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As the New England Patriots head into the new season, they do so under the fresh leadership of Head Coach Jerod Mayo and Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt. The coaching changes signal a shift towards a more run-heavy approach, reflecting Van Pelt’s history with the Cleveland Browns where the team consistently ranked highly in rush attempts. With a renewed focus on the ground game and several positional battles, the Patriots are an intriguing team for fantasy managers, particularly with the solid presence of Rhamondre Stevenson in the backfield.

Quarterbacks

Jacoby Brissett (ADP QB33 / My Rank QB34)

The Patriots have signed Jacoby Brissett to a one-year, $8 million deal as a stop-gap quarterback, but his fantasy impact is expected to be minimal. With the team in a rebuilding phase and not playoff-bound, the spotlight turns to rookie Drake Maye, who could start sooner rather than later due to his dual-threat capabilities.

Drake Maye (ADP QB27 / My Rank QB26)

Maye brings an exciting element with his ability to both pass and rush, having accumulated over 1,100 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns in his last two college seasons. His potential as a mid-level QB2 primarily stems from his running ability, though the young and unproven receiving corps could limit his passing upside.

Running Backs

Rhamondre Stevenson (ADP RB20 / My Rank RB20)

Stevenson is well-positioned to thrive under Van Pelt, drawing comparisons to Nick Chubb’s usage in Cleveland. Despite battling injuries last season, Stevenson showed his capability as a dual-threat back which perhaps will entitle him to a more complete workload under the new play caller. 

Heading into a contract year, expect the Patriots to utilize him extensively. Any improvement in his efficiency from last season could equate to a boom year for a drafted mid-level RB2. This past season while splitting time with Ezekiel Elliott he average just over 17 opportunities per game. During this, he finished as RB29 on a points-per-game basis. This volume baseline should provide a floor for anyone concerned about the potential of this year’s addition Antonio Gibson’s workload. 

Antonio Gibson (ADP RB46 / My Rank RB40)

Gibson’s signing of a 3-year $11.25 million deal with $5.5 million guaranteed indicates that he will be more than just a backup to Stevenson.

 Last year’s snap distribution between Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott suggests a potential 60/40 split ceiling. Gibson for his career has mustard just a 4.1 yards per carry average. As time went on he was allowed to go back to his roots as a receiver. Gibson has improved in his receiving efficiency sporting a career-best last year with 6.6 yards per target. Of course, Gibson’s largest hurdles have been inconsistent vision between the tackles and fumbles in the red zone.

Gibson’s receiving skills and less-than-stellar efficiency on the ground highlight his role as a complementary back, albeit with a significant enough role to warrant fantasy consideration as an RB4.

Wide Receivers

Kendrick Bourne (ADP WR87 / My Rank WR62)

Despite a lackluster fantasy history, Bourne is expected to serve as the main X receiver at least initially after signing a 3-year $19.5 million deal with $5.5 million guaranteed. It probably won’t translate into significant fantasy production given Bourne’s history. He is best viewed as a late-round pick or waiver wire consideration.

Demario Douglas (ADP WR75 / My Rank WR63)

Douglas showed flashes last season but was less productive than Bourne when given the chance. From weeks 7 -18 Douglas became a full-time starter missing two games due to injury. During this time he was the WR57 on a points-per-game basis while Kenridck Bourne performed at a fantasy-relevant WR21 level. So while the perception is of Douglas being the better fantasy asset that is not the reality. His current ADP of 12 spots higher than Bourne is surprising. 

On a points-per-game basis from week 7 on when Douglas became a regular starter he was WR57. Bourne on the other hand was actually WR21. So his higher ADP might not be justified.  Add in the factors of an expected run-heavy scheme and limited use of slot receivers under Van Pelt too.

Ja’Lynn Polk (ADP WR77 / My Rank WR70) and Javon Baker (ADP WR88 / My Rank WR74)

These rookie receivers will likely compete for the opposite starting spot to Bourne. Both have potential, but their immediate fantasy impact may be limited, making them more suitable for watch lists or deep best-ball drafts. 

I have Polk ranked slightly ahead given the higher NFL Draft capital spent with a 2nd round pick. However, both players are similar in skill. Both ran in the 4.5s for the 40 time. Baker was tremendous with a 17-yard ADOT, but Polk ranked 9th in contested catches during their last year in college. 

Tight Ends

Hunter Henry (ADP TE18 / My Rank TE15)

With a thin receiving corps, Henry could emerge as a go-to target, especially in the red zone. Last season, he managed to remain a mid-tier TE2 despite the team’s overall struggles because of his 9.8% touchdown rate. An increase in target share from 14% could boost his value, making him a viable TE2 with upside.

The Patriots are in a transitional phase, which makes them a mixed bag for fantasy purposes. Stevenson and Henry offer the most stability, while the quarterback situation could provide a surprise boost if Maye takes the helm early. As always, monitoring training camp developments will be crucial for those looking to invest in Patriots players in their fantasy drafts.

This article was written by Dan Mader @DanMaderFF. Come join Fantasy Football Advice Network for more content discussions. Enjoy previous articles like Fantasy Football Spotlight: New York Giants, Fantasy Football Spotlight: New York JetsFantasy Football Spotlight: Philadelphia Eagles, and  Fantasy Football Team Profile: Miami Dolphins.

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