New England Patriots

AFC East

2014 Schedule

  • Week 1

    NE @ MIA

    09/07/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 2

    NE @ MIN

    09/14/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 3

    OAK @ NE

    09/21/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 4

    NE @ KC

    09/29/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 5

    CIN @ NE

    10/05/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 6

    NE @ BUF

    10/12/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 7

    NYJ @ NE

    10/16/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 8

    CHI @ NE

    10/26/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 9

    DEN @ NE

    11/02/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 10

    bye

  • Week 11

    NE @ IND

    11/16/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 12

    DET @ NE

    11/23/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 13

    NE @ GB

    11/30/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 14

    NE @ SD

    12/07/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 15

    MIA @ NE

    12/14/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 16

    NE @ NYJ

    12/21/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 17

    BUF @ NE

    12/28/14

    1:00 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. 


 


 

 


PLEASE CHECK OUT TEAM 2 of 32:


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.


 









By Houdini

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/espn25/story?page=moments/48

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LaFell Has Risen

Brandon LaFell has peaked through the watered down Patriot receivers to become a top producer. He was part of the 61 of the 74 snaps of New England's offense, leading all skill players, not named Brady.

Pyro's take: It appears that LaFell and Edelman are number one and two as far as targeted receivers. Also, keep an eye on Danny Amendola, as his snaps has increased as well.

10/27/14, 03:29 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Out for Season

Stevan Ridley tore his ACL and MCL and will be out for the season. Ridley was New England’s top rusher with 340 yards in six games, running for two touchdowns and was averaging 3.6 yards per carry.

With Ridley now out, Shane Vereen will step up to the number one, while Brandon Boldin will see his role expand.

Pyro's take: Stevan Ridley was having a below average season, and now he can safely be dropped in most leagues. Brandon Boldin, might be the safest bet to fill the Ridley role, while Vereen will continue to be the PPR specialist.

10/13/14, 09:12 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: boston.cbslocal.com

This boot was Not Made for Walking

Tom Brady is going to Buffalo without the walking boot he was wearing during the week. because of an ankle injury, suffered during practice. He is listed as questionable. Brady during the season has thrown 104 passes on 172 attempts for 1,083 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions in five games. Brady’s completion percentage of 60.5 percent is tied for his lowest since 2003, when he completed 60.2 percent of his passes.

Pyro's take: Tom Brady was finally successful against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football. This week against Buffalo he is going to see more pass rush, and a tighter defensive unit. If you have better options at quarterback, I would go with it, Brady will always have a good game here and there, but it wont be tomorrow against the Bills.

10/11/14, 08:49 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.boston.com

Wright of Passage

Tim Wright finally appeared in New England. After three weeks of doing virtually nothing, he showed why the Patriots traded away Logan Mankins to get Wright in return. Tim Wright was able to get his first touchdown of season on Sunday Night Football, a blow-out of the Cincinnati Bengals. “It was just something that we practiced and we got the look that we wanted and the ally opened up and I took it and Tom [Brady] delivered a great ball," Wright said. "I held on to the catch and got in the end zone.”

Wright finished the game with five receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown. "It felt good," Wright said of his breakout performance. "The offensive line protected, Tom [Brady] threw great balls – went through his reads and the wide receivers ran great routes and he delivered it and we played a complimentary game tonight.”

Pyro's take: Just going off last night's performance, the Patriots found a replacement for Aaron Hernandez. If Wright can continue to improve, he will make an excellent addition to the Patriots offense, and give them back that dimension they have lacked for awhile.

Wright can also make an excellent addition to your fantasy team. Keep him on your radar, as look to see if it was a freak game, or Wright just needed some time to get adjusted after the trade.

10/06/14, 09:38 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.boston.com

Inactive

Aaron Dobson will be inactive tonight, making it back-to-back weeks of being scratched from the line-up. New England will go with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Brandon LaFell as their top three receivers.

Pyro's take: The Patriots offense just gets worse. A lack of offensive protection, an elderly Brady and no running game, just looks ugly. New England will have to rely on the defense tonight.

09/29/14, 07:26 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.bostonglobe.com

aint what used to be

Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots offense has struggled. You dont need to look at any other game, than seeing them in action against the Oakland Raiders.

