies. He had 8 games with under 4 yards per carry and 4 with under 2.5. James White is going in the 7th round and I like him as a sleeper. He was very consistent last year and would make a great running back off the bench. Cam Newton used Christian McCaffrey a lot in the passing game and I'm sure he will use James White as well.
Wide receivers - Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett were the 2nd and 3rd best receivers on the New England Patriots. Sanu had 59 receptions for 520 yards and 2 touchdowns in 15 games. Sanu finished as the WR58 with 124.1 fantasy points. Phillip Dorsett had 29 receptions for 397 yards and 5 touchdowns in 14 games. Dorsett finished as the WR70 with 100.8 fantasy points.
Julian Edelman had the best fantasy season of his career in 2019. He had 100 receptions for 1117 yards and 6 touchdowns. Edelman finished are the WR8 with 256.28 fantasy points. He had 10 or more targets in 10 games. Edelman had an 8 game stretch from Week 6-14 where he had 10 or more targets in every game. He averaged 19.6 fantasy points per game over that stretch which would've made him the WR2 if he was able to do that for the whole season.
Again, ESPN hasn't updated their rankings yet and Julian Edelman is going in the 6th round. He is by far the best receiver on the Patriots and round 6 is way too low for him. So for now, Edelman is a huge sleeper you can get in the 6th round with top 10 upside. No other receiver on this team will be a viable fantasy option because they all don't receive enough volume to do so.
Tight ends - After Rob Gronkowski retired, the Patriots struggled to find a quality starting tight end. In 2019, they played 3 tight ends and none of them had over 35 fantasy points. Benjamin Watson had 17 receptions for 173 yards and 34.3 fantasy points. Matt LaCosse had 13 receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown with 32.1 fantasy points. Ryan Izzo had 6 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown with 23.4 fantasy points.
The Patriots know their tight end situation is a problem and they drafted 2 tight ends in the 2020 NFL Draft to try and fix it. Devin Asiasi was drafted in the 3rd round and will likely be the starting tight end. You can get Asiasi for free in your fantasy football league. I have him as a deep sleeper because of the previous upside at the tight end position in New England. Dalton Keene was also drafted in the third round but is projected to be the third-string tight end. Matt LaCosse will back up Devin Asiasi.
Sleepers: Cam Newton, James White, Julian Edelman
Deep sleeper: Devin Asiasi
Staying away from: Sony Michel (Inconsistent), all other Patriots WRs (Not enough volume)
Handcuffs: Jarrett Stidham, Rex Burkhead, Jakobi Meyers, Matt LaCosse
I hope you liked 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 22: New England Patriots. Next up is 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 23: New Orleans Saints. Feel free to comment your thoughts on the fantasy impact of the Patriots' offense for 2020.