The Top 5 is an ongoing article breaking down every NFL team’s top 5 fantasy football options.
Today’s Team: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
1- Stevan Ridley- RB
Only reason he’s taking the top spot on this team is because of the arisen questions in the passing game. Even with Belicheck’s history of rotating RB’s, over the past two seasons he’s been pretty steady at giving the ball to one lead back. Enter Stevan Ridley, who last year broke out with over 1,300 total yards and 12 TD’s.
Most importantly, had 58 rushing attempts in the red-zone (3 times as many other RB on the Pats roster).
2- Tom Brady- QB
Even with the questionable wide outs he has this year, it’s still Tom “Freakin” Brady. He has made stars out of anyone he’s worked with, should this year be any different? Some believe so, myself, no way. Every year, Brady seems to be a wildcard in terms of passing yard. While his peak is over 5000, at worst he’s thrown for 3900 yards in the past 3 seasons.
However, his TD to INT ratio has been among the best in the NFL (2010- 36 td 4 int, 2011- 39 td 12 int, 2012- 34 td 8 int).
So far, Brady’s value has dropped (he’s currently between 6-9th qb taken in standard drafts), until he’s proven he can’t work with this crop of WR, there’s no doubt that his buy low stock could be a huge steal in fantasy drafts.
3- Rob Gronkowski- TE
Goin purely on history and gut instinct here. If Gronk plays, he’s the best fantasy (and actual) TE in the NFL. 27 games, 28 TD’s, 2100 plus yards. There’s no other TE in the game that can come remotely close to putting up those kinds of numbers.
Is he injury prone?
Are there tons of red flags surrounding him going into this season? Yeah, but TE is a weird position this season. There’s the average starters, but tons of dark horses that have the ability to breakout this season and put up massive numbers. We’ve seen the things Gronk can do when he’s on the field, and who is the odds on favorite to being Brady’s favorite/most trustworthy target? The goods far outweigh the bads.
4- Danny Amendola- WR
Danny Amendola (aka Welker v 2.0) has been considered the highest profiled wr the Pats acquired in the offseason. A PPR(points per reception) staple in STL for years, Amendola was the only trustworthy fantasy starter in St.Louis’ passing game for years. Now the NFC’s reception monster upgrades to Tom Brady as his QB.
If he turns into anything like Welker, that means a possibility of close to 160 passes thrown his way this season (if he plays the full year), and unlike other high profiled WR’s that turned into busts in NE (Brandon Lloyd, Chad Ochocinco), the lead WR job is Amendola’s for the taking. There’s no Welker, no Hernandez, it’s just Amendola and Gronk (for the time being)
5- New England’s DEF/Special Teams
Going over sleepers Aaron Dobson and Shane Vareen, New England’s D/ST are the ones to watch. 2nd year beasts Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones could easily make this the best front seven in the NFL. Last season the Pats D/ST led the AFC in interceptions, and well as nearly doubled their fumbles forced (21 in 2012).
Also, they have scored at least 7 defensive/ST TD’s 2 out of the last 3 years. Finally, on paper, they look to be playing in one of the worst offensive based divisions in the NFL as well as playing one of the easiest schedules.