This could lay at Rob Gronkowski feet, the guy has not even been a year removed away from ACL surgery. He has put up nice numbers, he just hasn't been the dominant force he has shown to be over the years.

For instance last season he had "37 percent of Gronk’s targets were on deep routes. This season, it’s down to 26 percent. Last year, 11 of his 39 catches (28 percent) were on deep routes. Right now, deep routes have produced only one of his 11 receptions (9 percent)."

Perhaps, its not just on Rob Gronkowski, his offensive line is below average at best, and this may just not give the time for Brady to hit Gronk on a long pass. Possibly, its the play-action passing, which doesnt work well when the running game is averaging 3.5 yards per carry.

Last year, he caught 12 of his 25 deep targets. He’s 1-for-6 this season.

Pyro's take: Rob Gronkowski is still a starting tight end every week, but to expect him to be his typical pinball game numbers is just not going to happen at this time.

Be patient as things might get there, but keep plugging him in, as he should continue to put up top 10 numbers.



09/29/14, 04:45 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: blog.masslive.com

looking like Marcia

Brady struggled again, this time against the Oakland Raiders. Oakland was exposed by Houston the previous week for 30 points, but the Patriots could only score 16. Its not that Brady has been horrible, he hasn't had an interception, and completed 24 of 37 passes for 234 yards, an improvement over the 149 he had at Minnesota in Week 2.



Pyro's take: Brady just hasn't been able to move the offense, and even though he has been accurate, its more like he has turned into Alex Smith and not his typical pin-ball numbers. I dont see this improving over this year, and it looks more and more he should be a second quarterback, and not an every week starter.

09/24/14, 06:04 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.boston.com

Needs to fire up teammates

Tom Brady has always played the game with a lot of emotion, he is the first to take the blame, and the first to correct the problem. Sometimes his emotions get the better of his teammates, and it can get frustrating from their point of view.

Troy Brown, has mentioned about Brady: "Just in working with Bill in the past and knowing how he wants guys to step up and take that leadership role," Brown said. "He probably wants some of that from Tom . . . But to a point where you have to challenge these guys to step up and make some plays. You can't baby them, you can't nurture them. You gotta try to encourage them and try to help them get to a place where they can make those types of plays."

Brown also mentions about the importance of tearing down and building up character: "When you tear a guy down sometimes, you got to be able to build him back up too," Brown said. "You got to be able to give him some confidence to go back out there and make some plays. You can't just tear him down and leave him there and expect him to go back on the field and be comfortable."

Pyro's take: The thing with Brady is that he had to fight his whole career to become the person he is today and has been his whole career. From his perspective he may forget that not everyone shares the same passion, and when that occurs, he is likely to tear them down, and the hard part is building them back up.

09/17/14, 05:16 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.csnne.com

Dobson in, Thompkins out

New England Patriots receiver Aaron Dobson is active against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Receiver Kenbrell Thompkins is inactive after playing in Week 1.

The Patriots flip-flopped the two last week, giving Dobson the day off as a healthy scratch and inserting Thompkins into the lineup. Thompkins only caught five of his 10 targets for 37 yards, so the move was expected all week.

Pyro's take: Dobson should see a bevy of targets this week as Thompkins received a healthy 10 last week. The Vikings were terrible against the pass last season so Dobson could have a big game this week. If looking for a late flex option check the waiver wire for Dobson as he could be available after being inactive in week 1.

09/14/14, 11:20 AM CDT by Stagg Party
Source: www.sbnation.com

week one shows running game fail

Shane Vereen and Steven Ridley did not play well against the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots run game was miserable, minus the fact that Julian Edelman had his end around runs, and both Vereen and Brandon Bolden had a nice jaunt on a draw play when New England faced 3rd and 29, the Patriots finished 15 rushes for 41 yards.

There was no consistency with bad blocking or bad running back decisions killed any chance for a good gain.

"New England consistently found itself in 2nd-and-8, 2nd-and-9, or 2nd-and-12. The problems were multi-layered: On one first down carry, Stevan Ridley had a hole, but Dan Connolly couldn’t sustain his block long enough, and Dolphins defensive tackle Earl Mitchell corralled Ridley before he returned to the line of scrimmage."

