New England Patriots Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
One has to wonder if New England fans know just how good they’ve had it? Has winning become insipid and lackluster….like hearing Meryl Streep nominated for another Oscar? ( As one of the many loyal Lion’s fan, we’d be happy just to make it the playoffs…and over the moon to actually win one!- The Detroit Lions have 1 playoff win in past 56 years. ) Since the year 2000, New England has won four Super Bowls, six AFC Championship Games, and thirteen AFC East titles, while amassing a regular season record of 175–65.
2016 Team Outlook– In 2015, Utter-Fantasy boldly predicted that the Pats would be the division champs of the AFC East! It actually wasn’t a bold prediction…. New England had already done it 11 of the past 12 seasons. 2015 made it 12 of the past 13. Of the three other teams in the division, the New York Jets are probably the strongest team to challenge New England, followed by Miami, then Buffalo.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook–
QB– “Every team tampers with the footballs,” Matt Leinart said on Twitter. “Ask any QB In the league, this is ridiculous!!” The NFL tried to hit Brady with a ridiculous charge that would have kept him off the field for 4 games with a suspension. A few lawyers later and the NFL was forced to back down, but they did strip NE of a 1st round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. It doesn’t matter what they throw at him, Tom Brady can throw a football, and in 2015, he threw it for 4770 yards (2nd most in the NFL.) Although Brady is getting on in years but he’s still playing well and has said he wants to play into his 40s. On Feb. 29, 2016, the Patriots and Tom Brady agreed to two-year extension through 2019. UPDATE: the Patriots are “bracing” for Tom Brady to lose his Deflategate appeal and serve a four-game suspension.
RBs– In the latter part of 2015 and in the post-season, the Patriot’s offense was exposed for being the one-dimensional team that they are. With no running game to speak, defenses were able to tee off after Brady. The Pats ranked 25th in run attempts, 30th in yards rushed per game, and 29th in yards per attempt. Fantasy football owners should already know to stay clear of NE running backs. HC Bill Belichick is not a fan of fantasy football, and he will make sure you are disappointed if you try to guess week-to-week, who he is going to start. RB L Blount and Steven Jackson are free agents. UPDATE: Pats sign former Charger Donald Brown. LeGarrette Blount Re-signed 1-year deal.
WRs– As far as wide receivers, for the past few years it’s been the WR Julian Edelman, WR Danny Amendola and WR Brandon LaFell show in New England. A Pat’s wide receiver rarely cracks the top 25 statistically because of New England’s tight end Gronk ( and Scott Chandler in 2015.) UPDATE: The Pats have released Brandon LaFell….Pats sign former Buffalo WR Chris Hogan and Nate Washingtons signed a 1-year deal w/ NE.
TEs– It’s taken a while, but teams are starting to get it. Tight ends can be a huge contributor in NFL offenses. In 2014, no other tight end came close to Gronk’s 1124 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. ( CAR TE G Olsen had 1008 yards but only 6 TDs) In 2015, Gronk barely beat TE G Olsen in receiving yards and TE Tyler Eifert had 13 TDs, 2 more than Gronk’s 11. (WASH TE J Reed also had 11 TD receptions) 2016 could be a big year for NFL tight ends. UPDATE: The Pats have released Scott Chandler. Clay Harbor signed 1-year w/ NE.
K- Stephen Gostkowski has been the NFL’s #1 place kicker for 4 years in a row. As the best kicker in the league, 32-year-old Gostkowski is the league’s richest player at his position. UPDATE: Adam Vinatieri re-signed 2-year w/ NE- $6M.
DEF– In 2015, New England was 10th vs the run, and 13th vs the pass……making them 12th overall in the NFL. The Patriots pass defense needs a boost and they can find good cornerbacks in the deep corps of this upcoming draft.
2015 New England Fantasy Surprises– Prior to his Week 9 season-ending injury, RB Deon Lewis was racking up the fantasy football points with rushing yards, rushing TDs, receiving yard and receiving TDs. After his first six games, he already had close to 600 total yards and 4 combined touchdowns. Prior to the 2015, few fantasy football websites had Lewis ranked even in the top 70….Utter-Fantasy didn’t. 2015 RB Rankings-
2016 Free Agents that New England Needs to Address– RB Steven Jackson, RB LeGarrette Blount, DT Akiem Hicks, NT Sealver Siliga (RFA), CB Tarell Brown, OG Ryan Wendell, SS Nate Ebner, SS Tavon Wilson, MLB Dane Fletcher,
2016 NFL Draft–– The Patriots were stripped of a first-round pick in the 2016 draft (plus a third-rounder in the 2017 draft) for the deflated football malarkey. When they do get to select a player, look for the Pats to address their defense with a cornerback. They also need help with a tackle for their O-Line, and somewhere in the draft, they might need to find a couple fresh running backs.- NEW ENGLAND’S 2015 DRAFT
Did You Know– In the 1987 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected Rich Gannon in the 4th round intent upon converting Gannon to running back. ( in 2002 OAK QB Gannon won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award and the Raiders advanced to Super Bowl XXXVII.)
Team Home Page: www.patriots.com
All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS