Week 12
November 30, 2015

New England Patriots

AFC East

2015 Schedule

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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Amendola is a NO GO in Week 12


Pyro's take: Danny Amendola did not make the trip.Park him on your bench, as you know he can still ehlp you in your playoffs, but make sure you get him out of all redraft amnd DFS lineuips today. LaFell and Gronkl should clearly see an uptick.

11/29/15, 07:12 AM CST by M O

Double check Danny Amendola as he may be out for Sunday


Pyro's take: The Patriots are planning for the strong possibility of being without wide receiver Danny Amendola (knee) on Sunday against the Broncos, so fantasy owners should do the same. Keep an eye on the health of receiver Keshawn Martin by Saturday, as he could be a sleeper option for those looking to fill a receiver void. He's missed the past five games with a hamstring injury but Tom Brady likes him. At this point, Brandon LaFell and Chris Harper are the only healthy receivers. -- Mike Reiss

11/28/15, 05:23 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Injuries could spark Danny Amendola's statistics


Pyro's take: With two of the top Patriots fantasy options now injured (RB Dion Lewis, WR Julian Edelman), it puts more focus on TE Rob Gronkowski and WRs Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola as Tom Brady’s top options. Something to consider for this week: Amendola has had some of the biggest games of his Patriots career against the Bills, who visit the Patriots on Monday night. There should also be a more concerted effort to get the running game going compared to the teams' Week 2 matchup, so LeGarrette Blount should see a higher snap total than the seven he saw earlier in the season against Buffalo. -- Mike Reiss

11/22/15, 03:31 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Opportunities Abound for the Pats

oh yeah

Pyro's take: When Dion Lewis and Julian Edelmen packed it in for the 2015 season, they took 39% of team receptions with them. Well, who is going to fill that space? Clearly everyone is looking to Amendola, but I would still rather have LaFell. Don't get me wrong, Amendola is a fantastic play, but I would take LaFell for cetain in standard. In full PPR, I might lean Amendola. But either way, I like both guys moving forward. The Patriots seem to pull at least a 26 implied point total almost every single week from Vegas. That is the kind of offesnse to latch on to. Heck, give me both guys. In fact, I do start Gronk and LaFell in one of my leagues. The Pats offense far outweighs the .07% negative correlation that starting similarly positioned guys on the same team has. Thanks to 4for4's Chris Raybon for that stat.

11/21/15, 04:56 PM CST by M O

James White played considerably more snaps than Brandon Bolden


Pyro's take: According to Ben Volin via Twitter "James White played 28-of-73 snaps Week 10 against the Giants."

LeGarrette Blount is the main back, but it does appear White will be the primary third-down back moving forward. That makes him a stash in deeper leagues.

11/17/15, 03:21 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

LeGarrette Blount rushed 19 times for 66 yards and one touchdown


Pyro's take: The wrecking ball handled 19-of-21 carries for the Patriots. He could have scored a couple times, but was stuffed before crossing the end zone. He eventually made it in. He should be considered a low #1 or high #2 running back with Dion Lewis out for the season.

11/16/15, 03:03 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Rob Gronkowski caught 5-of-7 targets for 113 yards and one touchdown


Pyro's take: After not doing much in the first half, Gronk tuned it on. He scored on a 76-yard touchdown, and with the receivers for the Patriots falling prey to injury, Gronk could easily see more action. He has the Bills on Monday Night Football.

11/16/15, 02:52 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Danny Amendola caught 10-of-11 targets for 79 yards


Pyro's take: Get used to hearing Danny Amendola's name all over again. He caught 10 passes for 79-yards, he just couldnt find the end zone. With Edelman out for awhile and Dion Lewis done for the season, Amendola becomes project waiver wire find.

11/16/15, 02:33 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Julian Edelman (foot) will have surgery


Pyro's take: According to Adam Schefter via Twitter "Julian Edelman will undergo surgery Monday for a broken bone in his foot, per source. There is hope he will return this season, per sources."

He can be dropped from all redraft leagues. Danny Amendola now becomes the hot commodity.

11/16/15, 02:07 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Julian Edelman (knee) is probable for Week 10 against the Giants.


Pyro's take: He was at a full practice for Friday. He should be a starter in all formats, and is up against a weak New York Giants defense.

11/14/15, 01:08 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.bostonherald.com

James White could factor in within the passing game


Pyro's take: Due to Dion Lewis being our for the season Mike Reiss has stated that James White could possibly be the next passing back to step up.

"James White, a 2014 fourth-round draft choice out of Wisconsin, is the top candidate for an expanded role. White was a healthy scratch Sunday, but he was the top option when Lewis was sidelined in the team's Oct. 25 win over the New York Jets, playing a season-high 43 snaps in that game. Bill Belichick has expressed his confidence in 5-foot-10, 205-pound White being able to handle the role."

11/09/15, 04:10 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Brandon Bolden "could factor into the mix" in Dion Lewis' absence.


Pyro's take: with Dion Lewis out for the season the Patriots may turn to Brandon Bolden.

According to Mike Reiss " four-year veteran Brandon Bolden could factor into the mix, as he did in Sunday's win. The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Bolden isn't as quick and shifty as Lewis and White, but he has experience in the system, is a capable pass-protector and has solid hands as evidenced by his 18-yard touchdown catch Sunday."

11/09/15, 04:07 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Julian Edelman caught 7-of-9 targets for 81 yards and two touchdowns


Pyro's take: Julian Edelman looked as though he had no problems with the broken finger this week, as caught seven passes and two touchdowns.

He should be a mainstay in your lineup as he his a solid pass catcher and the Patriots have a super strong offense.

10/29/15, 11:18 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Tom Brady completed 26-of-38 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns


Pyro's take: Tom Brady doing Tom Brady things. Look for him to continue to dominate as next week the Patriots take on the Washington Redskins.

10/29/15, 10:44 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Rob Gronkowski caught 6-of-9 targets for 113 yards and a touchdown


Pyro's take: Another day another outing for Rob Gronkowski. Easy the best tight end in football, and quickly becoming one of the greatest ever. Gronk has 61 touchdowns in 72 career games.

10/29/15, 10:44 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Dion Lewis (abdomen) is active for Week 8


Pyro's take: With his health still a question mark, Lewis is just a low-end RB2.

10/29/15, 06:50 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Not Expected to Play in Week 7


Pyro's take: Although folks were optimistic, it looks as if Lewis will not play due to his abdomen, according to Adam Scheffter.

10/25/15, 09:05 AM CDT by M O
Source: twitter.com

LaFell Activated


Pyro's take: LaFell makes his return from the Pup today and is indeed active and ready to play.

10/25/15, 09:03 AM CDT by M O
Source: twitter.com

Dion Lewis (questionable, abdomen) is expected to play


Pyro's take: Dion Lewis is good to go this Sunday, make sure he is in your lineup if you normally start him.

10/25/15, 03:04 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Bill Belichick said Brandon LaFell (foot, PUP) "probably will" begin practicing this week.


Pyro's take: Karen Gurgeian stated via twitter "Bill Belichick says Pats "probably will" start practicing WR Brandon LaFell who started on PUP, this week, although no final decision as yet"

Brandon LaFell needs to be added wherever possible. He finished in the top 25 at the wide receiver position.

10/21/15, 01:02 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com


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