Another play saw the Patriots on another 1st and 10 carry, "when Connolly pulled, it appeared Ridley opted to cut the wrong way, rendering Connolly’s block in the hole useless.
Rarely ever was a Patriots back able to cut upfield untouched."

Pyro's take: Obviously the running game, and blocking needs to get better for the Patriots if they want to win some games and not get blown-out by teams like the Miami Dolphins.

At this time, it looks like neither Tom Brady, Shane Vereen, or Steven Ridley hold strong value. The blocking and running through the right hole should have been worked out in preseason, so this could be an incoming disaster, be cautious and proceed as you would.

09/09/14, 11:42 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: blog.masslive.com

Sucky retirement

Tom Brady probably came away with the best preseason comment of the season. When asked about his future with the New England Patriots and retirement plans on the WEEI Dennis & Callahan morning show, he stated: “There's nowhere I'd rather play, I know that, I love playing for this team and I love representing this team and hopefully I can do that for as long as I can. When I suck, I’ll retire. But I don’t plan on sucking for a long time."

Pyro's take: Tom Brady will probably not ever suck, but one day he will have to retire, like him, I hope that it will be a long time before then.

09/02/14, 03:50 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.boston.com

Wright traded to Pats

Tim Wright will go from a Tampa Bay Buccaneer to a Super Bowl caliber team in the New England Patriots. The Buccaneer's will get guard Logan Mankins. At 32, Mankins, is a six-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro.

Tim Wright is in his second year and played in all 16 games last season, starting eight. He finished with 54 receptions for 571 yards and five touchdowns.

Pyro's take: Tim Wright will now fill the Aaron Hernandez role, which the Patriots need to make all go round. He has been a successful wide receiver/tight end hybrid.

This move puts Wright squarely on the fantasy TE2 radar, and has nothing to due with Rob Gronkowski's health, but more of a decision to fill the flex tight end position, allowing "Gronk" to play the inside-line role.

08/26/14, 02:31 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: nesn.com

Belichick compares Edelman to Tedy Bruschi

"I think Julian's career compares to players like Tedy Bruschi, who played one position in college that was — I would say — pretty unrelated to the position that he played professionally," Belichick said on a conference call on Saturday. "Tedy went from a defensive tackle always in a three-point stance, never in coverage, to playing on his feet, playing middle linebacker, and playing a majority of the game in coverage. Julian was a quarterback that never returned kicks, and now, can return punts and plays receiver."

Edelman had the best receiving season of his career last year, totaling 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. He also returned a career-high 35 punts for 374 yards. His average of 12.3 yards per punt return is the highest among active players and the fourth-highest all-time.

He also set a Patriots franchise record with a 94-yard punt return in the season finale against the Miami Dolphins in 2010, his second year in the NFL.

"Julian's worked extremely hard. I would say he's developed skills in two areas — punt return and receiver — that he didn't have any experience at," Belichick said. "That's not an easy thing to do at all. You've got to give a lot of credit to the amount of work and dedication and training that he's put into that."

Pyro's take: Belichick loves players like Edelman, and Julian has done nothing this preseason to alter his feelings. In their third preseason game Edelman had eight receptions for 99 yards. He is Brady's favorite target, and is going to improve on his yardage numbers from last season, while still being a major PPR threat.

08/24/14, 04:24 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.boston.com

Edelman gets boost from Darrelle Revis

Edelman put up astounding numbers last season, he had 105 receptions on 151 targets, posted 1,056 yards receiving, 6 TDs, and he also had over 300 punt return yards. Now, those numbers aren’t as good as Welker’s best season with the Pats, where he put up 123 receptions, 1,348 yards and 4 TDs in just 14 games. But Edelman has something that Welker never had during his stay in New England: Darrelle Revis.

