Day 3: New England Patriots

As we anticipate the start of the 2017 NFL season, the DFF Degenerates Roundtable (@DFF_Degenerates) is tearing down every team in the NFL – #32teams32days. We’re going round-trip to tackle the entire country – AFC East to West, then NFC West to East. We didn’t have to do it, but we did.

 

Buckle up! It’s going to be a bumpy ride. We’re traveling to another dimension between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge… that’s the signpost up ahead – our next stop – the RED ZONE.

 

 

AFC EAST

In the third of our series, we visit the:

New England Patriots

Brandin Cooks – Is he a WR1? For a team that loves to spread the ball around?

@DFF_Madman: Welp. Out with the old… and in with the new… Yup, Brandin Cooks is the man in New England. No more crying about Michael Thomas who can be a WR1 regardless of situation. Now, he only has to compete with a slew of well-established receivers in a complicated and demanding system. Run & catch. Focus on that Cooks, and you’ll be a’ight. This is a legit dynasty coup right here! I’m betting on Rishard Matthews-like numbers in year one. 🙂

Brady is going to look for this kid, “to the left, to the left, to the right, to the right… now slide, slide…”

  

@DiBari22: I was not a huge fan of the move initially, but over time, it’s grown on me. The upside is a replica of Randy Moss’ 2007 season; however, the downside is an ugly divorce where he doesn’t get the ball enough to his liking and the Pats part ways with him with only a year left on his contract. I’m slightly leaning towards the latter.

@DFF_JamesH: I don’t see it. Belichick/Brady seem to like using the ‘scrappy gym rat’ receivers too much. Cooks doesn’t fit this mold for me.

@FatAdamSchefter: When you join a team like the Pats, I am sure one of the first things talked about is the “team-first” attitude. When Reggie Wayne joined the Pats for a short time he said it was like nothing he ever been a part of. They go hard ALL THE TIME. It is Billy’s world and if you can’t have a team mentality 150% of the time then you are out. I like to think Cooks will be the big play player we all want him to be but the facts are that stats and personal glory get checked at the door in New England & he will be playing mostly on real grass – not the fast track of turf as in New Orleans, so temper your expectations, HARDCORE. The trophy ceremony is the only one that matters there. Cooks has a shitty attitude – I’ve heard about him complaining about not getting his volume, well I would bet his mind has changed coming to the north east with a firm talking to by Brady and Bill when he signed.

@ChristipherBean: What is Brandin Cooks going to do? Cooks is a stud. Here’s a list of guys who have come within 10% of his production by age 23. Side note: Moss and OBJ are insane.

Both Bill Belichick and the front office have made comments that refer to Cooks as a “Number One Wide Receiver”, and all indications from camp seem to indicate that’s more than just talk.

Some have questioned the “fit” as New England isn’t exactly a deep passing team, and Brandin Cooks was used primarily as a vertical threat in New Orleans. But he wasn’t used that way in college, where he had a mere 13.5 Yards Per Reception and excelled. He clearly worked underneath and over the middle to great effect, making him an insanely versatile weapon for Tom Brady.

 

Doesn’t it always seem like the Pats have like 15 RBs – Who starts, who is most fantasy relevant?

@DiBari22: I was all aboard the Rex Burkhead bandwagon early in the off-season, but the Mike Gillislee signing kicked that in the balls. I think the Patriots veterans are the odd men out. I can see Gillislee taking over the LeGarrette Blount role with Burkhead taking over the James White role with White and Dion Lewis being reduced to fill-ins. Then again, as we’ve seen, they can all be RB 1s at any given time if the Pats have a game plan they think will benefit them.

@FatAdamSchefter: Gillislee has an ADP that is going at 69 overall, which in my eyes is insanely low. Last year, Blount received 299 attempts. If “Gill” can even get 225 I think he has an opportunity to greatly outperform his ADP and maybe even be a key piece in an FF championship for your teams out there.

@DFF_Madman: All the RBs will play, of course – but you’ll never know which week for certain… because Bill the schemer won’t tell us… or reporters.

Good old Bill was the first member of the “need more than one RB to win” club. But I still think this guy will be the lead dog in 2017, in the midst of the looming James White and Dion Lewis:

 

I liked Gill a lot coming into the league. I thought he’d get a shot in Miami, but that never materialized. Gotta love how the Pats raid the cupboards of their division rivals. If any team can discover the potential of a player, particularly at RB, it’s New England. I’m not alone in expecting Gill to be the lead back – more or less – and be a very nice asset in fantasy. Hopefully, you had him before now – even before this offseason, because he was cheap. You’ll pay much more to get him now. I’m still not buying New England RBs.

