2022 Patriots Fantasy Football Preview: Is There An Advantage Here? – CBS sports | Hot Mobile Press

The Patriots returned to the playoffs in the first year of the Mac Jones era, but they did so on the basis of a different elite defense that allowed them to play more conservatively on offense. They keep adding playmakers in the passing game, but is that enough to convince them to let Mac Jones open?

Review 2021

Recording: 10 – 7 (9)
PPG: 27.2 (6)
YPG: 353.4 (15)
YPG exist: 226.9 (14)
Rush YPG: 126.5 (8)
PAPG: 31.5 (25)
RAPG: 28.8 (8)

2021 fantasy ends

QB: MacJones QB18
RB: Damien Harris RB14, Rhamondre Stevenson RB47
WR: Jakobi Meyers WR30, Kendrick Bourne WR34
TE: Hunter Henry TE8, Jonnu Smith TE36

Indicator: 44%

The number of times the Patriots threw the ball first and second with a score within six points, the third-lowest odds in the NFL. For comparison, the NFL average is 51%, so the Patriots have been terribly conservative in those terms. That shouldn’t come as a surprise from a team that ranked 25th in passing attempts, especially one that’s known to have won a game with three passes.

The Patriots were content to stay on the ball, using good field position and effective running play to limit the opposing team’s opportunities. It helped that Mac Jones played well and largely avoided making mistakes, but it limited the fantasy potential of virtually everyone on the team. Damien Harris was the lone exception thanks to a whopping 15 touchdowns in as many games, although even his advantage was limited due to lack of reception power.

The Patriots added DeVante Parker and rookie Tyquan Thornton to their receiving corps after spending big bucks upgrading the previous offseason, but the question still remains as to whether they’ll truly be more aggressive in the passing game. Parker offers a big body that can win the field, but Jones needs to show a willingness to take risks on contested balls to get the best out of him. This was a team whose leading receiver had just 866 yards in 17 games, so it makes sense to be skeptical about passing here, and there probably won’t be a wide receiver in the top 40 in most leagues. That’s probably correct.

An interesting wrinkle this season is the loss of Josh McDaniels as a longtime offensive coordinator. The Patriots appear to be opting not to have a traditional offensive coordinator to replace him, with Bill Belichick taking a more hands-on approach to offense alongside offensive assistant Joe Judge. That makes me think this could be an even more conservative offense than what we saw last season.

2021 low season

draft picks

1. (29) Cole Strange, OL
2. (50) Tyquan Thornton, WR
3. (85) Marcus Jones, CB
4. (121) Jack Jones, DB
4. (127) Pierre Stark, RB
4. (137) Bailey Zappe, QB
6. (183) Kevin Harris, RB
6. (200) Sam Roberts, DE
6. (210) Chasen Hines, G
7. (245) Andrew Stueber, OL

additions

WR DeVante Parker, CB Terrance Mitchell, S Jabrill Peppers, RB Ty Montgomery,

Important Departures

CB JC Jackson, RG Shaquille Mason, LB Dont’a Hightower, RG Ted Karras, DE Kyle Van Noy, DL Chase Winovich

Opportunity available

44 carries, 49 RB targets, 0 WR targets, 0 TE targets

2022 preview

rankings

Projections by Chris Towers

QB MacJones PA: 551, YD: 3860, TD: 25, INT: 12; RUSH – ATT: 48, YD: 143, TD: 2
RB Damien Harris AUTO: 215, YD: 945, TD: 9, TAR: 17, REC: 13, YD: 99, TD: 1
RB Rhamondre Stevenson AUTO: 167, YD: 735, TD: 7, TAR: 17, REC: 13, YD: 106, TD: 1
RB Jacob Weiss AUTO: 48 YD: 210 TD: 2 TAR: 61 REC: 49 YD: 380 TD: 2
WR De Vante Parker TAR: 107, REC: 75, YD: 828, TD: 4
WR Jakobi Meyers TAR: 83, REC: 54, YD: 645, TD: 4
WR Kendrick Bourne TAR: 71, REC: 48, YD: 509, TD: 3
TE Hunter Henry TAR: 77, REC: 51, YD: 621, TD: 3
TE Jonnu Smith TAR: 50, REC: 31, YD: 324, TD: 2

biggest question

Can Damien Harris remain the go-to back?

Harris ended up with RB19 in PPR points per game last season, but he has a pretty narrow path to fantasy success each week: if he can find the end zone, he’s a good start; if not, he will be a bust. Fortunately, he found the end zone in all but five games last season, so he was useful most of the time. Can you bet that this will happen again? Perhaps the bigger concern is whether he can continue to hold off against Rhamondre Stevenson, who is showing a little more three-down capability – and consequently more fantasy upside. Harris is the back to the squad if you must have one of them, but Stevenson is also worth snapping up a little later in all leagues.

A sleeper, a breakout and a bust

White only played six snaps in Week 3 before suffering a season-ending hip injury, so he had 13 goals and 12 catches in just two games before the injury. The Patriots trust him as a passer, and while there are questions about how the now 30-year-old will recover from the injury, I think he’ll play a solid role in the passing game again when he’s healthy. It wouldn’t be surprising if he ended up being the best Patriots running back of the season.

Stevenson’s price as an RB37 is pretty reasonable because he’s probably the only defenseman in the Patriots roster that has the potential to be a true three-down option. The Patriots will likely always drive in multiple backs, but Stevenson brings some pass-catching chops that Harris can’t match. I think Harris will be, and likely will remain, the lead back as long as he’s healthy, which is why I’m drafting him earlier than Stevenson. However, I’m unlikely to call up Harris at cost given the limited benefits he receives. If I’m going to snag a piece of that offense in the middle rounds, I want the guy who could, at least in theory, become a low-end RB1, and that’s Stevenson rather than Harris.

The Patriots don’t have anyone in the top 75 in NFC ADP as of mid-July, so it’s hard to call anyone “broke” here. Even Harris, the highest drafted player on the team, is only RB26, actually lower than he finished 2021, so I can’t really argue too hard against that – he has limited potential, but should be more useful than not while he’s the starter .

Even Henry’s value is pretty fair as a TE14, so it’s more about how little interest I have in designing him, even at that price point. Sure, if you need a tight end in the late round, he’ll likely come in handy. But I’m not sure I have a lot of faith in him being more than the touchdown-or-bust guy he was last season, so I’d rather have guys with more potential like Noah Fant, Albert Okwuegbunam or Giving David a chance Njoku (among others) goes after him.

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