In 2018 MFL10s, I had a tendency early on to avoid players on the New England Patriots.
I have no idea who will finish the year with the most touches at running back, and the passing attack is an even bigger mystery.
But here’s the thing….
In 2017, the Patriots finished the year with 276 passing yards per game, the second most in the league. The team also recorded an average of 118 rushing yards per game, the 10th most in the league.
While how this offense will operate is unpredictable, there’s no denying that its potency.
That’s why, if you’re doing multiple drafts, you need a few players from New England on your roster.
And by pairing some of them together, you could be at the front of the pack by Week 16.
Here’s what to do…
Drafting New England Players in 2018 MFL10s
Let’s start with the wide receivers.
As we all know, Julian Edelman will serve a four-game suspension. His value isn’t tied to touchdown production, as he’s never hauled in more than six in a 16-game season.
However, he is one of Tom Brady’s favorite receivers. In 2016, the 32-year old receiver led the Patriots with 158 targets. He also averaged 6 receptions per game that season, which is huge in a PPR league.
On top of owning players who can pop off at any moment, you also need a mix of players who are consistent, like Edelman. That’s why, even though he’s serving a suspension, I’m still drafting him in Round 7.
Now, there are reports Edelman is having a rough camp.
Remember, he missed the entire 2017 season because of a torn ACL.
I see this playing out in a few ways, and I’ve been drafting in my MFL10s and best ball leagues accordingly.
Situation No.1: Edelman returns and finishes the year as a top-20 receiver.
Situation No. 2: It takes a while for Edelman to regain his rapport with Brady, and he doesn’t become Fantasy relevant until the end of the season.
Situation No. 3: Edelman can’t regain his form, leaving room for another receiver to step up.
Thankfully, you can prepare for any of these scenarios in almost the same way.
Think about who could fill the void during Edelman’s absence, as well as who could step up if the veteran receiver isn’t the same upon his return. I don’t like adding him to too many teams, but Chris Hogan is a frontrunner right now for more targets when Edelman is out.
In nine games last season, Hogan posted a 34-439-5 stat line.
Now, what I don’t like about him is that he’s a fifth-round pick.
However, I don’t mind drafting Hogan with Edelman in MFL10s because it’s hedging my bet that one receiver on the Patriots will be Fantasy relevant. Hogan could be Brady’s favorite player while Edelman is gone. If Edelman regains a top spot on the depth chart when he returns, I still could have one of the most productive receivers in New England on my team.
If Edelman ends up as a bust, hopefully Hogan is still a solid performer.
But if you don’t like drafting Hogan so early, the other way to play this is by adding Eric Decker to your team. He signed with New England on Aug. 2.
He had a rough 2017 season with the Tennessee Titans, but catching passes from Brady can help him bounce back.
I’m seeing him drafted between Rounds 12-13.
With Decker, I believe this is a case where his value would be more as a fill in.
But at his current ADP price, drafting him is a cost-effective strategy for potentially protecting your investment in Edelman.
That leads us to the rushing attack…
Drafting Running Backs on New England in MFL10s
Out of more than 30 drafts, I’ve only drafted Sony Michel once.
LeGarette Blount and his 1,161 rushing yards may have skewed the views about running backs on New England. You see, before Blunt, the last time a member of the Patriots rushed for more than 1,000 yards was in 2012.
Bill Belichick does not care about your Fantasy team.
He will utilize his running backs to win games.
That’s why I’m waiting until Round 6 or Round 7 and drafting Rex Burkhead instead. In 10 games last year, Burkhead scored a total of eight touchdowns. He has NFL experience and a season with the Patriots under his belt, and he’s a better pass-catching back than Michel.
In 2017, Michel only caught nine passes. In comparison, Burkhead caught 30 in 10 games.
In addition to Burkhead, I’d add James White.
White has averaged 58 receptions over the last two seasons, and he’s scored a total of 12 touchdowns over the past three.
You don’t know when he’s going to go off, but in five games last year, he hauled in five or more passes.
In terms of Brady and Rob Gronkowski, add them to a few of your teams for the exposure. I like waiting on my quarterbacks and tight ends, so I’m not spending a lot of early-round picks at these positions.
Before entering your first set of MFL10s, did you know that I have a Fantasy Football ebook guide on Amazon? Check it out, right here.