Patriots Fantasy News
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 3:51pm
Patriots RB Roy Finch, an undrafted free agent, will most likely need to earn a spot on the Pats by the way of special teams, and he’s had early opportunities to show what he can do in the return game. On Sunday, he returned punts with Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. On Saturday, he was returning kickoffs.
Finch likely won't make a fantasy impact at RB but he looks to be in the mix in the return game.
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Rob Gronkowski makes appearance in team drill
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 1:11pm
Rob Gronkowski briefly took part in an 11-on-11 drill Sunday when the offense lightly ran through running plays against the defense. It’s a quick measure of progress, but they were going half speed. He still hasn’t taken any live reps against the defense through four practices.
Still, it's a good sign for Gronk's progress. We had a news story a few weeks ago from the Pat's Web site that said he would be ready Week 1 and it appears he's on pace.
Experts fear Gronk will be targeted low
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 10:34am
There is an unsettling feeling among those who have played the game that Gronkowski won’t be able to endure a full slate of games thanks to now being an easier mark for rival defensive backs. The overwhelming concern is the Patriots all-world tight end will again be the victim of a blow to his surgically repaired right knee when he returns to game action.
Given the way the rules are geared toward eliminating violent hits to the head and neck, it's a legit concern and could be something fantasy owners want to consider before drafting Gronk. There are already injury concerns with the star tight end and whether or not he'll even be ready for Week 1. As the article points out, he's a difference maker for the Pats, and if you take him early in drafts, he could break your fantasy team if he doesn't make it all season.
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 5:14pm
The fourth round draft pick out of Wisconsin had several long runs during 11-on-11 work, flashed good hands during 7-on-7 play and overall continued to show why the early reviews for the 5-foot-10, 205-pounder have been so positive.
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 1:54pm
After the first day, quarterback Tom Brady raved about two catches by Thompkins and claimed to “have a lot of confidence in him, a lot of trust.”
Thompkins continues to close the gap with Aaron Dobson, who was expected to seize a starting role if not for his injured foot. If Dobson can't get healthy, Thompkins could earn playing time early in the season.
Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins taking advantage of extra reps
Friday, July 25, 2014, 8:56pm
A big part of football is seizing opportunity and second-year receiver Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins is doing just that. He's taking repetitions that likely would have been Aaron Dobson's and making plays that catch the eye. For the second day in a row, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Thompkins made a diving touchdown catch and he appears to be practicing with a lot of confidence. He runs precise routes, and most importantly, Brady has developed trust in him. That's not easy to do. They don't give out gold stars after two days of training camp, but Thompkins would be close to the front of the line if they did.
Dobson would have the inside track to starter's snaps but has been laid up the entire offseason with a foot injury that continues to linger. Meanwhile, Thompkins is having another good camp.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 12:11pm
I was impressed with how Gronkowski moved just seven-and-a-half months after his surgery. The tight end was held out of 11-on-11 and seven-on-seven drills, but otherwise, was a full participant.
He cut, planted and jumped in the first practice of training camp. Gronkowski appeared to be a step or two slower than his mid-season form, but with more repetitions he should continue to strengthen his knee and increase the amount of things he can do on the field. His speed should follow.
Perhaps unfairly, Gronkowski received a reputation for being a slow healer after his back and forearm injuries kept him out of the first six games of last season. Based on this first practice of training camp, however, it looks like he can be on target to start the season opener, provided he doesn’t suffer any setbacks.
All signs are pointing to Gronk being available for Week 1, but he will only be eight months into his rehab in early September, so don't be surprised if he has a setback or two.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 11:47am
As a steady rain began to fall, Brady sought tight end Rob Gronkowski as his partner for some extra work on short to intermediate routes.
Because Gronkowski was limited in minicamp as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered at the end of last season, the pair needed to hone their timing. It was only 15 minutes of quick outs and posts, but this type of extra work and preparation is what makes Brady one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
Rob Gronkowski (ACL) limited in first practice
Thursday, July 24, 2014, 2:25pm
Rob Gronkowski practiced for about an hour and 15 minutes before watching the remainder of the workout, which spanned almost two and a half hours. Gronkowski was limited during his drills, mostly watching the walkthrough portion before jogging and stretching with the team and then participating during positional drills, which included ball control and agility work, blocking and route running. He wore a sleeve around his right knee and the bulky brace on his left arm.
Gronkowski did not take part in any of the team’s 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills, so all of his reps were against air. He lined up when the offense went through running formations and caught a handful of passes from Tom Brady in simple route-running drills. He did take part in one basic ball control drill midway through the practice when a defensive player would try to strip the ball, but Jamie Collins took it easy on Gronkowski as they jogged sideline to sideline.
On two occasions when the Pats practiced kickoffs, Brady, Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Kenbrell Thompkins worked on an adjacent field. They ran through a variety of routes, including fade patterns, screen passes and crossing routes. Gronkowski actually came down flat-footed after one leaping catch, which looked awkward from this vantage point, but he jogged back to the line without pause.
After practice, Brady and Gronkowski worked together going through the route tree as they traversed the field. Again, it looked like some quality conditioning work.
