Patriots Fantasy News

Tuesday, September 1, 2015, 9:57am

NFL.com - [Full Article]

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was using joint practices with the New Orleans Saints to prepare his team for the 2015 season.

But he was apparently doing a little window shopping as well.

On Tuesday, Belichick swung a trade for Saints return specialist Jalen Saunders, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the deal. The news was first reported by ESPN.

Fantasy Impact:

Belichick might have just been trying to avoid the clamorous post-cut free agency period with the deal. Saunders might have lost the return job to Marcus Murphy in New Orleans and was a cut candidate heading into the roster downsizing period. Saunders, 22, was a fourth-round pick by the New York Jets during a regrettable 2014 draft piloted by short-term general manager John Idzik.

Monday, August 31, 2015, 2:33pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

This is starting to sound like a broken record, but Panthers wide receiver Corey Brown had two more drops that stood out. The first happened on the first play of team drills. The second occurred later in the left corner of the end zone when Brown got two hands on a high pass from Cam Newton and lost the ball as he hit the ground.

These came after he dropped four passes in Friday night's 17-16 loss to New England and two the week before against Miami. Brown worked with wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl on a few things before practice. One was attacking the ball instead of waiting for it to come to him as he did against the Patriots.

There remain a few kinks to work out there. When Brown caught a pass later in practice, he cradled it to the ground like he was making a fair catch on a punt.

Fantasy Impact:

Ever since Kelvin Benjamin went down, the Panther WRs have struggled with either drops or injuries, including rookie Devin Funchess who is expected to be the team's top WR in terms of fantasy production. We have Brown ranked second among Panther WRs but the drops aren't a good sign at least in terms of trust with Newton.

Monday, August 31, 2015, 12:53pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Brandon LaFell, who played more snaps than any New England Patriots wide receiver in 2014, remains out of practice and thus puts his availability for the season-opening game Sept. 10 against the Steelers in jeopardy.

LaFell, who was spotted with a boot on his left foot in the offseason, opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list. If he remains on the PUP list at the final roster cutdown Sept. 5, he wouldn't be eligible to play for the first six weeks of the season.

LaFell's status, coupled with a run of injuries at the position, contributed to the team signing veteran Reggie Wayne to a one-year contract last Tuesday.

No settlement in Tom Brady case

Monday, August 31, 2015, 11:42am

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

The settlement talks in the Tom Brady case haven’t led to a resolution, which means the decision on Brady’s four-game suspension will rest with Judge Richard Berman.

“We did not reach a settlement. The parties tried quite hard I think,” Berman said, via Stephen Brown of the New York Daily News. “In some case [a settlement] doesn’t happen. This is one of those cases.”

Fantasy Impact:

The story went on to say the ruling is likely to come on Tuesday or Wednesday. The two sides had asked Berman to rule by September 4, less than a week before the Patriots will kick off their regular season against the Steelers. Berman’s eventual ruling could uphold the suspension (while potentially allowing Brady to play pending appeal), wipe it out (which the NFL could appeal) or send the whole thing back for another appeal heard by someone other than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot) may end up on PUP

Friday, August 28, 2015, 2:26pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

ESPN's Mike Reiss projected that Brandon LaFell may end up on the PUP list to start the season.

Fantasy Impact:

The vibes around LaFell are bad. No one seems to have any solid information, other than he's out of his walking boot. The Patriots aren't going to give us a meaningful update, so for now we should assume that LaFell is going to miss a few games to start the season. It's a shame since he was shaping up as an excellent sleeper in the 8th/9th round after a stellar 2014 season.

Julian Edelman status unsure for Week 1

Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 2:53pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Speaking for the first time since suffering a leg injury at the start training camp, New England Patriots' WR Julian Edelman is uncertain whether he will be ready for the season opener on Sept. 10.

"Ask Bill [Belichick]. I’m taking it day by day and I think I’m 10 seconds better than the last 10 seconds, so we’re good," Edelman said.

"Any time you’re not able to go out there and play it’s difficult, but it’s part of the game," he said. "I’m just working hard, doing everything I can each and every day to improve myself each and every day."

When asked if he’s in game shape, Edelman said: "It’s one of those things where I don’t have an answer to -- I don’t know. We’ll see."

Fantasy Impact:

With still a while to go, it doesn't quite seem as dire as the headline indicates. Edelman feels he's getting better and it's clearly up to Belichick when Edelman takes to the field. The Patriots' receiver suffered the injury on Aug. 2 and said he’s been taking a lot of mental reps and is doing anything he can to stay mentally prepared for when he’s given medical clearance. He said it’s been difficult to watch from the outside while the team is already two games into the exhibition schedule.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 8:25am

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

The Patriots aren’t making any promises when it comes to wide receiver Reggie Wayne’s role on the team or even that he’ll have a role on the team come the regular season, but the list of players standing between him and a roster spot got shorter on the day he agreed to join the team.