With the Patriots adding Revis to their defense, Edelman gets to go up against the leagues BEST corner all the time during practice. By facing Revis on a regular basis, Edelman will get better; he has to if he ever wants to make any catches in practice. This offseason has been filled with Edelman making all kinds of circus catches and looking like the best receiver on the field. This continuous ascension into super stardom started last year, but Revis will put Edelman in with Victor Cruz, and Wes Welker (2 of the premier slot receivers in the league). But Edelman is more than just a slot receiver; he spent the majority of his time last year on the outside.

Pyro's take: Edelman has been a favorite of d-Rx for a long time, and he proved it last year. This season he is still being drafted as a value, and one that you should be paying attention to.

Darrelle Revis will make Edelman better, not to mention he still has Tom Brady throwing him the ball. Brady trusts him more than any other receiver on the team, and Gronk is still not an option yet. Julian will a fantasy factor, and he will also be a consistent source of points. If he falls in your draft, and he will, grab him.

08/17/14, 07:48 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: musketfire.com

Ridley continues to have ball security issues

When Stevan Ridley fumbled early in the second quarter of Friday night's preseason game between the Patriots and the Eagles, it was immediately recovered by fullback James Develin. It also appeared close as to whether or not the play should have technically been ruled a fumble at all since Ridley was very close to being on the ground when the ball popped loose.

Technicality or no technicality, Patriots coach Bill Belichick explained in a conference call on Saturday why the team never wants its players to loose their handle on the football.

"We always talk about ball-security," Belichick said. "Taking care of the ball, there's nothing that correlates more to winning and losing than the turnovers so that's always a high priority for us. We never want the ball out. On the other side of the ball, defensively and the kicking game, we always try to get it out. Sometimes when we get the ball out, we don't recover it. Sometimes when we recover it, they blow it dead. But we always want to try to do that.

"Same goes true on the offensive side of the ball. We don't want plays where they end up with the ball, whether they're ruled in our favor or not: Have an interception in their hands but drop it, or plays where the ball gets away from us, or we recover, or it goes out of bounds, or they recover it. Those are all plays that we try to avoid, obviously. They do matter. And so do the ones that we -- same thing on defense. Plays where we get it out . . . we don't get 'em all. But the more we get 'em out, the more we'll get. So they are significant."

Pyro's take: Ridley has had a case of the fumbles since he entered the NFL, and that has consistently put him in Bill Belichick's doghouse. The fact that this trend has continued in this preseason is bad news for Stevan. The Patriots have added James White to the backfield in the draft, and he is quickly moving ahead of Ridley. The other issue is that Ridley is a one dimensional running back. In his three seasons in the NFL Stevan only has 19 receptions. So if he continues to have the ball security issues then it will be a no brainer for Belichick to bench him in favor of the rookie. Ridley is not a recommended back this season.

08/17/14, 02:44 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.csnne.com

White turning heads in New England

According to Phil Perry CSNNE.com, fourth-round rookie James White and Shane Vereen got the majority of the work with the New England Patriots first-team offensive on Wednesday.

Veteran Stevan Ridley? Not so much.

Ridley’s frequent fumbling problem has been a continual thorn in the side of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Ridley has fumbled four times in each of the last two seasons, with all four resulting in turnovers for New England last year.

With White only had four carries for nine yards in the Patriots preseason opener against the Washington Redskins last week, he appears turning heads in training camp and earning extra reps in practice.

Pyro's take: This is not a total to surprise to us, as Bill Belichick will always go with the hot hand, and turnovers are the main deciding factor in his mind. Stevan Ridley is a fumbler, and that is not going to change, which is why James White is getting such an extensive look.

White comes from Wisconsin, where he was a standout. The reason he did not get a lot of attention in college was because he played behind Montee Ball for three seasons, but was always productive. Now he is getting his chance, and looks to have a chance to make an impact as a rookie. Move him up your tiers.

08/14/14, 11:58 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Amendola looking to make amends in 2014

Amendola is out of the spotlight, but he is still on the spot. He is the highest-paid receiver on a team that has significant questions about its receiving corps. If the Patriots are going to provide quarterback Tom Brady with a better arsenal of pass receiving options than last season, Amendola’s comfort level and production have to go up in year two or the team could send him on a go route after it.

