Thursday, August 25, 2005

Patriots Fantasy Outlook

The patriots offense is going to have a stellar year. The wide receiving corp is as experienced as it's ever been. Plus, Brady and Dillon really complement each other. Look at how both players were able to improve on already great numbers last year.

Brady had 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last year and I expect his numbers are going to be just as good this year. With Dillon running behind him, Brady can open up the field now. He's also got a deep wide receiving corp that, although they aren't flashy, are reliable. Daniel Graham and Ben Watson are also legitimate targets at TE. He's never going to be the top fantasy QB, but he's going to give you good, reliable numbers.

Last year Dillon had career numbers, rushing for 1600 yds, with 12 TD's and you can expect the same production this year. With Brady at QB, Dillon has a free pass at the short stuff. But, fantasy wise, he's the only (full time) option the Pats have. Keep in mind, he's in his 9th year, so you'll probably need a good back-up. I don't feel like I can recommend any of the other RB's on the Pats, even in a backup roll. Chapman's a rookie. Pass has been used more as a fullback than a RB. If you really need to, you could probably pick up Faulk from the waiver wire in an emergency situation. Chances are good he'll be the main carrier if Dillon goes down.

Despite the fact the wide receiving corp is going to have a big year, I think it's fairly obvious now that you should avoid any Patriots wide receivers in fantasy football. MVP of the SuperBowl or not, Deion is going to be sharing the catches with a whole lot of others. Expect Branch to have a couple of really good weeks, but then he'll fade into the background. That's Belicheck's style on offense. He plays to whatever the other team's weakness is, so if he needs to throw to the tight end 20 times while ignoring the wide receivers, he'll do it.

TE is not a good position in fantasy terms when it comes to the Patriots. As I said, the Patriots have a lot of talented targets this year. I expect that Graham and Watson will each have their day in the sun, but then they'll be ignored for several games at a time. If I were drafting a team for real, I'd pick them both up, but since this is fantasy, I'd probably take a pass on both, given a choice. (Some of you might notice that I did draft Graham this year <-- previous post. He was just the best TE still on the board at the time since I left TE till later in the draft.)

Don't believe the hype about the Patriots defense getting weaker this year. They'll be a top 5 defense once again, despite losing Bruschi, Ted, Ty Law and Romeo. It won't be easy, but Belicheck obviously made allowances over the summer and made up the difference. They won't be the same team anymore, but that won't keep them from being a great defense.

I think Vinatieri's going to have another great year. I actually expect his numbers to increase this year, because I think the offense is going to increase it's numbers.

So, to summarise, Brady, Dillon, Vinatieri and Defense are the players I would (if I could) draft without any worries this year. Brady and Dillon are good for each other. They both allow the other guy to shine. Since I believe the Pat's offense is going to be even better this year, Vinatieri's going to benefit. The Defense is just as good as it ever was. Belicheck planned on losing Bruschi and Romeo, so don't believe the hype about losing the coordinators. Avoid the WR and TE's if you can. They will have great numbers one week and poor numbers the next. There are just too many options for Brady to go to.

On a personal note, I managed to excercise again this morning. I increased my pace on the treadmill again, and I bench pressed longer. I'm doing pretty good at this, although I'll have to skip Monday (I'll be out of work). Maybe I'll try to keep it up on Tuesday, then Wednesday, although I might have to take it easy on both days.

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