Tom Brady and the New England Patriots set the world on fire in the first quarter of Week 2. As expected, Brady and crew marched into New Orleans and dominated from the start. Brady threw for three touchdowns in the first quarter alone. Statistically it was the best first quarter of his career. Most amazing of all, despite the many injuries they’ve had to endure the Patriots currently lead in the NFL in offensive yards, passing yards, and touchdowns. They’ll look to keep this momentum going in Week 3 at home against the Houston Texans. Houston currently ranks sixth best in yards allowed and thirteenth in points allowed through two weeks. Houston boasts an elite pass-rush , but injuries and suspension have hurt them in other areas. As a result, look for the Patriots to feature the short passing game this week.
Who to start
Tom Brady: The league’s leader in passing yards returns home. Houston gave Brady trouble in the Divisional round last year. But don’t let that fool you. The Texans lost their #1 corner back in free agency and their new #1 is banged up. Houston’s interior pass rush could cause problems, but I expect Brady to get the ball out of his hands early to combat this. With his weapons getting healthier Brady should still be a top half QB1 this week.
Rob Gronkowski: Gronks back! He was his usual unstoppable self to start last week. He did get banged up with a groin injury, but should be fine for this week. Assuming this new injury doesn’t hold him back, Gronk should continue to look even better as time goes on. He’s easily the TE1.
Brandin Cooks: Stay patient. Cooks seemed like a sure bet to explode against his former team, but it just didn’t happen last week. That said, he fell inches from the goal line and what easily could have been his first touchdown of the year had Brady saw him a tad earlier. There’s a lot of mouths to feed in this offense. But with Cooks’ explosiveness he only needs one play a week. I’m hopeful this is the week for him. Cooks is a high end WR2 right now.
Chris Hogan: Hogan found the end zone in Week 2. Its worth noting Hogan hurt his knee, but played through the injury. Like Gronk, the injury is said to be nothing serious. Hogan should remain one of Brady’s favorite targets. His snap count alone makes him a safe WR3 this week.
Mike Gillislee: All he does is score touchdowns. With four rushing touchdowns in two weeks, owners of Gillislee have to be happy. His yards per carry hasn’t been great but he’s still been effective at the goal line. He has the Blount role, and that makes him an upside RB2 every week.
James White: Another great match up for the reliable receiving back. White thrives in the short area of the field. And a likely emphasis on the short passing game this week makes it a dream match up for the back. He’s been featured in the offense to this point, leading the team in catches last week with eight for 85 yards. A good player in a good match up. Don’t be surprised if White find the end zone this week. He’s a high end RB2 versus Houston.
Stephen Gostkowski: He missed an extra point last week…Still the team has confidence in him. Gosk will remain a top fantasy kicker.
Who to Sit
Rex Burkhead: He caught the first touchdown of the game while being featured on the first drive for the second consecutive week. But also for the second straight week he basically vanished after the first drive. He simply can’t be trusted until he receives more snaps consistently.
Phillip Dorsett: The new receiver has surprisingly shown good chemistry early on with Brady. But with Danny Amendola likely to return this week it’ll be hard for him to see the field. Until another injury happens he’s a bench stash at best.
Under the radar option
Patriots D/ST: The Patriots have allowed the second most yards and third most points to this point. Still, they face a rookie quarterback this week at home. Bill Belichick and the defensive have notoriously dominated rookie quarterbacks in the past. Expect the Patriots to make Dashon Watson beat them with his arm. Watson simply isn’t an NFL caliber passer at this moment. Houston also could have the worst offensive line in the AFC. Plenty of sacks and a couple interceptions is likely. Believe it or not I like them as a top 5 D/ST this week.
Danny Amendola: After missing last week’s game with a concussion, the slot receiver returned to practice on Wednesday. That makes him a good bet to return this week. Before he went down in Week 1 Amendola had 100 yards and was Brady’s favorite target. He’s arguably Brady’s most trusted receiver when hes on the field. Like White, Amendola could find success in the short to intermediate routes versus Houston. He could return WR4 value this week.
Almost every receiver has been hurt one way or another for the Patriots. Rob Gronkowski (limited) got banged up last week with a groin injury but should be fine for this week. Chris Hogan (limited) hurt his knee in the same game but played through the injury and it appears there isn’t an concern there. Phillip Dorsett (limited) also left the game versus the Saints but has been practicing and is okay to play. Danny Amendola (limited) returned to practice Wednesday after missing last week’s game with a concussion. He’s expected to return this week.
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