“I feel comfortable,” Amendola said. “It’s different. A year under your belt in a new system, in a new place, in a new organization, it’s kind of like when a rookie comes in for the first time and tries to learn the offense. It might be difficult at times, but that second year that learning curve is much less. I feel very comfortable right now. I’m just trying to come out here and work.”

The Patriots are hoping Amendola catches on faster this year.

His debut season with the Patriots was framed by a serious groin injury and an inability to get into Brady’s circle of trust. The fast-talking, quick-footed Texan hurt his groin in the preseason and then tore it completely in the season-opener against Buffalo, soldiering on to catch 10 passes for 104 yards in that game.

Pyro's take: Amendola is on his last legs with the Patriots, and has fallen well down wide receiver rankings this summer. Injury is still the biggest concern for Amendola, who has only played in 24 games the last three seasons.

If Danny can stay healthy, and hold onto the football, he will have a chance to have a bounce back season. The other major obstacle for Amendola is the emergence of Julian Edleman. Edleman has the trust of Brady, and is a hard worker who is not going to give anything up easy. I would target Amendola in the later rounds of your draft, especially if you are in a PPR league. High risk/reward with Danny.

08/02/14, 12:18 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.bostonglobe.com

Dobson has a permanent screw in his foot

Before practice began this morning, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported a new detail about Aaron Dobson's surgery from back in March. According to Howe, the surgery required the insertion of a permanent screw to aid the healing process. As a result, Dobson's recovery has been moving slower than originally expected.

"Dobson didn't even begin running until July, and that progression ultimately leads to aggressive planting and cutting," says Howe. "The Patriots medical staff is making sure Dobson is able to handle the rigors of the job before allowing him on the field."

Pyro's take: This news hurts, and means that the Patriots have yet another fragile member of their receiving corps. When Dobson gets back on the field he will have a chance to make an impact in the offense, but injury is a real risk. We all saw what happened to Julio Jones last season, who also has a screw in his foot. There are a lot of other options for New England, so it is imperative that he gets back as soon as he can. It will be important to see him play in actual games and make cuts before I feel comfortable drafting him as WR3 or Flex.

07/29/14, 10:08 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.patriots.com

Gronk should be ready for week 1

According to NFL Media's Albert Breer, the goal is for Gronkowski to be on the field for the season opener at Miami.

Gronkowski's rehab has been a lot smoother than last offseason's. The Patriots aren't going to take any risks, though. Gronkowski will spend a portion of the next month rehabbing near Foxboro.

It's possible that Gronk's knee will be ready for the start of training camp in late July, Breer reported on Friday's edition of NFL Total Access, but the Patriots won't do anything to jeopardize his chances of being ready for Week 1.

Pyro's take: It sounds like the Patriots are not going to get burned again by rushing Gronk back onto the field. Even if he sits out the entire preseason, he will still be a beast when he gets on the field.

Last season Gronk had double-digit targets in four of seven games, and never had less than five in a game. The best part of his game is the ability for #87 to score touchdowns. If he is healthy, he will have a chance to challenge Jimmy Graham for best fantasy tight end.

06/30/14, 10:29 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.nfl.com

Dobson and Thompkins fitting for starting spot

The New England Patriots still haven’t found a starter at one of the most important offensive skill positions.

The battle for the starting “X” wide receiver in the Patriots’ offense rages on this offseason. The “X” receiver typically is a bigger player who can use size and speed to beat pressing cornerbacks. He should be the “big-play” receiver in the Patriots’ offense.

Last year, the position was held by 2013 rookies Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce at different times in the season. Now, veteran Brandon LaFell has joined the mix, and training camp and preseason will dictate who starts in Week 1.

Julian Edelman still will start in the “Z” role, and Danny Amendola is expected to hold down the slot for the second consecutive season.

Pyro's take: Aaron Dobson would have the inside track, but he is still be hampered by a foot injury. He has better speed than Thompkins, and as the big play receiver in the offense, that speed should be the difference maker. Dobson was also starting to get on the same with Brady. The addition of Brandon LaFell also throws a wrench into this situation.

Dobson still has the best chance to come out on top of this battle, but in a Bill Belichick offense there is a high probability that he will go with the hot hand once the season starts.

06/29/14, 06:41 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: nesn.com

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