Gronkwatch 2014 is underway. The team is expected to ease him in as he continues to recover from ACL surgery. At this point, he is in the seventh month of his recovery and is aiming for a Week 1 return. Owners who draft Gronk in the early rounds should expect a setback or two. Delanie Walker is an ideal backup with his low cost (13th round ADP) and Week 9 bye.
Breaking down the Patriots' WR corps
Thursday, July 24, 2014, 12:59pm
Nick O'Malley of Mass Live broke down the Patriots' WR depth chart this way...
WR1 (Z - off line): Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Matthew Slater, Derrick Johnson
WR2 (X - outside): Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, Greg Orton, Wilson Van Hoosen
WR (slot): Danny Amendola, Josh Boyce, Jeremy Gallon
So according to this depth chart, LaFell is playing behind Edelman, which means Dobson and Thompkins are competing for snaps at WR2. Dobson has the inside track, but his foot injury is worrisome.
Thursday, July 24, 2014, 12:30pm
Expect to see a lot of two tight end sets by the Lions, which will give them an opportunity to mix things up pre-snap and move pieces around. Ebron can play in-line, in the slot and outside, which will give offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterback Matthew Stafford a lot of options after reading defenses.
Ebron gives Stafford something he hasn’t had from that position in his five years in Detroit. In Ebron, Stafford has a tight end that can take a five-yard pass and turn it into an 80-yard touchdown. He also has a player who can run by defenders down the seam and create mismatches from the tight end position.
The Lions want Ebron to fill the Jimmy Graham role in new OC Joe Lombardi’s offense, so he should see playing time immediately despite the presence of Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria. Of the 21 tight ends who have been drafted in the first round in the last 10 years, 14 have managed to play at least 14 games. They averaged 35-371-2.6, or #31 TE numbers. (Oddly enough, that's where Brandon Pettigrew finished in 2013.) It usually takes a while for a young tight end to make a fantasy impact, though there has been the occasional exception. Jeremy Shockey (#3 TE in 2002), Heath Miller (#11 in 2005) and Dustin Keller (#14 in 2008) all posted TE1 or fringe-TE1 numbers as rookie first round picks. Cam Cleeland, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and John Carlson all had a TE1-type impact as rookies even though they weren't drafted in the first round. Ebron is an intriguing TE2-type in a potent offense, but he's no shoo-in to make a big fantasy impact in his first season, especially if he’s struggling to learn the offense, which was the case in OTAs.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 5:05pm
Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss on how quickly TE Rob Gronkowski will be practicing fully: "I wouldn’t be surprised if Gronk is eased in rather than going full bore from the get go because you are talking about a player who had surgery for a torn ACL less than seven months ago. They’re going to want to bring him along slowly."
Gronkowski has been hugely productive when healthy, but his health is still a concern heading into the 2014 season. He reportedly had surgery on Jan. 9 to reconstruct a torn ACL. It typically takes a full year to recover, though Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III have made quicker returns (with varying success). Given the news that he avoided preseason PUP, Gronkowski is tentatively expected to be ready for the start of the season, and his return would be a big boost to Tom Brady and the entire New England offense. Don't expect him to practice fully right away, but it looks like Week 1 is a realistic possibility.
Rob Gronkowski (ACL) 'cleared to play'
Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 10:52am
That was the short, sweet and easily biggest news to come out of Bill Belichick’s morning pre-training camp press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday.
Rehabbing his way back from a torn ACL suffered last Dec. 8 against the Browns, Gronkowski did not take part on the field in New England’s spring OTAs and mini-camp, instead working with the team’s medical staff.
But he reported to Foxborough earlier this week with other injured players, rookies and quarterbacks and was cleared to return to the field. Therefore, PUP (physically unable to perform) is not an option either during the summer or the regular season.
Gronkowski has been hugely productive when healthy, but his health is still a concern heading into the 2014 season. He reportedly had surgery on Jan. 9 to reconstruct a torn ACL. It typically takes a full year to recover, though Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III have made quicker returns (with varying success). Given the news, Gronkowski is tentatively expected to be ready for the start of the season, and his return would be a big boost to Tom Brady and the entire New England offense. Don't expect him to practice fully right away, but it looks like Week 1 is a realistic possibility.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 11:48am
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski said Friday that he plans to play the entire season as he recovers from a torn ACL. He hasn't been placed on the PUP list at this point, but that's still an option prior to the first practice of training camp Thursday.
Gronkowski has been hugely productive when healthy, but his health is a major concern heading into 2014. He reportedly had surgery on Jan. 9 to reconstruct a torn ACL. It typically takes a full year to recover, though Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III have made quicker returns (with varying success). The fact that he hasn't yet been placed on preseason PUP is a positive sign, but as the article states -- the Pats still have time to do so.
Rob Gronkowski (ACL) not placed on preseason PUP list
Monday, July 21, 2014, 6:54pm
According to ESPN Boston's Field Yates, wide receivers Aaron Dobson, Matthew Slater and Jeremy Gallon, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard are all slated to start training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Rob Gronkowski's name was absent from the PUP list, which bodes well for his potential availability in camp. Players on PUP aren't allowed to practice, so we may see Gronk sooner rather than later. As for Dobson, it appears that his foot injury is going to keep him out of practice for the time being.