New England Patriots

AFC East

2017 Schedule

  • Week 1

    KC @ NE


    7:30 pm

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.

New England Patriots - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview

new england patriots 2014 season #ff preview



New England Patriots - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview



Last year nine teams had three or more fantasy starters in the top 60 and it is likely that it’ll continue to be that way in 2014. This series: Dressed for Success, will look at NFL teams going into 2014 to find teams that have assembled the right players to be a treasure trove of fantasy studs. 


The team I am really excited about is New England, which finished the season ranking in the lower half of fantasy output at 19th. But three reasons I am high on drafting players on the Patriots going into next season are: 1) continuity at the starting positions; 2) an improved defense; 3) high risk and reward based on health players.


Last year was a first for many of the offensive starters on the Patriots; first year in the NFL for rookie WRs, first year for Edelman being the number one receiver, first year for Brady to be without Welker or Hernandez, first year without either starting TE available at the beginning of the season. Another year in this system will help the highly lauded WRs move the Patriots offense, which was unusually poor last year, gaining nearly 600 less yards in 2013 than in 2012. This team’s offense brought the recent up-tempo offense to the league a few years back and there’s every reason to believe that’s where Josh McDaniel’s wants to lead this offense in 2014.


Another reason for optimism is the team’s defense. The team’s defense started getting bitten by the injury bug early in the season, leaving opposing offenses on the field throughout the season. But with most two major free agent signings on defense, two stout corners, which had been a perennially weak position for the team, the Patriots should see a jump in converting three and outs. I am also convinced that Brandon LaFell is actually being brought in to be a corner, but I don’t have any proof of that. The Patriots defense could be a value pick with many owners and analysts overvaluing Brandon Browner’s four-game suspension at the beginning of the season and the rise of defenses in the NFC West and South. Bottom line is don’t be afraid to wait and get this defense that finished 12th on the season in standard scoring and will likely causing way more three and outs. Three and outs lead to the offense getting the chance to run up the score, which we know Belichick isn’t afraid to do.


The final reason I’m high on these players are because the Patriots are looking unsexy in fantasy this year and will all be available at points in the draft where the risk is lower and the chance of reward is high. Last year, Danny Amendola’s ADP was 49.53 (according to CBS Sports), which in light of his injury risk was unjustifiably high. With plenty of fantasy owners getting burned last year, expect his ADP to drop plenty now. But as with DeSean Jackson last year, picking up Danny Amendola in the 8th round or later has potential to be an ADP victory. Danny managed three 100 yard games while only playing in 12, so the potential is there. I wouldn’t move him earlier than the seventh or eighth round in standard scoring though because historically, he has trouble finding the end zone. But then again, historically his QBs were Marc Bulger, rookie Sam Bradford, and third year Sam Bradford.


Another player that will see his ADP fall is Stevan Ridley, who soared to an ADP of 23.75 in 2013. In light of the Patriots being a true Running-Back-by-Committee (when a group of running backs wear onesies together, there’s a pretty good chance it’ll be a committee) and Ridley’s characteristically poorly timed fumbles, his ADP should be lower than borderline second round pick. But the Patriots did score the 2nd most running TDs in the league last season, first the year before, and Ridley continued to produce the most yards of all Patriots RBs. If I see Ridley slip past the third round in a standard league, I would take him. He might even make you a fan of onesies. 



new england patriots onsies



The two other health risk-and-reward players on the Patriots are Shane Vereen and Rob Gronkowski. Both players missed most of the regular season with injuries; Vereen breaking his wrist and Gronkowski recovering from back surgery and subsequently took a shoulder to the knee.


BB pissed at ward for hit on gronk


This Bill Belichick gif pretty much sums up the reaction of Gronkowski Fantasy owners last year


The risks with Gronkowski are real; he hasn’t played a full season since 2011. But whatever health voodoo curse he is afflicted with hasn’t prevented him from producing three double digit TD seasons even in limited play. If Gronkowski could play a full or even two thirds of a season and replicates his prior production, he would be a great value after the third round. 

