Fantasy Football News and Updates: 2013 NFL Week 15: Patriots Offense without Gronkowski
Jason's Fantasy Football Analysis: The Gronk Factor: Patriots Offense without Gronkowski
December 11, 2013
The Gronk Factor: The Patriots Offense
In case you missed the numbers, the Patriots are really a completely different with Gronk on the field. The Patriots were averaging 21 points 349 yards a game through their first six games before Gronkowski was able to play. Then the Patriots averaged 33 points and 407 yards per game over their next six games with Gronk on the field. You don't have to study the stats to know that Brady returned to being a fantasy stud once Gronk came back, and that is what most concerns fantasy owners relying on the Patriots for the next few weeks.
There is another side to this story though, and it is one that presents hope that the Patriots can maintain their fantasy value. The other factor that played a role when the season started was the fact that Brady was throwing to an entirely new receiving corp. Now Brady has had nearly a full season to get familiar with his new targets. The Loss of Gronk is unbelievably huge, but Brady still has some solid weapons and we all know he has won with less talent than he has now. So here is a quick analysis of how Gronk's absence could impact the fantasy value of the Patriots passing attack.
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Tom Brady - The optimist says Brady will maintain his value now that he has a better rapport with his new receivers and Shane Vereen has emerged as a true offensive threat. The pessimist will look at the pre-Gronk stats and park Brady on the fantasy bench for the rest of the season. There is one thing fantasy owners must realize before they decide to bench Brady, and that is that this is still a much improved offensive unit as compared to how they started the season. However, there is not much evidence to prove that. Gronk went out with nearly 25 minutes left on the game clock Sunday, and the Patriots had not scored on a single possession with Gronk in the game. The Patriots offense then scored on each of its next five possessions and gained 311 yards of total offense without Gronk on the field. Brady definitely carries some risk moving forward, but there are still plenty of reasons to trust him as a solid fantasy quarterback.
Shane Vereen - Vereen should see an increase in his fantasy value, and he could play like a top 10 fantasy running back for the rest of the year. Once Gronk went down, Brady kept looking for Vereen over and over again. Vereen is now a sure fire must start option, and he will be a big contributor to fantasy teams that are still competing for a championship.
Julian Edelman - Edelman popped back onto the fantasy scene a few weeks ago, and it seems safe to think that his value will be the same as it has been since his reemergance. Edelman may get an increase in targets and he could put up bigger numbers, but defenses will be focusing on him more now that they don't have to worry about Gronk. As of now, Edelman is the Patriots top WR on paper, but there is no guarantee defenses will gameplan to guard him as true #1 WR. Edelman's value moving forward will depend on how defenses decide to matchup against him, but there is no reason to suspect his value will decrease which makes his a solid starter the rest of the way.
Danny Amendola - In order for Brady to keep his fantasy value, Amendola is going to have to step up and be the the guy who is supposed to be good enough to replace Wes Welker. Amendola is the most likely option to see a major boost in production now that Gronk is no longer around. Amendola caught the game winning touchdown for the Patriots last week, and that could be a sign of things to come. Amendola carries the most risk of the main Patriot receivers, but that also means his production has the most room to improve. Amendola is now a risky fantasy starter with a tremendous upside.
Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins - Dobson and Thompkins have both been hurt, and it is unclear when they will be back. Dobson was becoming the better fantasy play before he got hurt, but as of now, neither one represents a viable fantasy option.
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