The New England Patriots head into this upcoming NFL Season as a +400 Super Bowl 53 favorite even though they lost Super Bowl 52. One of the reasons is because of New England's powerful offense. Stud QB Tom Brady threw for 505 yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions.
The reason the Patriots lost that Super Bowl was because their defense couldn't stop the Philadelphia Eagles' offense. Season long NFL Fantasy players are hoping that the Patriots come out with a stunningly awesome offense at every important fantasy position this season just like it did last season.
But, will that happen? In the world of NFL Fantasy, things can change quickly from week to week. It can especially change from season to season. Is this the season where New England's brilliant offense finally takes a step back?
NFL Fantasy: New England Patriots Fantasy Preview
Before getting into how New England's offensive players might perform, it's important to understand the first key reason to be bullish on New England's offense as a whole. That key is the return of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel. While defensive coordinator Matt Patricia took the top job at Detroit, McDaniel decided to spurn the rest of the NFL and stay at his position as the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.
How McDaniel did it, agreeing to terms with the Colts only to stay with the Patriots, didn't help his reputation with the other teams in the league. It did, though, solidify his position as the Patriots heir apparent to future hall of fame coach Bill Belichick.
McDaniel staying also signaled that the AFC's overall best offense will most likely remain the league's overall best offense. What does that mean? It means fantasy fans can't go wrong drafting New England Patriots offensive players. It's just a question of when season long fantasy fans draft those players.
QB Tom Brady
Terrific Tom played well enough in the 2017 NFL Regular Season to win the NFL MVP. It's was Brady's first MVP award since 2010. Brady won his third NFL MVP by throwing for 4,577 yards. He completed 66.3% of his passes. He threw 32 TD passes to only 8 interceptions.
But, Brady said this off season that he's likely to retire sooner rather than later. Does that mean his mind won't be on football come September? Not at all. Tom Brady has been married to supermodel Giselle Budchen since 2009. Since that time, the Patriots have won 2 Super Bowls while also dominating the AFC East Division.
There's no reason to believe Terrific Tom takes a step back this season. He might retire after the season, but while he's playing football, he's going to remain a stud fantasy QB. As crazy as it sounds, Brady might be better in 2018 than he was in 2017. Why? The Patriots' wide receiver corps is loaded. I'm not even counting WR Julian Edelman.
Tom Brady should be one of the first quarterbacks taken in all NFL season long fantasy football drafts.
When to Draft Brady: Round 3 or Round 4
TE Rob Gronkowski
The New England Patriots might be the only team in the NFL where the first skill player drafted in fantasy should be their tight-end. Travis Kelce at Kansas City will be drafted after RB Kareem Hunt. Jimmy Graham might not be drafted until Round 5 or later. But, Rob Gronkowski? He's easily a second round pick, right?
Maybe not this season. Gronk caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards and 8 TDs last season. Those are excellent stats. They're not excellent stats in PPR Fantasy Leagues because a WR1 should catch over 80 passes and at least 6 to 8 TDs with close to 1500 yards receiving.
There's also a huge chance that one of New England's wide receivers eats into Gronk's usage this season.
When to Draft Gronk: Round 3 or Round 4
WR Julian Edelman
It's difficult to recommend that anyone draft Julian Edelman earlier than Round 6. The reason is because he heads to this season after missing all of last season due to an injury. Normally, that wouldn't be a big deal. But, Edelman was born in 1986. He might be ready to call it quits all together. This is especially true because Edelman will miss the first month of the season due to a suspension.
Not only that, the Patriots are loaded at wide receiver with Malcolm Mitchell, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan, and Jordan Matthews. Who steps it up for the Pats this season…
…WR Jordan Matthews
Matthews went from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Buffalo Bills It's impossible to gauge how well Matthews played last season because the Bills' quarterback situation was a mess. Matthews has a great shot of bouncing back to his 85 catch, 997 yards, 8 TD season under Chip Kelly at Philadelphia. That happened in the 2015-2017 season, Matthew's second in the league.
All indications are that Matthews is the next WR in line to make a massive impact. Brandin Cooks had a stellar season in his lone year in a Patriots' uniform. The fact that the Pats felt comfortable to trade Cooks means that Belichick and McDaniel know what they've got in Matthews.
Malcolm Mitchell is another WR to keep an eye on. He might get more looks this season than Chris Hogan, who also got hurt last season. Mitchell and Matthews are both diamond in the rough wide receivers that all NFL season long fantasy fans should have on their lists.
When to Draft Matthews: Between Round 3 and Round 5
When to Draft Mitchell: Between Round 5 and Round 7
When to Draft Hogan: Between Round 5 and Round 7.
RB Sony Michel
Bill Belichick doesn't like playing rookies. Here's the reason he'll lean on RB Sony Michel. First, Sony Michel isn't a Bill Belichick pick. You think Bill decided to spend a Round 1 pick on a running back? Bill wouldn't do that.
O-coordinator Josh McDaniel would do that. Michel is a Josh McDaniel pick. Now, if Josh McDaniel convinced Belichick to pick Sony Michel at the end of Round 1, what do you think McDaniel's going to do to keep Bill happy? He's going to prove to Bill that Sony Michel was worth a Round 1 pick.
Michel could be more effective this season than McDaniel's favorite RB last season, Dion Lewis, was. He's a breathtaking runner with great hands. If you go WR in Round 1, put this go on your radar for Round 2. Heck, maybe, draft Sony in Round 2 even if you go RB in Round 1. That would make for an awesome RB pair heading into season long NFL fantasy.
When to Draft Michel: Round 2 or Round 3