Going into 2014, Gronkowski is still rehabbing from surgery and there is no estimate on when he will return. Everything indicates this offseason will be a repeat of waiting on Gronkowski. If Gronkowski started playing in the preseason, I would start drafting him in the late second-third round, but if he is likely to miss a couple of games in the beginning of the season, I would wait until he fell to the 5th round. If someone in your league auto-drafts Gronkowski and is impatient about not having Gronk for a number of games, be sure send him some trade requests. 

Being down a starter for any portion of the fantasy season can be hard to overcome, so if you draft Gronkowski, all your other draft picks should be starters. But, if I were to take a chance on any injury-prone player, I’d take a chance on Gronkowski. 


Shane Vereen has been injured every season in some way. Last season was supposed to be his break out season and his first game had every indication of a breakout, getting 101 rushing yards on 14 rushes, seven catches and 58 receiving yards. But after breaking his wrist and returning in November, he never rushed more than 10 times in a game.


A year removed from his injury and with a less crowded backfield, he has sleeper potential if enough fantasy owners pass on him due to his injury history. His value in PPR versus standard is huge; he averaged 6 catches a game in 2013. He has the potential to be the 2013 Danny Woodhead of 2014, who finished as the 19th best RB in standard. He runs a terrific wheel route and gets plenty of red zone looks.  


It’s an exciting time to be drafting the Patriots, who performed uncharacteristically poorly in 2013. The Patriots players will reward fantasy owners who are willing to draft these players and not let them slide too far. 





Indianapolis Colts - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview




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The Tuck Rule Game

Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2 of the NFL rule book, which states that "any intentional forward movement of [the thrower's] arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body."

That is the NFL’s Tuck rule, which was instituted in 1999. The rule was repealed in March of 2013 by a vote of 29-1 with two abstentions. The reason for the repeal was due to this controversial call impacting games at key moments. There is no better example of this happening than during a Divisional Playoff game in Foxboro between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders on January 19th, 2002, which has since come to be known as “The Tuck Rule Game”.

Tom Brady had taken over as the Patriots quarterback, after Drew Bledsoe was knocked out earlier in the season, and was preparing to start his first ever playoff game. The Oakland Raiders had made the long cross-country trip after defeating the New Yorks Jets at home the previous week. The Raiders were coached by Jon Gruden, and had started the season 8-2, but finished 10-6, losing their final three games of the regular season. The Raiders would not only have to deal with the time zone adjustment, but the California team also had to deal winter conditions.  It was a blustery New England day, with 28-degree temperatures, wind, and a steady snowfall.

The game began with each time fighting to find their footing, and neither team was able to score in the first quarter. The Raiders had the ball in good field position at the start of the second quarter, and proceeded to drive 50 yards downfield, culminating in a James Jett 13-yard touchdown catch. That would be the only score of the half, with the Raiders leading 7-0.

The Patriots received the second half kickoff, and Tom Brady led a methodical six minute plus drive down to the Raiders five-yard line, but stalled out there. The Patriots would have to settle for an Adam Vinatieri 23-yard field goal, to cut the lead to 7-3. The Raiders dominated the rest of the third quarter scoring, but only mustered two Sebastian Janikowski field goals and a 13-3 lead heading into the final quarter.

It was at this point that Tom Brady gave the first glimpse of the clutch quarterback he would become. The Patriots got possession of the ball at their own 33-yard line, with 12:29 left to play.   Brady would complete nine consecutive passes on the drive, which ended with a Brady 6-yard scramble for a touchdown and only 7:57 remaining in the game. The Patriots now trailed 13-10.

