Last year, you had a lot of good offensive fantasy options in New England. But what are you left with in 2013? Who should you draft in 2013? Let's first look at 2012....
You had Tom Brady putting up another stellar year, finishing as a top 3 Fantasy QB in 2012.
You had Stevan Ridley breakout as a top 10 Fantasy RB.
You had Wes Welker as a top 10 Fantasy WR. Brandon Lloyd finished the season as a top 30 WR, so he was a fine WR3 option for fantasy teams in 2012.
And of course, you had Gronkowski who finished as the #1 TE, eventhough he only played in 11 games!
Guess what, Hernandez played only 10 games, and even he finished as the 16th best TE option, making him an OK TE2 option in 2012.
SO FAST FORWARD TO 2013...
What Patriots can you draft!?
Hernandez is going to prison, so he's out. Gronkowski may or may NOT start the regular season on IR. Maybe Gronk misses no games. Or, maybe he misses 2, or 4, or 6. We just don't know right now. So sure, you draft Gronk, but you draft him at a VALUE slot, don't jump on him early, let him fall to you. Because let's say he does miss 4 or 6 games to start the season, don't forget, you also don't have him for week 10 (NE's bye week).
Another player is going to take Hernandez' place, and it may or may not be a TE, as it could be an RB. Remember, Hernandez' value was that he could be used in such a versatile way. It looks like Shane Vereen will fall into this role. You should draft Vereen in the later rounds as an RB4 or RB5, in hopes he falls into the "Hernandez Role" for 2013.
You have Amendola as the only WR that is getting drafted as a low-end WR2 or WR3. But beyond Amendola, it's unknown if any other WR is worth drafting. Lloyd is gone, so who else is there? Well, you have the rookie Dobson, who should push for the #2 job. Edelman will be coming off injury, he is sort of "Deep Sleeper" kind of guy right now, and is currently listed as their #3 WR, but I don't want to draft Edelman. Or maybe one of the other WR's steps up in camp or the pre-season (keep an eye on Kenbrell Thompkins and Kamar Aiken). Right now, it's murky after Amendola, that's all I know. But if you're going to take a shot on one of the rookies, take a late-round flier on Thompkins or Dobson.
And at TE, aside from Gronk, you might see some Ballard, but I don't know yet if he is worth drafting. Ballard has bad knees, and is so very slow at this point, it's hard to believe that he'll be a fantasy factor. But Zach Sudfeld, keep an eye on this guy if Gronk misses time, he's looking good so far in camp. Even when Gronk comes back, Sudfeld may still turn into something, as the Pats have proven that they aren't afraid to feed 2 TE's!
No, I am not going to mention Tebow here, eventhough he is reportedly catching passes in camp! Tebow is not on the fantasy radar, folks!
So to recap, right now, in the QB/WR territory, you can only reasonably draft Brady, Gronk, and Amendola, and maybe take a flier on Dobson and/or Thompkins in the late rounds. Ridley is a nice RB2 option (or low-end RB1 if in a 12 team league), and Vereen is worth adding as an RB4 with HUGE upside potential. But STAY TUNED!
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