2023 Fantasy Football New England Patriots Preview

by A.J. Applegarth
2023 Fantasy Football New England Patriots Preview

Welcome to the 2023 Fantasy Football New England Patriots Preview brought to you by the Fantasy Six Pack!  I’m your host, A.J. Applegarth.

You may remember me from my past articles, the F6P Running Back Depth Chart, and, the F6P Wide Receiver Depth Chart. If not, no worries, you likely recognize me as the comedic genius co-host of the Peabody-worthy Fantasy Six Pack Hour Podcast on YouTube.

Basically, the main point here is that after umpteen years, I’m officially bringing my journalistic talents back to the Fantasy Six Pack content space! But, enough about me (for now…); the reason you’re here is to find out about the fantasy worthiness of the New England Patriots.

As much as it pains me to write this, the Patriots have been arguably the most successful NFL franchise of this millennium. That said, New England’s dynasty can also be viewed as the football equivalent of the old “the Chicken or the Egg” paradox.

How so? Well, Bill Belichick took over as the team’s head coach in 2000. Yet, the team’s 20-year period of success also coincides with Tom Brady’s tenure in New England. I’ll let you guys decide which one of these two dudes should be ‘The Chicken" and which is "The [rotten] Egg.”

Back in 2020, Tommy Boy took his H.O.F. Quarterbacking to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then he simply proceeded to win yet another Super Bowl. On the flippity-flip, Billy No-Sleeves has experienced more ups and downs than a rickety wooden rollercoaster since Brady left town.

The question I hope to answer throughout this article is not whether the hapless Pats can get back to NFL relevance in 2023. Rather, it’s, "Can the team’s key contributors help fantasy managers take home the ‘ship in their 2023 fantasy leagues?" Well, keep reading to find out the answer!

2023 Fantasy Football New England Patriots Preview

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Quarterbacks

Clearly, none of the names listed above are even remotely in the same class as TB12's Jockstrap. Alas, here's a live look of Mr. Jones puttin' in that work for Year #3 a mere week ago. We see you, Mac!

After being selected as the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Jones went on to start all 17 regular season games for the Patriots that season. He finished his rookie year with a 10-7 record, 3,801 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Jones finished out the 2021 season by notching 232 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in New England’s playoff loss to Buffalo. Since that game, Michael McCorkle Jones has two more losses than wins (8-to-6), has averaged only 214.1 yards/game, and has a 14:11 TD:INT ratio.

Now, that’s not the worst stat line I’ve seen, but also, not necessarily one I want to see on my fantasy squads, either! I assume most fantasy managers feel the same way, so the only reason I would endorse Mac Jones is simply for added depth in 14-plus team leagues, Superflex leagues, or Dynasty leagues. Otherwise, Jones isn't much more than a streaming option when the matchup is too juicy to pass up (when your main QB1 is on his Bye Week, of course).

Running Backs

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Typically, the New England rushing attack isn’t one I would highly recommend due to Belichick’s frustrating week-to-week usage of his backs. However, this year could be different since this backfield should, literally, run through Rhamondre Stevenson.

Last season, Car Rham-Rod rushed for 1,040 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. He also added 421 receiving yards and one touchdown from his Gronk-esque 69 receptions. That stat line was good enough to land Stevenson inside RB1 territory (RB11 in Half-PPR, RB7 in PPR).

This season, Stevenson no longer has Damien Harris around to vulture carries or touchdowns. Instead, he has a less-threatening group of running backs, including oft-injured journeyman, Ty Montgomery, Pierre Strong Jr., and Kevin Harris. Of the bunch, I lean toward Strong Jr. becoming the early favorite for the main backup role, but typical to Belichick-ian ways, the backup role could really be a week-to-week toss-up.

Wide Receivers

The New England wide receiver corps is a near-carbon copy of the 2022 group, minus Jakobi Meyers. The Patriots supplemented the loss of their former WR1 by bringing in Juju Smith-Schuster, though.

Juju should fit in swimmingly with this group, as his arrival signals yet another wide receiver retread to don the red, white, and blue. Seriously, though, I do like Juju to quickly take over as the top-targetted receiver ahead of more recent retreads, DaVante Parker and Kendrick Bourne.

He's the youngest of the Pointing Spiderman triumvirate at only 26 (yes, I know Bourne is only 27...fight me!), but Juju has easily had the most productive NFL and Fantasy Football career coming into this season. That said, Parker and Bourne are both solid outside options that can stretch the field, and the tight ends aren't too shabby, either.

Tight Ends

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Just like Parker and Bourne, Hunter Henry gets to endure his own form of teammate vulturing this season. As pointed out in Dennis Sosic's 2023 Fantasy Football Miami Dolphins Preview, former divisional foe, Mike Gesicki, will be a target-stealer for sure in 2023.

Gesicki already has familiarity with the teams in the AFC East, and I think that will only help him succeed (and, maybe even reach his full potential) in Belichick's offense. Henry will still have value for fantasy, even with Mikey G. in town. Although, some of that value is definitely tied to Henry's draft day price compared to Gesicki.

Final Verdict

The New England Patriots are always a difficult team to decipher when it comes to Fantasy Football. Most of this is aided by Bill Belichick's complex playbook, which seemingly focuses on a new player earning the lion's share of the fantasy points every week. But, that doesn't mean we should just forego drafting/playing certain guys if they are potentially on their "off week" for Belichick's offensive strategy.

As I opined above, the New England wide receivers are my 'X-Factor' for this offense as a whole. If the receivers can gel with Mac Jones early in the season, this could be a dangerous team. However, if this group struggles, or, if Jones struggles to get them involved, it could be a long season ahead for New England.

In conclusion, Rhamondre Stevenson is my only "Must-Have" player on this roster. I'm fully confident in his ability to rack up fantasy points and finish the season in RB1 territory once again.

That wraps up our 2023 Fantasy Football New England Patriots preview. Thanks for tuning in, and good luck with your fantasy teams this season!


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