We’re approaching the end of the fantasy football season. For many owners the season has already come to an end. For others, it’s the first or second round of the fantasy playoffs. Unfortunately, owners of New England players got little to no production on Monday night. Outside of Burkhead and Amendola everyone else laid an egg. That said, if you’re reading this in Week 15 there’s a good chance you’re still alive.
This week, the range of outcome for all the Patriot players is huge. As we saw last week, its possible to shut down this Patriots offense. But Gronk is back so I wouldn’t count on it again this week. I have high expectations for this New England offense as they travel to Pittsburgh. Not only is it the biggest game of the season, but the Patriots almost always bounce back from a bad loss. Also more importantly, Brady and the offense has historically owned Pittsburgh. New England is averaging 37 points against the Steelers in their last four meetings. Most recently in the AFC title game last season Brady threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns in a rout. Pittsburgh’s zone scheme simply doesn’t work against Tom Brady. And if Joe Flacco and the Ravens can come into Pittsburgh and drop 38 points and 400 yards, it’s scary to think what an angry Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski could do. I like the Patriots in a shootout 37-30.
Who to start
Tom Brady: He’s having his worst stretch in quite some time. The offense went 0-11 on 3rd down Monday night. But like I said above, all signs point to a bounce-back game. People are starting to question if age is finally catching up to Brady. Which is just another reason to believe he’ll come out on fire Sunday. Prediction: 340 3 0
Rob Gronkowski Gronk’s importance to this offense was on full display Monday night. He can, and should be the game changer this week against the Steelers. Especially now without Ryan Shazier on the Steelers defense. He had four catches for 94 and a td last time he played them. Gronk should explode in his return. Prediction: 7 100 1
Brandin Cooks: Cooks got destroyed in Week 14. And he now has just three catches for 55 yards in the last two weeks combined. But now that Gronk is back the Patriots should have a lot of success through the air. This should help Cooks a lot. That said, its hard to love him based on the slump he’s in. But you can’t bench him. His upside is too high. Prediction: 4 67 0
Chris Hogan: Nine catches, 180 yards, two touchdowns. That’s the line Hogan posted against Pittsburgh in the AFC title last year. He didn’t look good in his return from injury, but nobody did last week. Considering he had his career game last time he played the Steelers, you have to feel good about him. I’d start him with confidence. Prediction: 6 85 1
Rex Burkhead: Burkhead seemed like the only Pats player to show up in the first half against Miami. Oddly, New England went away from him in the second half. Still, he posted over 50 yards and a score for the fourth time in the past five games. He’s been money, and you gotta keep rolling with him at this point. He should be a good bet to find the end zone again in a potential shootout. Prediction: 70 total yards 1 td
Stephen Gostkowski: He should produce plenty of points in a high scoring game. Prediction: 3/3 fg, 4/4 XP
Who to Sit
Danny Amendola: He came alive in the second half against the Dolphins. He finished with six catches and 76 yards and came just inches from a touchdown. But with Hogan now back, and Gronk to return from suspension, he simply is too far down the pecking order for Pats receivers. I do think Brady throws well over 300 yards, which gives Amendola a chance to produce, but he’s too risky a play in the fantasy playoffs. Only consider him a borderline WR4 in full PPR. Prediction: 5 40 0
James White: He has little to no value with Burkhead and Lewis playing so well. He did find the end zone last week, but only had 11 yards. His floor is way too low. Prediction: 30 total yards
Patriots D/ST: After playing so well over the past two months injuries seemed to have finally caught up to them. They should get healthier this week, but you’re never starting a D/ST against Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell anyways. This game should be a shootout. Avoid them for sure. Prediction: 2 sacks 1 takeaway
Dion Lewis: He made some great plays in the passing game. But unfortunately New England got away from the run game early. He had just five carries last week and hasn’t had a rushing touchdown for five weeks. This makes him dependent on yards for fantasy value. And I expect the Patriots to lean heavily on the passing game making him a tough play this week. Still, he’s their best weapon out of the backfield, and in a crucial game I wouldn’t be shocked if he finally finds the end zone. Play him at your own risk. Prediction: 60 total yards 1 td
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