Player Outlooks (2019)
QB Tom Brady: Brady is still playing at a very high level coming off his sixth Super Bowl victory, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will be a fantasy quarterback to target. Especially because of all the young signal-callers that have entered the league in recent years (most of whom are mobile), TB12 isn’t expected to put up the big-time passing numbers that warrant top-ten consideration in 2019.
RB Sony Michel: A key contributor during New England’s playoff run last season, Michel totaled 71 carries for 336 yards (4.7 YPC) and six touchdowns in three postseason games, which may have been overlooked a bit considering he was a rookie. Health/workload concerns probably make the 24-year-old an RB2 option, but getting more involved as a receiver would be an obvious boost to Michel’s fantasy value.
RB James White: Despite the team drafting Michel in the first round last year, White set career-highs across the board in 2018 with 87 receptions, 751 receiving yards, 94 carries, 425 rushing yards, and 12 total touchdowns—leading to an RB8 finish. The usage in the second half of the season (64/584/2 receiving pace) is a concern, though, and White is probably only worth a top-50 pick in PPR leagues due to how loaded the backfield is.
RB Damien Harris: Besides Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, the biggest change on New England’s offense is the addition of Harris, who was drafted in the third round after totaling 2,913 rushing yards over the past three years at Alabama. The Patriots didn’t have a need at running back, but the selection of Harris shows how highly they viewed him as a prospect. The rookie—who is a well-rounded runner that can do whatever is asked of him—could pay off as a late-round bench stash.
RB Rex Burkhead: Burkhead missed all of October and November last season, but he averaged 9.9 touches per game in ten healthy appearances (including playoffs), and should have a weekly role this year, too. Weekly standalone value will be difficult to predict, but if injuries hit, Burkhead has the talent to make an impact for fantasy owners.
WR Julian Edelman:Arguably the safest WR2 in the league, Edelman had at least 50 yards in all but one game last season (and he scored in the other), so his floor is nearly unmatched at the position. Edelman has enough built-in chemistry with Tom Brady to completely ignore the thumb injury that could keep him out for all of camp.
WR N’Keal Harry: It sounds like Harry has some work to do if he’s going to be a clear starter to open the season, but if things click for him over the next few weeks, the rookie could be a bargain as a borderline top-50 fantasy receiver. That said, New England’s first-round pick will—at best—be the No. 3 option in the passing game, and he might not be worth taking before Round 14 in 10-team leagues.
WR Phillip Dorsett: Dorsett could have went elsewhere in free agency earlier this year, but the Patriots were the best fit for him, and he proved to be a very reliable contributor down the stretch last season. Unless Josh Gordon is reinstated and stays on the field, Dorsett will be the top downfield threat in Josh McDaniels’ offense after catching 76.2% of his 42 targets in 2018.
WR Jakobi Meyers: An undrafted rookie out of NC State, Meyers caught two touchdowns in his preseason debut, and he needs to be on everyone’s radar in case the success carries over to potential playing time with Tom Brady and the first-team offense.
TE Benjamin Watson: A chance to rejoin the franchise that drafted him steered Watson away from retirement, but he will miss the first four games of the season for a violation of the league’s PED policy (which is unfortunate because he only failed a drug test because he thought he was done playing). The veteran won’t be worth taking in redraft leagues, but when he returns, Watson may have TE2 value.
TE Matt LaCosse:Prior to last season, LaCosse had appeared in just seven games since entering the league in 2015, but he ended up making 15 appearances for Denver—catching 24 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown. The size (six-foot-six) and speed (4.64 40-yard dash) make LaCosse an intriguing name because of the opportunity in New England. Keep tabs on him for the rest of the preseason.
Best 2019 value: WR Phillip Dorsett (FantasyPros ADP: WR100)
The entire Patriots offense could be a value based on their ADP, but no one has a bigger gap between our rankings and their draft position than Dorsett. The 26-year-old proved that he can be more than just a field-stretcher last season (he had zero receptions of more than 20 yards), so if he the big plays start happening, Dorsett will have a case for boom-or-bust FLEX value.
Best dynasty investment: QB Tom Brady
It might seem crazy for dynasty owners to invest in a 42-year-old quarterback, but Brady’s goal is to play until he’s 45, that would mean four more years of him on your fantasy team. Right now, the Patriots are a run-heavy offense, but they can change play styles like flipping a switch, and Brady is going to continue working to stay at the top of his game for as long as he plays—so the QB1 days may not be over yet.
The remaining bold predictions can be found in the 2019 Fantasy Consigliere draft guide.
Stat to know
Including playoffs, Sony Michel averaged 106.44 rushing yards in ten games with 18+ carries last season.