NEPD Staff Writer: Angelo Carriero
Each week, I’ll be working to bring you the best advice for the Patriots players on your fantasy football teams.
This week’s game against the Dolphins should be a good one for the Patriots, but there are always surprises when Miami is involved.
Players to Start
Tom Brady, QB:
Tom Brady will be on this list every week until he proves otherwise. The Patriots added Chad Johnson to Brady’s arsenal, while Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez look to blossom in their second year in the system. If you add in Wes Welker’s guaranteed 100+ catches, Brady’s bound to do a load of damage. Brady is going to have to throw a lot seeing as how their running back stable is either inexperienced or have fallen out of favor (that’s you, BenJarvus Green-Ellis). Miami has a good cornerback tandem in Vontae Davis and Sean Smith while Cameron Wake is a terror off of the edge, but Brady has too many weapons at his disposal for Miami to contain.
Wes Welker, WR:
Speaking of Wes Welker, I really like him versus the Dolphins. Vontae Davis will most likely be matched up with Johnson (more on this later) and I doubt 6’3 Sean Smith will be matched up with the short, quick twitch Welker. Miami’s secondary isn’t deep and covering New England’s receiving core is going to be difficult. I expect Welker to have a solid outing.
Rob Gronkowski, TE:
Like I said above Miami has a good corner tandem, but the Dolphins do not have a player that can match up with Gronk. It is safe to say many teams don’t. Gronkowski hauled in 10 touchdown receptions as a rookie, which is rare even from a wide receiver. I fully expect him to break out as a top five tight end in the NFL this season and will be the best in the league in a couple of years. With Miami needing Sean Smith to cover one of New England’s top receivers (Johnson, Welker, Deion Branch), Gronk should have a field day.
New England’s D:
New England has upgraded the interior of their defensive line by bringing in Albert Haynesworth and the younger players (Jermaine Cunningham, Devin McCourtey, Brandon Spikes) had the offseason to bulk up and physically prepare for the upcoming season. Miami’s offense has an All-Pro caliber receiver in Brandon Marshall, but Chad Henne severely limits their offensive ability. The Dolphins also lack an established rushing attack, so I’d be surprised to see Miami put up more than two scores opening week.
Players to Sit:
Chad Johnson, WR:
Look, I love Chad Johnson as a football player. I think his antics in Cincinnati were overblown, and he’s shown how committed he is to winning a championship in New England by keeping his mouth shut and working hard every day in practice. I have two gripes about starting him against Miami though. Number one is that he is still familiarizing himself with the offense. It will take a little time for him and Tom Brady to get a feel for each other. The other reason is Vontae Davis. I expect Johnson and Davis to go head-to-head in Week One, with my money going on Davis to shut Johnson out of the game for the most part.