Week 5
October 10, 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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LeGarrette Blount ready to rumble


Pyro's take: Jeff Howe the Patriots beat writer has reported via twitter that "Pats cut Eric Martin to make room for LeGarrette Blount."

This likely will mean that Blount will be the first and second down option, as well as the goal line back, where Dion Lewis will be the third down specialtist.

09/13/15, 01:26 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Gronk Smashes Steelers


Pyro's take: Rob Gronkowski litterally destroyed the Pittsburgh Steelers. He caught 5-of-8 targets for 94 yards and three touchdowns. For the most part Gronkowski was left uncovered and dominated those that tried to cover him.

09/11/15, 03:08 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

No Marcia in Brady's performance


Pyro's take: Tom Brady was on point all game and carved the Steelers defense up all night. The Steelers lacked coverage on Rob Gronkowski several times. Brady finished with 25-of-32 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns. It doesnt appear that the offseason turmoil had any effect on the hall of famer to be.

09/11/15, 01:37 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Edelman's name not listed on injury report


Pyro's take: Julian Edelman either has gone missing or his injury has, because there is no mentioning of his injury anywhere. Edelman hasnt been seen all camp or preseason with an ankle issue.

Looks as though Brady will have his number one weapon after all and somewhere in the background I can hear Peaches and Herb singing "Reunited and Feels so Good"

09/09/15, 09:51 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Lafell Placed on PUP

Brandon LaFell was placed on the PUP list today, making him ineligible for the first six games of the season. With a bye in Week 4 LaFell will first be available in Week 8. If your league has an IR spot stash him, if not let him go to waivers. Reggie Wayne was also cut from the team leaving a big hole to fill on the outside. Dobson should be an immediate add to a roster that had either Wayne or LaFell.

Pyro's take: Brandon LaFell was placed on the PUP list today, making him ineligible for the first six games of the season. With a bye in Week 4 LaFell will first be available in Week 8. If your league has an IR spot stash him, if not let him go to waivers. Reggie Wayne was also cut from the team leaving a big hole to fill on the outside. Dobson should be an immediate add to a roster that had either Wayne or LaFell.

09/05/15, 04:55 PM CDT by Stagg Party
Source: twitter.com

LaFell placed on PUP and Wayne Cut

Brandon LaFell was placed on the PUP list today, making him ineligible for the first six games of the season. With a bye in Week 4 LaFell will first be available in Week 8. If your league has an IR spot stash him, if not let him go to waivers. Reggie Wayne was also cut from the team leaving a big hole to fill on the outside. Dobson should be an immediate add to a roster that had either Wayne or LaFell.

Pyro's take: Brandon LaFell was placed on the PUP list today, making him ineligible for the first six games of the season. With a bye in Week 4 LaFell will first be available in Week 8. If your league has an IR spot stash him, if not let him go to waivers. Reggie Wayne was also cut from the team leaving a big hole to fill on the outside. Dobson should be an immediate add to a roster that had either Wayne or LaFell.

09/05/15, 04:50 PM CDT by Stagg Party
Source: twitter.com

Practice Pads

LeGarrette Blount was in full practice pads today. According to Michael Whitmer via Twitter "Perfect attendance at Patriots full-pads practice, which is inside Gillette. That includes Edelman, Blount"

Pyro's take: The Patriots have the one seed locked, but dont think that Bill Belichick will let that matter to him or the players. Expect the same from the Patriots regardless if this was preseason, week one, or a meaningless home game.

12/24/14, 02:09 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Full Pads

Julian Edelman was in full-pads today at practice. According to Michael Whitmer via Twitter "Perfect attendance at Patriots full-pads practice, which is inside Gillette. That includes Edelman"

Pyro's take: Good news for Patriots, fans, and fantasy owners. The Pats have the one seed, but will still like to win, to keep the momentum fresh. Look for Bill Belichick to keep his old fashion "kick your ass" program going, even if this game is meaningless.

12/24/14, 02:03 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com


Reggie Wayne is suffering from a triceps injury that will require surgery once the season is over. According to Mike McCormick via twitter "WR Reggie Wayne says he is dealing with the triceps injury that has plagued him. Says he will have surgery after the season."

Pyro's take: Reggie Wayne's career is coming to a fast halt, as his statisitcal numbers have shown that he is averaging only three catches for 18 yards and zero touchdowns the past five games. These numbers are worse than whatever Hakeem Nicks is doing. Look for more of Donte Moncrief, TY Hilton, and the rest of the crew to try to carry Wayne through one last season.

12/24/14, 01:47 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Edelman Out for Sunday

According to Jeff Howe via twitter "Julian Edelman (concussion, thigh) did not travel with the Patriots today and will not play tomorrow vs. the Jets, according to two sources."

Pyro's take: Looks like they will be without one receiver and one running back against the Jets, they may want to stop handicapping themselves in this game. More targets for Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell, also Danny Amendola may be intriguing if you are hurting at the wide receiver spot.

12/20/14, 09:14 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Out for Sunday

Mike Reiss has reported that LeGarrette Blount will not be available for Sunday against the New York Jets. According to Reiss via twitter "LeGarrette Blount (shoulder) also ruled out by the Patriots."

Pyro's take: The Patriots will now be down to Jonas Gray and Shane Vereen against the Jets. New England has enough fire power to not let this effect them, so no need to worry, if your an owner try to grab Jonas Gray, he may be available after disappearing when New England signed Blount.

12/20/14, 09:07 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com


Reggie Wayne is getting slower, which is no surprise considering he was never fast in the first place. He is having more and more trouble staying up in pace with more than five receptions per game. This is what we can expect from a 36-year-old wideout one year removed from blowing out his knee. Wayne isn't going anywhere as a solid possession receiver and security blanket for Andrew Luck. Luck almost hit Wayne on a intermediate route down the side-lines, as he was wide-open, but Luck over threw the pass.

Pyro's take: Look for Donte Moncrief to get more and more looks as the season progresses for Wayne, as he's averaging just four catches for 44-yards with one touchdown over the last five weeks.

11/24/14, 01:40 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.indystar.com

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

Should Return This Week

Head coach Chuck Pagano believes that Reggie Wayne will return this week. According to Stephen Holder via twitter "Pagano expects Richardson will play at NYG this week. Hoping Reggie practices later this week."

Pyro's take: It will be nice if Wayne can return this week. When he is out of the lineup the Colts become a different team. He may not be doing much on the stat sheet, but his game is much more than just numbers.

10/27/14, 02:56 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Could Miss Two Weeks

Reggie Wayne shoulder injury could keep him out two weeks. Chuck Pagano did not comment on Wayne's MRI on his elbow. The injury occurred when Reggie Wayne went up in the air to catch the ball, but Adam Jones cut under him, making Wayne fall awkwardly on his arm. “I’m good now,” he said. “I just kind of fell on it, fell on my arm.

“Go home, have an adult beverage and see how it feels in the morning.”

Wayne struggled on Sunday, doing things that are not his style, like drop passes.

Pyro's take: Look for Hakeem Nicks and Dante Moncrief to get some action going if Wayne is out. Nicks has some waiver wire value now that Wayne will probably be out at least one week, so in a desperate grab, he is a good one to go with.

10/21/14, 08:31 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.theindychannel.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


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


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