Brandon Gibson was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury and Brian Tyms will join him as long as a team doesn’t pluck him off waivers. The Patriots waived Tyms with the injury designation on Monday because of a foot injury suffered during last week’s practices with the Saints.

Tyms made the team off a strong preseason last year and played 11 regular season games and one playoff game after serving a four-game PED suspension to start the year. He caught five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown and also played on special teams.

Fantasy Impact:

Tyms and Gibson were both vying for spots on the Patriots receiver depth chart behind Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. That’s what Wayne will be doing in New England as well with Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Chris Harper now looking like his chief competition, the story said. However Dobson is another WR with injury issues right now.

Monday, August 24, 2015, 5:01pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

Patriots WR Brandon Gibson has been placed on injured reserve after he suffered a knee injury against the Saints on Saturday. Gibson would have been one of the receivers competing with Wayne for a spot behind Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola.

Gibson signed with the Patriots this offseason after catching 59 passes for the Dolphins over the last two seasons. He suffered a torn patellar tendon after catching 30 passes in his first seven games with Miami in 2013 and was released for cap reasons early in the offseason.

Fantasy Impact:

The Patriots added wide receiver Reggie Wayne to the roster early on Monday. Wayne will now vie for snaps with Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Brian Tyms, the story said.

Report: Patriots sign Reggie Wayne

Monday, August 24, 2015, 1:33pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Patriots have signed wide receiver Reggie Wayne to a one-year contract.

Wayne, who had triceps and knee surgery this offseason, took a physical with the Patriots over the weekend. It would appear he proved healthy enough for the Patriots to see if there’s still enough left in the tank for Wayne to help their offense during the 2015 season.

Fantasy Impact:

It’s an interesting signing by the Patriots, who seemingly have plenty of depth at receiver. Wayne joins Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson and Brandon Gibson. He’s likely going to compete with Amendola, Dobson and Gibson for WR3 snaps, though the signing may have something to do with LaFell’s mysterious foot injury. We’re not expecting much out of Wayne assuming Edelman and LaFell are (and remain) healthy, but he could work his way into fantasy relevancy in PPR formats if there is an injury or two ahead of him.

Rob Gronkowski ready when his number is called

Monday, August 24, 2015, 1:12pm

Boston Herald - [Full Article]

Rob Gronkowski has been a full participant in practices this summer, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick has held his tight end out of each of the team's first two preseason games.

After watching the Packers lose star wide receiver Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL, it's easy to see why Belichick might be cautious with Gronkowski.

In an interview on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan radio show this morning, Gronkowski said that he's ready to go whenever summoned, but he's always taking his marching orders from Belichick.

“It’s always up to the coach’s decision,” Gronkowski said. “I’m ready to play when my number’s called, whenever they want me to go in. I mean, it is preseason, we’ve been practicing hard, we’ve been going against each other. We had great practices with the Saints; it’s been going well.”

Fantasy Impact:

The good news is there isn't anything keeping Gronk from playing in preseason games outside of the coaching staff. It's a trend we're starting to see more and more - teams just aren't risking losing players in a game that doesn't count. He's still the top TE available in fantasy drafts.

Pats pass-catching RB battle heating up

Monday, August 24, 2015, 10:34am

ESPN - [Full Article]

One of the best examples of competition bringing out the best in football players came in the New England Patriots' 26-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night.

Through the first drive of the third quarter, Dion Lewis played 23 offensive snaps as he made his case to be considered the top option to replace Shane Vereen as the team's top "passing back." His combination of blitz pickup, pass-catching ability, knack for picking up yardage after the catch, and determination in the red zone (11-yard touchdown run) was impressive.

Up to that point in the game, Lewis' primary competition for the job, James White, had played three snaps. All three of those snaps came out of the "pony" grouping in which he was on the field at the same time as Lewis.

"I thought Dion did a good job with his opportunities," coach Bill Belichick said in his day-after-game conference call. "He's had a solid spring and camp for us. He missed a few days there [because of injury], but I thought he ran well [Saturday] night."

Fantasy Impact:

As it turned out, White did too, the story said. Essentially taking over for Lewis from the second drive of the third quarter until the end of the game (the two were on the field together six snaps after that point), it was almost as if White felt the urgency to match Lewis.
That was what stood out most to me when reviewing the offensive snap counts from the game; how the competition between the two has raised the bar at a critical position in the Patriots' offense. White was drafted by the team for this role so he may have the edge because of that. Whoever wins the job should get a Shane Vereen-like role in the offense which would have PPR league value.

