By: Derek Havens
For all my fellow fantasy football players, the time is now to be reviewing draft kits, researching player value, perhaps participating in the mock drafts available through some websites. If you are really eager, there is a chance that you have already completed a draft in your league; however, for all of you who are interested in where these 2010 Patriots could be slotted, here is some insight.
Tom Brady – Everyone has there own opinion on Tom Brady in terms of fantasy value, as many do for nearly all players, the reality is he is still one of the elite quarterbacks. One year removed from knee surgery, coming off a solid season (for the QB’s not named Brady, Brees, and Manning) his value should be much higher. I would not draft him over Aaron Rodgers, who has scored the most fantasy points over the last two seasons, but Brady should be an elite fantasy quarterback taken in the first two rounds.
Patriot Running Backs – My fantasy advice, there is no running back on the Patriots worth taking. Harsh? Maybe to some but, in the committee system like the Patriots have, it is virtually impossible to guess who is in Belichick’s game plan for the week. Laurence Maroney could be an option in rounds 12 or later in case he starts to run “downhill” as he has recently pledged to do but I am not buying what he is selling. If a true starter emerges during the season, maybe go after a player on the waiver wire but I for one will be focusing on other teams running backs.
The receivers offer more promise for fantasy owners. Randy Moss is s still a number 1 fantasy receiver in all leagues, and should produce this year after leading the NFL in touchdowns last season with 13. I would still recommend Wes Welker for a number 2 or 3 wide out a long as you have a decent back up in case he misses some time. There is also a chance Brandon Tate could be a sleeper as he could start opposite of Moss (with Wes in the Slot) but he would be a late round reserve. If you participate in a league with points for return yards, Julian Edelman could most definitely be an option. His great first year, accompanied with a solid camp and good first game vs. the Saints shows his true abilities. The quarterback turned receiver is the real deal and could help out your team potentially. For non PPR (Points Per Reception) and leagues with points for return yards he should be considered a 4th or 5th receiver in your reserves at best.
For the Tight Ends, Rob Gronkowski has been a consistent red zone target and Aaron Hernandez has been a favorite for Tom Brady in training camp. While I am not sold just yet on their potential fantasy value for this season, I do believe either one of them could. I think Gronkowski will have more touchdowns; however, Aaron Hernandez is the better bet in my mind because, he will be targeted more. His overall versatility on offense could make him worth a look in the last round or two for future potential.
With many questions surrounding the offense at this point in the season, the best option is to choose the known commodities for the Patriots. In the last two or three rounds, when the reserve players are being selected, take a chance on players which could have big upside. My top 3 sleepers are Aaron Hernandez, Julian Edelman, and Brandon Tate. Although, make sure to monitor any roster changes and stay waiver wire active as the players responsibilities become more known. Good Luck!