The New England Patriots have been one of the top scoring Offenses in the NFL pretty much since the Brady era began. This season however we have a Patriots offense that is very much in flux. Gone are WRís Welker and Brandon Lloyd. The Tight End situation is in flux with Gronkowski availability in question due to health issues. There are also questions at the RB position. This is a player by player look at New Englandís Fantasy Football relevant players for the 2013 Fantasy Football season.
We start with the Wide Receiver position. In 2012 New England had Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd as their two fantasy relevant receivers. Both will not be with the team this season. New England has signed Danny Amendola the former Rams WR as the replacement. Amendola was fantastic with the Rams when healthy over the past few seasons. In 2010 Amendola led the NFL in all-purpose yards with 2,364. In 2011 and 2012 however Amendolaís seasons were cut short due to injuries. While Amendola seems poised to be Bradyís top reciever and most likely a PPR monster in the Pats offense, the injury risk is a major concern. We believe that Amendola is the type of player that will make or break your fantasy football season in 2013. If healthy he should be a top 10 Fantasy WR, we would rank him in the top 5 for PPR leagues. The injury history should knock him down a few spots on the draft board however. If Amendola is available in your league in the 3rd round or below we say grab him and donít look back!
New England has revolutionized the Tight End position over the past few seasons with the Hernandez and Gronkowski combination. Both players remain injury concerns as well however. Gronk has had multiple surgeries on his broken arm and his availability for the 2013 season is in Question. Hernandez also has a history of injuries and missed most of the first half of the 2012 season with a mysterious leg injury. Gronk is the consensus #1 Tight End for fantasy purposes when healthy. For 2013 we advise caution. The injury risk simply does not warrant picking Gronk in the first few rounds. As we approach training camps and the pre-season we will be following the Gronkowski injury situation closely. Any sign that he may be ready for the start of the season and he gets a bump. For now he is ranked as a 4th round or later flier due to the injury concerns. With Gronk out of the way and New Englandís lack of weapons at the WR position Hernandez gets a big bump in the rankings. Going in to preseason we have him ranked as the #2 Fantasy Tight End just behind Jimmy Graham. We are comfortable taking Hernandez starting late in the second round.
Now for a look at New Englandís Running Back situation. In addition to Stephen Ridley and Shane Vereen, New England signed L. Blount and Leon Washington in the off-season. Ridley had a solid 2012 season and was a solid RB1 player for most of the season. Vereen came on late and was used heavily in the playoffs. Blount has been used as a goal line type bruiser in the past and may be poised to vulture some touchdowns as well. Washington is a wild card as well. He is a talented player that may be used in the Danny Woodhead role of pass catcher and skat back. This is a very muddled situation and at this point it is impossible to know who Belichick will use in what situation. Barring some clarifications by the coach or during the preseason we have both Ridley and Vereen ranked as high end RB2′s with Washington as a deep league Flex or Bench play.
At QB Tom Brady remains the man. He has been a points machine in Fantasy Football for years and we would expect that to continue in 2013. We donít advise taking any QBís in the first two or three rounds in the 2013 Fantasy Football draft however. Consider Brady as a 3rd to 4th round QB value.