@DFF_JamesH: I am another Gillislee bandwagoner here. I don’t get Rex Burkhead, nobody has seen enough of him to suggest that he could be good. Gillislee, on the other hand, took the starting role in Buffalo while LeSean McCoy was out and did an exceptional job. Given that the Patriots will be running the ball for pretty much every 4th quarter of every game this year, Gillislee is going to move on up to even greater heights this season.

@DiBari22: I understand what James is saying regarding the mystery surrounding Burkhead, but if anything is a “Patriots’ move” that is a perfect example. The don’t make too many mistakes on the personnel side of things. Look at Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola, Hogan was a lacrosse player and Amendola was on the terrible Rams and they both have shined when called upon. It’s just the “Patriot way”. Sure, in typical Patriot fashion, he’ll be invisible for a few games, but he’ll have a game or two (or more) with 20+ PPR points.

 

Old-Ass Brady? You mean to tell me he’s playing until he’s 50?

@DFF_Madman: Tom Brady could retire today and he would still rank as one of the longest tenured superstar QBs of all time. There is nothing more to prove. Five rings are enough. However, if he can avoid injury, he will just keep on racking up the fantasy points for our fake football teams. A bargain at his ADP, he’s one of those players you don’t trade away… No, you ride him into the sunset and let him pasture his remaining days. Cuz Brady is the GOAT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brady will play for the Patriots until he decides to hang-up his cleats. And this is what I imagine all the Boston fans feeling like when they see their Mary Ann (Tom Brady) walking away.

@DiBari22: The whole “play into his ‘50s” thing sounds ridiculous but if he’s serious, I can’t see why not. He’s got all his weird quirks: a strict sleep schedule, odd dietary guidelines, and hand stretching expert, etc. if anybody can do it, it’ll be him. His contract situation becomes interesting though as Jimmy G is a free agent after this season and his services will not come cheap going forward. If the Pats think he’s the heir to the throne, Brady might have to wrap up his career elsewhere.

 

Gronk Smash!  But nobody else at TE? Who steps up?

@DiBari22: I had no clue that the Patriots traded for O’Shaughnessy. I loved him as a deep sleeper stash type in KC, but now I really love him. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him surpass Dwayne Allen mid-season and be the guy to take over the Gronk role- the role, not the production- whenever he steps aside. Gronk is great, but what are you going to do the other 8 weeks he isn’t playing? I Mentioned Dwayne Allen, who reportedly struggled out of the gates adjusting to the Pats’ system, but he seems to have gotten his act together and was even the main guy Brady was throwing to during recent red zone drills in camp. He’s a must own for all Gronk owners and a nice late round flier even if you’re not, this is a team that has been able to support multiple tight ends for fantasy when they’re not murdering people.

@DFF_Madman: O’Shaughnessy (O) can play the Gronk role… I think that’s where they end up playing him. So, when Gronk gets hurt (he always gets hurt) look for O to get some very nice reps. I liked him a lot in his draft class when KC took him. He looked good his rookie year until injury, then disappeared. He’s no athletic marvel, but he’s big, runs well, and catches well. He can also block. In the pass game, Dwayne Allen is no Coby Fleener or Jack Doyle… much less Rob Gronkowski.

 

IDP – How is that tricky Belichick defense looking this year? 

@FatAdamSchefter: The bookend defensive ends on the Patriots’ defense really impress the hell out of me this year. Kony Ealy on one side and my favorite of the two on the other side, Trey Flowers. Flowers really came on last year. I picked him up in some leagues where I had Watt go down. He really helped me down the stretch to get some needed points from my DE position. In the fantasy playoffs last year, he scored 48 pts. over 4 games! The Pats really don’t help many of us IDP scum bags because they play team-ball.

 

The Plane Boss, The Plane

What’s the big deal about this New England team plane? Everyone knows the Patriots own the JETS (J-E-T-S). Stay tuned for more on this tomorrow!

 

 

Thank you for reading. We hope this helps you in your quest to find the Holy Grail of dynasty football.

 

 

You can follow the DFF Degenerates Roundtable on Twitter: @DFF_Degenerates

Individual Twitter accounts:

@DFF_Madman

@dibari22

@ChristipherBean 

@FatAdamSchefter 

@DFF_JamesH

 

jbrowand

Dynasty Football Factory Editor, Writer, Ranker, Analyst. Building dynasties one player at a time! Sky's the limit and them haters can't get past that. #Cleveland #Buckeyes #DynastyFootball

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