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New England Patriots Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2022

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WR Nelson Agholor said he’s feeling more comfortable entering year 2 as a Patriot. “Whereas a year ago, I was learning, so you do things at a certain learning tempo,” Agholor said. “You never get to go full speed, because you want to make sure you're doing it right, so you kind of move with caution. Now I know what it looks like and I get to just put my flavor on it.” The veteran signed a 2 year deal worth $22 million last March but posted only 37-473-3 on a 12.2% target share. With the Pats adding DeVante Parker and 2nd-round rookie Tyquan Thornton, odds are Agholor will remain off the fantasy radar.

Pats beat writer Khari Thompson believes the team won’t re-sign RB Damien Harris, unless both sides agree on a “very team-friendly deal.” New England has a promising RB already paired with Harris in Rhamondre Stevenson. And just last week, RBs Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris arrived inside the first 6 rounds of the draft. For 2022, Harris slots in as an RB3.

Patriots RB James White is unlikely to participate in voluntary team workouts this month, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “I still have a little while to go [after] a pretty rough injury,” White said this week. The veteran back needed surgery following a September hip subluxation. New England added RB Pierre Strong in the draft, but White will project as the passing-down favorite when healthy. Still, there’s just not much fantasy upside to chase here.

The Patriots spent a 4th-round pick on Western Kentucky QB Bailey Zappe – notably ahead of North Carolina’s Sam Howell and Nevada’s Carson Strong. Zappe started 4 seasons for FCS-level Houston Baptist before transferring to Western Kentucky last year. He stuffed the stat sheet for the Hilltoppers, racking up 5,967 passing yards and 62 scores. Zappe is considered a refined and smart QB, but he lacks arm strength. He looks like an NFL backup, which is what he’ll be in New England behind Mac Jones.

South Dakota State RB Pierre Strong went to the Patriots in the 4th round of the NFL Draft. Strong brings stellar speed for the position (4.37-second 40) in a frame similar to Tony Pollard’s. He racked up three 1,000-yard rushing seasons over 4 years (plus a redshirt campaign) at South Dakota State, averaging 7.2 yards per carry for his career. Strong added decent receiving production, including 42 total receptions over his final 2 years. He led all of FCS in rushing yards and ranked 2nd in rushing TDs. Strong joins a crowded New England backfield alongside Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, James White and others – although Strong’s speed is something those other guys can’t match.

The Patriots traded up to select Baylor WR Tyquan Thornton with the 50th pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. Thornton goes 6’2, 181 pounds and blazed a 4.28-second 40 time at the Combine. No, surprise then, that he averaged 15.7 yards per catch across 4 college seasons. Thornton also has strong hands (3.1% drop rate last year) and a nice catch radius. We’ll see if he can develop into a more complete receiver, but Thornton at least has a shot to emerge as a downfield weapon. It’s a major surprise that he landed in Round 2, but his fantasy stock is certainly on the rise.

The Dolphins traded WR DeVante Parker and a 2022 5th-round pick to the Patriots for a 2023 3rd-rounder. Parker was on the outs after Miami traded for WR Tyreek Hill and signed WR Cedrick Wilson. In New England, Parker will battle for outside snaps with WRs Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. Parker has the most raw talent of that trio but has mostly disappointed since the Fins selected him 14th overall in the 2015 draft. Also hurting Parker's 2022 fantasy outlook is that the Patriots ranked 28th in pass rate and 27th in situation-neutral pass rate last year. They figure to throw more in QB Mac Jones' 2nd season, but this will still likely be a run-leaning offense.

Former Giants S Jabrill Peppers is joining the Patriots on a 1-year deal. Peppers is still just 26 (until Oct. 4) and a former 1st-round pick, but he's likely headed for a reserve/rotational role with New England. His playing time dipped even before an ACL tear and high-ankle sprain ended his 2021 campaign early. Peppers lands in a crowded Patriots secondary. His best path back to IDP relevance would be if New England envisions some sort of hybrid safety-LB role for a guy who has played both and looks better in the box than in deep coverage.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Patriots are signing CB Malcolm Butler to a 2-year deal that could be worth up to $9 million. The money suggests they hope Butler can start for them but doesn't necessarily lock him into their top 3 at the position. Butler missed last season after "retiring" but has clearly been inspired by Tom Brady. When active, Butler is capable of delivering useful IDP numbers -- at least in part because QBs like to throw at him.

RB James White has re-signed with the Patriots for $5 million over 2 years, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. That's not enough money to guarantee that White will make the 2022 roster. But he's available through the end of drafts right now and is thus a low-risk option with significant PPR upside. White caught 40+ passes in 6 straight seasons before the hip injury that knocked him out in his 3rd game last season. White was averaging 4 receptions per game when he went down.

QB Brian Hoyer has agreed to a 2-year, $4 million deal with the Patriots, including $3 million guaranteed, ESPN reports. That will keep Hoyer in place as the backup to Mac Jones.

Patriots beat writer Khari Thompson writes that the “next step” for RB Rhamondre Stevenson is “getting better as a pass blocker and receiver.” As a 2021 rookie, Stevenson excelled as a rusher, posting 4.6 YPC and excellent broken tackle metrics. But he graded out as a below average pass protector and pass catcher from Pro Football Focus, dropping 1 of 18 targets and fumbling on another. Still, the fact that Stevenson effectively matched Damien Harris in routes per game (7.2) is encouraging. There’s also not a receiving RB currently on the roster, assuming James White, 30, gets to free agency. Look for the 1-2 punch of Harris-Stevenson to continue in 2022.

Patriots RB Damien Harris (hamstring) is active for tonight's game at Buffalo. Harris was a limited participant in practice all week. He enters with TDs in 5 straight, with 8 total scores over that stretch.

Patriots RB Damien Harris (hamstring) was limited in practice all week and is officially questionable for Saturday night's Wild Card game vs. the Bills. He's 1 of 13 Patriots listed as questionable. Harris is fully expected to play, but we'll get New England's inactives around 7 pm ET on Saturday.

Patriots S Adrian Phillips (knee) and DT Christian Barmore (knee) are active for today's game against the Dolphins, after entering the day questionable. LB Dont'a Hightower is inactive with his own knee injury.

Patriots RB Damien Harris (hamstring) is active for today’s game vs. the Dolphins. He was limited in practice all week and carries some additional risk with that hammy issue.

Patriots RB Damien Harris (hamstring) was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. the Dolphins. We’re expecting Harris to play but will look for an update on his status on Sunday morning. Patriots-Dolphins doesn’t kick off until 4:25 pm ET.

Patriots RB Damien Harris (hamstring) put in a limited practice on Wednesday. He was pulled from last week's game, but it looks like that was due to New England's huge lead over Jacksonville. We're tentatively expecting Harris to play vs. the Dolphins on Sunday.

Patriots S Adrian Phillips sustained a wrist injury in Sunday's win over the Jaguars. We'll see about his status for Week 18.

Patriots S Kyle Dugger (hamstring), S Adrian Phillips (knee, illness) and CB J.C. Jackson (elbow) are active for today's game against the Jaguars. All arrived questionable but should be ready for IDP use at their appropriate levels.

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