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New England Patriots Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2022

Most Recent Fantasy Football News & Updates

Patriots rookie WR Tyquan Thornton left Friday night's preseason game with a shoulder injury. The team has provided no details to this point, with HC Bill Belichick saying he doesn't know yet whether Thornton will be available for the team's next exhibition. We'll keep an eye on the situation, but there's not much relevance for redraft fantasy football leagues here.

Mike Dussault of the Patriots' official website calls RB Ty Montgomery the "early favorite" for passing-down duties. "Montgomery has been one of the under-the-radar stars of Patriots training camp this summer, slowly but surely cementing himself as part of the running back rotation," Dussault writes. HC Bill Belichick called Montgomery a "very smart, multi-skilled, multi-talented player" prior to Tuesday's practice. This still feels like a fluid situation, with RBs Rhamondre Stevenson and Pierre Strong also in the mix for pass-catching work. But it's time to at least start considering Montgomery near the end of deeper PPR drafts.

According to multiple accounts, Patriots TE Hunter Henry left Tuesday morning's practice early. We have yet to see details on an injury but will keep watch for updates.

Patriots HC Bill Belichick said Tuesday that RB Rhamondre Stevenson "has done a real good job improving his pass-game skills," especially as a pass protector. Stevenson said back in June that his primary focus this offseason was in the passing game, and it sounds like the work has paid off. New England's pass-catching role is up for grabs with RB James White's retirement. It sounds like Stevenson, Ty Montgomery and rookie Pierre Strong are the top contenders for that job.

ESPN's Mike Reiss reports that QB Mac Jones "and most Patriots starters" aren't expected to play in tonight's preseason opener against the Giants. It would be nice to see Jones in action amid negative camp reviews, but we'll have to wait.

Patriots RB James White is retiring, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Many reports have had White continuing to have issues in his recovery from the hip injury that ended his 2021 campaign, so this doesn't come as a surprise. Rookie Pierre Strong might be the most direct replacement for White's skills and role, but we'll see how the renovated backfield splits up passing-down work. For now, Strong carries upside at the end of fantasy football drafts.

Patriots QB Mac Jones has struggled in training camp so far, according to Evan Lazar of the team's official website. "Jones looks out of sync and sometimes uncomfortable with what's happening around him," Lazar writes. "In passing situations with the field spread, Jones looks more like his usual self, and the glimpses we've seen of Mac's deep throws show signs of improvement. But the ball isn't coming out of his hands as quickly or decisively as in the past." We still have a month to go before Week 1, but this is a situation to monitor as the Patriots break in Matt Patricia as play caller.

NESN's Zack Cox calls Ty Montgomery a "strong candidate" for the Patriots' 3rd-down RB role. "He’s listed as a wide receiver but has seen just as many reps in the backfield this summer, if not more," Cox writes. He goes on to concede that Rhamondre Stevenson and rookie Pierre Strong are also candidates for the 3rd-down job. So the situation is as clear as mud at this point. We'll see if we learn anything in preseason games.

There have been multiple reports of Patriots TE Jonnu Smith showing well in training camp workouts. Sounds like new QBs coach Joe Judge is a fan. "He had a terrific offseason for us," Judge said, per ESPN's Mike Reiss. The crowd of pass-catchers in New England is the biggest concern, limiting the opportunity for a guy who got a 4-year, $50 million deal in free agency last offseason. Reiss, at least, says the mere 18% of plays that put both Smith and Hunter Henry on the field last year should increase this season. Smith might still need a Henry injury to be usable outside of best-ball fantasy football leagues.

ESPN's Mike Reiss notes that the Patriots offense has been inconsistent through training camp so far, featuring more "no chance" plays than usual. He opines that New England "experimenting with new things" has been partly to blame, but HC Bill Belichick (shockingly) also doesn't sound impressed. He said late in the week that the offense is "inching along" and that there are still "miles to go." Fortunately, the ADPs on nearly every member of the New England offense indicate that fantasy football drafters aren't especially excited. That means modest investment in whichever pieces interest you.