The Raiders then put a decent drive together, but stalled out at the Patriots 45-yard line and were forced to punt. Brady and the Pats were unable to do anything on the drive, and were forced to punt back to the Raiders with only 2:41 left to play in the game. Charlie Garner ran for seven yards on the first play, followed by the Patriots first timeout. Garner would carry again for two yards, followed by the Patriots second timeout. On the crucial third and one play the Raiders gave the ball to 240-pound fullback Zack Crockett, who was shut down for no gain by Teddy Bruschi and Ty Law. Oakland would have to punt. This is when the fun began.

Troy Brown returned the punt 27 yards, before he fumbled the ball. Luckily for the Patriots, teammate Larry Izzo recovered the fumble at the Patriots 46-yard line with 2:06 remaining. Brady would then complete a pass to Kevin Faulk for seven yards, followed by a scramble for five yards. New England had first and ten at the Raiders 42-yard line with 1:50 left to play. Tom Brady dropped back to pass, pumped the ball and pulled it back when it was knocked out of his hands by Oakland’s Charles Woodson, and recovered by teammate Greg Biekert. The ruling on the field by head referee Walt Coleman was fumbled and recovered by Oakland, but the game was inside the two-minute warning meaning replays were initiated by the replay official. Replay official Rex Stuart called for a review of the play. The replay showed that Brady started to throw the ball but when he felt Woodson’s pressure he brought the ball back, bringing his throwing arm down and tucking the ball, like he was going to run with or protect the ball.

When Walt Coleman exited the replay booth, he ruled that the pass was incomplete due to the tuck rule. It was at this point that NFL fans became acutely aware of Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2 of the NFL rulebook. The Patriots maintained possession of the ball and would finish the drive five plays later with an Adam Vinatieri 45-yard field goal to tie the game 13-13 with only 0:32 left in regulation. The game would go to overtime, and it was clear that the wind had been taken out of the Raiders sails after the tuck call took their fumble recovery away.

New England won the toss, and elected to receive the overtime kickoff. Brady led the Patriots on the first of many big game winning drives. Brady would complete nine consecutive passes during the 15-play, 61-yard drive that lasted 8:25. Brady drove the Patriots all the way to the Raiders 5-yard line, before Adam Vinatieri sealed the game with a 23-yard field goal.

Needless to say, Oakland felt cheated out of this game, and it would even cost Jon Gruden his job with the Raiders. It would go on to become known as “The Tuck Rule Game”, and it will forever remain that way in history, now that the rule has been abolished. The impact of this game became two fold, as it also became the catalyst to Tom Brady becoming Tom Brady. If the Raiders had won that game, it would have been one and done for Tom in his first playoff game. Instead, he would rally that into his first of three Super Bowl victories. The Raiders would make it to the Super Bowl the following season, although they would run into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coached by Jon Gruden, who destroyed his former team 48-21. In the end, the tuck rule was all bad for Oakland, and all good for New England and Tom Brady.


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Gronk "Full-Go"

Pyro's take: After a busy off season, highlighted by a short WWE debut, Rob Gronkowski is back at 100% health.

Fantasy Goo: Brandin Cooks the new WR addition should take some value away from Gronk's potential. Gronk is still widely considered the TE1 and being healthy for an offseason should allow the Patriots to integrate Cooks into the offense more seamlessly.

06/05/17, 11:04 AM CDT by The Hartbeat

Eagles Smoke The Competition in FA

Pyro's take: The Eagles continue to reload on offense, signing LGB to a one year $2.8mm contract for the upcoming season. They will likely release Ryan Matthews due to this signing.

Fantasy Goo: LGB was a beast last year rushing for a league high 18 TDs. This will not be a repeatable number, but Blount should be in line for the lion share of carries while getting spelled by Sproles. LGB turns into a borderline RB2/Flex with this landing spot as he turns 30.