Source: Reggie Wayne to take physical with Patriots

Sunday, August 23, 2015, 2:21pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne is visiting with the New England Patriots and will take a physical Sunday with the reigning Super Bowl champions, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Wayne, who parted ways with the Colts earlier this year after spending 14 seasons with Indianapolis, arrived in New England on Saturday night, sources told Schefter.

The Patriots are currently dealing with injuries to several members of their receiving corps:

• Top receiver Julian Edelman has been out since Aug. 2 with what is believed to be a leg/ankle injury.

• No. 2 receiver Brandon LaFell, who was spotted in the offseason with a boot on his left foot, has been on the physically unable to perform list since camp opened.

Brian Tyms, a candidate for a spot as the fourth or fifth receiver, sustained a foot injury Wednesday that could threaten his season.

Aaron Dobson, a 2013 second-round pick, has reportedly been slowed by a hamstring injury.

Fantasy Impact:

It would be an interesting add to the Pats WR group which has been banged up most of camp as the story said. We haven't really got a good grasp of the injuries because the Pats are pretty hush, but this could be an indication they are worried about one or two of their current wideouts. Wayne seems like a WR who could end up having a good connection with Tom Brady, when he returns from suspension.

Sunday, August 23, 2015, 12:58pm

MassLive.com - [Full Article]

Jimmy Garoppolo may start four games for the New England Patriots this season. He also might start zero.

The Pats potentially won't have an answer until Sept. 4, when Judge Richard Berman is supposed to make a ruling on Tom Brady's case. Until then, Garoppolo must prepare to be the starter, and the Pats must prepare for a quarter of the season without Brady.

They've got to feel much better about the situation after Saturday's win over the Saints.

Fantasy Impact:

Garoppolo went 28-of-33 for 269 yards, one touchdown and one interception as he led the Pats to victory. Yes, he did it against the New Orleans backups, but he looked in command of the offense virtually the entire game, the story said.

Sunday, August 23, 2015, 9:21am

ESPN - [Full Article]

Bill Belichick saw New Orleans Saints receiver Brandin Cooks all week in joint practices and during Saturday night’s game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

And he saw enough.

“I’m glad we don’t have to play him twice a year,” the New England Patriots coach said after Cooks caught four passes for 117 yards – including a 45-yard touchdown – while the Saints jumped to a 21-0 lead Saturday. “He’s a really good player.”

Cooks also caught a 36-yard pass from backup quarterback Luke McCown. And he ran for seven yards on an end around before calling it a night before halftime.

Fantasy Impact:

Sure, it was only a preseason game. But the way Cooks has delivered so far this summer for the Saints, with touchdowns in each of their two games so far, is critical. They're counting on the 21-year-old second-year pro to emerge as their top playmaker this season after trading away Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills. Cooks is clearly part of the Saints transition to youth at the WR position.

Andre Williams working on pass-catching skills

Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 8:25pm

New York Post - [Full Article]

It wasn’t only that RB Andre Williams did not possess the best hands, it was that he seemed to lose track of the football and displayed poor depth perception when asked to come out of the backfield to catch a pass.

The Giants are working on this with Williams, their muscular second-year running back and leading rusher from 2014. Williams figures to do the heavy lifting this season, with Rashad Jennings doing a little bit of everything and newly signed Shane Vereen used mostly as a pass-catcher and safety-valve option for Eli Manning after excelling in that role for Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Williams’ primary role will not be as a pass-catcher, but if he is not somewhat of a threat, opposing defense do not have to play him honestly. So Williams has made several changes to make himself more proficient.

In mid-March, he underwent Photorefractive Keratectomy laser eye surgery and now no longer needs contact lenses.

“I don’t have to worry about the strain from the lenses, and I also don’t have to worry about getting knocked in the eye and having my contact get loose or fall out,’’ Williams said. “If your contacts are cloudy or something, it’s a problem.

“It’s cool to wake up in the morning and see right away and not go to bed with the ‘I forgot to take my contacts out and my eyes hurt.’ It’s nice. Best money I ever spent so far.’’

Fantasy Impact:

Williams also has been working on his hand-eye coordination by catching tennis balls. Before games, Williams takes part in a blind-ball drill. With his back to running backs coach Craig Johnson, Williams has to turn and quickly locate the ball in the air as Johnson flips it to him. Like the story said, Jennings and Vereen are likely to see a bulk of the passes at the RB position, but Williams will only help himself if he can at least make defense aware. His main role looks like a change of pace back who could see short yardage and goal line situations.

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