NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Mac Jones was surprisingly the best rookie qb last season, or maybe not surprising if you consider his coach is Bill Belichick. He had the highest completion percentage ever for a rookie quarterback (67.6%) and he had a 144 passer rating against zone coverage so he can pick apart schemes. His weapons are not great but they are better than last season with the addition of Devante Parker and Tyquan Thornton. With a very average WR core in 2021 Jones was league average in touchdown percentage (4.2%), so with improved weapons expect that to increase. His big disadvantage comes from his lack of rushing production severely capping his ceiling. Jones should be taken at best a low end qb2 with a very low floor.
Damien Harris: One of the biggest surprises of the fantasy season last year, Harris finished as the RB13, scoring 15 touchdowns. What‘s intriguing, is that there’s a realistic path toward Harris repeating his TD production in 2022. He had 46 Red Zone touches, and I don’t see the Patriots offense pivoting from the run game in the red zone moving forward. Harris is the lead back for a team that will run the ball a bunch, draft him at his RB31 ADP (Underdog) with confidence.
Rhamondre Stevenson: Rhamondre goes at RB 38 in drafts currently. He’s not over drafted, but let’s look at some of the other RBs in his draft range: Tony Pollard, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Chase Edmonds, all players that have a shot at a #1 role, or in Pollard’s case, expected uptick in usage. Stevenson is probably best projected as a facsimile of what he was last year. He won’t deliver much in the passing game (14 receptions in ‘21) but he will have occasional red zone touches (26 last year, #31 in NFL), and operate as a change of pace to Damien Harris. Rhamondre is a guy I want shares of when Harris inevitably leaves in free agency, but he may not deliver much value outside of injury in 2022.
Jacoby Meyers: Myers is an extremely underrated NFL wide receiver. In 2021 he led the patriots with 126 targets and 866 yards (23% target share.) Where he came up short was in the category of touchdowns, scoring only 2. Expect positive touchdown regression as Myers should once again be the WR1 for New England. Mac Jones should continue to progress as a passer, which should boost his ceiling further. Myers should be considered a mid range WR3 with potential for more as a sleeper league winner.
Devante Parker: is a player who has just never lived up to the hype. At 6’3” and first round draft capital, he had all the makings of a fantasy star but only ever produced one WR1 season in 2019. So will that finally change in 2021? No it will not. But he should be better in a competent passing attack in New England. He should be an excellent addition to help Jones with his development. But for fantasy, Parker is best left to waivers for the time being but keep an eye on him just in case.
Tyquan Thornton: Speed kills in the NFL and Thornton has plenty to spare. His 4.28 40 time will give even the best defenses hesitation. However, whether this will translate to fantasy success remains to be seen. He was drafted in the second round which is respectable draft capital but historically the Patriots have not found great success drafting wide receivers. For now the best thing to do with Thronton is leave him to waivers.
Hunter Henry: was a pleasant surprise in 2021. However, the sustainability for his success is a concern. His 9 touchdowns in 2021 was good enough to propel him to a top 10 finish in spite of his 14% target share. With the addition of more help at wide receiver, Henry is too touchdown dependent to be trusted. He is a mid to late TE2.
The Fantasy Brothers: Ben and Josh are avid fantasy football players that have played together for over 6 years, resulting in a few championships, and a few more “first losers.” Ben and Josh combine their learned knowledge about fantasy to help you own your league mates and avoid those disappointing “first loser” seasons. Their work can be found on Instagram at @fantasybrothers_