05/17/17, 11:34 AM CDT by The Hartbeat

Patriots Extend May 9 Tender to LGB

Pyro's take: The Patriots continue to manipulate the NFL rules on the edge of breaking them. They have extended a 'May 9 Tender' to LeGarrette Blount this off-season. There are 2 important factors to this. 1) If Blount signs with a team prior to July 22 the Patriots will receive a 2018 compensatory pick. 2) If Blount doesn't sign with another team prior to July 22 he can ONLY sign with the Patriots. The tender is for 110% of his 2016 salary ($1.1 million).

Fantasy Goo: Blount has been linked to the Ravens and Giants in speculation, but if he returned to NE on the tender, there is not a fantasy football alalyst who could come close to predicting the Patriots crowded backfield.

05/10/17, 03:09 PM CDT by The Hartbeat

Follow The Money

Pyro's take: James White signed a 3 year extension with the Patriots today through the 2020 season.

Fantasy Goo: The Patriots RB confusion saga continues. White got a base deal of $12mm with 4.69 guaranteed. Keep this number in mind when ranking Patriots RBs.

04/18/17, 06:27 PM CDT by The Hartbeat

Amendola Restructures Contract, LE$$ MONEY MO RINGS

Pyro's take: Amendola was likely hit by BB with the "Take less or were cutting you" Amendola chose to stay on the reigning Super Bowl Champion Patriots despite adding Cooks.

Fantasy Goo: The Patriots WR core stays deep, this move implies that the Pats are moving money around to be able to afford a high draft pick (to trade for) or Richard Sherman from the Seahawks.

04/18/17, 12:57 PM CDT by The Hartbeat

Patriots Busy Offseason Continues

Pyro's take: The Patriots have signed RB Brandon Bolden who has spent the first 5 years of his career in New England.

Fantasy Goo: Bolden will not be a fantasy option in a crowded NE backfield. In order to have value he would require injuries to Lewis, White and Burkhead. He is instrumental to the Pats special teams.

04/06/17, 10:49 AM CDT by The Hartbeat

Gronk Shows Off Versatility

Pyro's take: Rob Gronkowski gets in a 3 point stance and executes a great form tackle on Mahal on Sunday night at Wrestlemania in Orlando, FL.

Fantasy Goo: Gronk showed that he is healthy and should be good to go for the 2017 season after starting the 2016 campiagn very slowly due to another injury.

04/04/17, 10:43 AM CDT by The Hartbeat

Burkhead to New England

Pyro's take: Rex Burkhead will be a part of the Patriots RB committee for 2017.

Fantasy Goo: After a strong finish to his 2016 campaign don't expect the Patriots to feature Burkhead. He will likely by more of a special teamer and RB in the case of injury.

03/14/17, 04:03 PM CDT by The Hartbeat

Bennett Becomes a Cheesehead

Pyro's take: Martellus Bennett will be filling Jared Cooks role as the top receiving tight end for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Fantasy Goo: Bennett remains a valuable asset for fantasy owners after a 7TD season in NE he looks to offer Rodgers another option in their already pass happy offense.

03/13/17, 10:11 AM CDT by The Hartbeat

Cooks Migrating North for 2017

Pyro's take: Brandin Cooks has been included in a trade between the Saints and the Patriots along with draft compensation.

Fantasy Goo: The Patriots receive a WR who has had 75 catches, 1,000 and 8 TDs each of the last two seasons. The others? Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. Expect the Patriots to use Cooks in a variety of ways in their offense.

03/13/17, 10:06 AM CDT by The Hartbeat

Patritos WRs Limited in PRactice all week

Pyro's take: Mitchell, Hogan, and Amendola were only able to log partial practices all week.

Fantasy goo: While I like Mitchell the best, he lead all Patriots WRs with red zone targets in December logging 12, missing practice is a concern. I will own maybe 10% Mitchell, maybe have 5% Hogan and that is it of these three.

01/21/17, 12:54 PM CST by PyromaniacMo

Mitchell Not Playing in Divisional Round

Pyro's take: Double M is out for the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Fantasy Goo: He has been a red zone monster, acquiring 11 red zone targets in December. Bennett could be in for additional work once the get in close. With a 16 point spread and just over 30 implied team points, expect the Pats to be in scoring range often.

01/14/17, 01:24 PM CST by PyromaniacMo

Lewis in Line for the Bulk of the Work

Pyro's take: Blount will play. However, he did miss two practices this week.

Fantasy Goo: There is plenty of talk amongst analysts and beat writers about Lewis talking the major load this weekend.

01/14/17, 01:07 PM CST by PyromaniacMo

Lewis in Line for the Bulk of the Work

Pyro's take: Blount will play. However, he did miss two practices this week.

Fantasy Goo: There is plenty of talk amongst analysts and beat writers about Lewis talking the major load this weekend.

01/14/17, 01:07 PM CST by PyromaniacMo

Hill is Out in week 17

Pyro's take: Without Hill, the Bengals will turn to Burkhead.

Fantasy Goo: The Bengals have a tough matchup versus Baltimore. If anything, with the spread only favoring the Ravens by 1, Baltimore is a really good bet considering the Bengals are without so many of their starters.

01/01/17, 12:00 PM CST by PyromaniacMo

Lewis Steadily Becoming a Large Piece of the Patriot Pie

Pyro's take: In the past two games, Lewis has 34 attempts. According to Jim Sannes from Number Fire, if you look just first half numbers – Lewis has out carried Blount in the past two first halves 20 -12.

Fantasy Goo:
In the last 5 weeks, Miami has:
 surrendered the 4th most rushing yards
 given up the second most PPR points,
 and no one has given up as many receptions or yards to backs coming out of the backfield

12/31/16, 05:39 PM CST by PyromaniacMo

Banking on Bray's Number 1 Man

Pyro's take: Edelman is only $6,400 on Draft Kings and just $400 more on Fan Duel. The Pats are motivated as they are trying to clinch homefield. Not only that, they have an implied team total just over 27 pts.

Fantasy Goo:
• Miami has given up the 9th most FF Pts to WRs over the last 5 weeks
• In the last 6 weeks, they have allowed 8 WRs to go for double-digit fantasy days
• Edelman has been far and away the best WR on the Pats in the last 5 weeks
• 58 targets, 34 receptions and 421 yards in that time, that is more than double the next best Patriot WR in both targets and yards

12/31/16, 05:35 PM CST by PyromaniacMo

Lewis Could Be the Best Ceiling Play from the Waiver Wire RB Spot

Pyro's take: Dion Lewis has been getting more and more work since his return from injury. He will fact the Jets, a typical funnel D. But as the season has been going down the tubes, even their vaunted run D has suffered. In the last 3 weeks, they have allowed the 10th most rushing yards to opposing backs on a per game basis.

Fantasy Goo: This game carries the highest spread. This game will certainly favor the Patriot running backs. While Blount is an excellent choice and will likely get a TD, when Brady drops back, he can use the dump to Lewis much like a run play, keeping the clock moving and chewing up yards.

12/23/16, 05:45 PM CST by PyromaniacMo

Brady In December

Pyro's take: Tom Brady is 52-10 in his career in December games. At age 39 he has 22 TD's and only 2 picks. Beware of this fantasy trap.

Fantasy Goo: Brady hasn't played Week 18 in the past two seasons, but he has seen a statistical drop. In 2015 he averaged only 211 yards per game, and in 2014 it was only 184. Stay away from Brady against the Broncos this week - stay away.

12/14/16, 04:54 PM CST by The Hartbeat

Pats w/o Amendola on Mondday Night

Pyro's take: As expected, the Patriots will be without Amendola.

Fantasy Goo: Malcolm Mitchell has been a great play as of late. That is even more true now. The Pats face the Ravens. Because Baltimore is so tough to run against, teams take their chances through the air. That has been paying off lately. The Ravens have allowed 4 TDs to WRs in the last three weeks.

12/10/16, 06:03 PM CST by PyromaniacMo


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