Those around Patriots 2nd-round WR Tyquan Thornton say he has showed impressive growth through his 1st training camp. "He's gotten better every single time he's stepped on the field," WRs coach Ross Douglas told ESPN's Mike Reiss. "He truly has a lot of gifts. It's not just his speed. His ability to change direction, ball skills. He has a good attitude and the guys in the room have embraced him. His development will be key and we'll get him there." Reiss adds that Thornton has been primarily working behind WRs Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, and that those 4 appear "locked in atop the depth chart." We're not betting on a big fantasy football return from Thornton in his rookie season. We'll see, though, whether he can buck the lackluster trend of early-round WRs under Bill Belichick over the next few years.

Patriots DB Kyle Dugger did not start in Friday night's simulated intrasquad scrimmage. NESN reports that he rotated in with slot CB Jonathan Jones on the "blue" team, which featured 1st-stringers. It's obviously early in the process, but this doesn't seem good for the playing time of the 3rd-year player. Dugger spent most of last season playing near full time. He came in short of 75% playing time just twice across the 1st 12 games, exceeding 80% 6 times. But his final 3 regular-season outings checked in at just 56%, 63% and 51%. Dugger rebounded to 83% in the playoff loss at Buffalo. If he continues to be more of a sub-package player through the preseason, Dugger might be hard pressed to reach 70% playing time consistently without injury to a teammate. That, in turn, would make it tough for him to deliver regularly useful fantasy points. We've knocked Dugger way down the IDP rankings for now.

Patriots insider Jeff Howe tweeted Wednesday that the “expectation” is Matt Patricia will call plays this season. As Howe points out, Patricia has called most of the Pats’ offensive plays in camp. However, the long-time assistant — who’s generally worked on the defensive side — has never been an offensive play-caller at any level. He’ll almost certainly prove to be a downgrade on Josh McDaniels.

Pats RB James White remains without a “clear timetable” to come off the PUP list, per insider Jeff Howe. The possibility remains that White, who’s rehabbing a hip injury, stays on the PUP list to start the season. Rhamondre Stevenson remains the favorite for passing-down work.

"My guess after being around this team a little is that Rhamondre Stevenson probably will get the bulk of the carries," NBC Sports' Peter King said after attending Patriots training camp. It's a tepid prediction -- and King reminded us that "you're not gonna have any Patriots RB run it 300 times. That's just not the way Bill Belichick wants to use his personnel in the backfield." But it's still noteworthy considering RB Damien Harris is going a round or 2 ahead of Stevenson in fantasy drafts. We'll be keeping a close eye on this backfield in the preseason.

WR DeVante Parker “looks like the Patriots #1 WR” through 2 days of training camp, per beat writer Mark Daniels. It’s obviously early, and players won’t be in pads until Monday. But the early word has been all positive on Parker, who’s performed “on a different level,” per Daniels. The 29-year-old is currently coming cheaply in FFPC best balls with an ADP of WR65.

Pats RB Rhamondre Stevenson has slimmed down to 225 pounds, per insider Doug Kyed. He’s listed at 230 pounds on NFL.com, so it’s not a drastic cut. The move is believed to be because of an increased emphasis on the passing game. Per Kyed, Stevenson said he has a better understanding of 3rd-down concepts entering year 2. With James White’s health a question mark, Stevenson looks like the Pats’ primary receiving back in 2022.

Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson ran with the 1st-team offense on Wednesday, while RB Damien Harris was with the 2s, according to multiple sources in attendance. It's the 1st day of Patriots training camp, so we're not overreacting or even adjusting projections for the backfield yet. But it's a situation to keep a close eye on through the rest of camp and preseason action.

Patriots HC Bill Belichick likes the progress he's seen from 2nd-year QB Mac Jones this offseason. "He's made tremendous strides," Belichick said Tuesday. "He did a great job last year, but he's starting from a much, much higher point this year from where he started last year. His offseason work has been significant, and I think everyone recognizes how well he prepares and how much further along he was than a year ago. ... And we have a much better feel for what he can do, what his strengths are, and how to try to play into those. He's self-aware, too. He knows what he does well. We want to try to feature those." Jones finished just 30th among QBs in fantasy points per game last year -- largely because he averaged just 30.6 pass attempts per game. Jones posted a 67.6% completion rate and 7.3 yards per attempt, though, and ranked 11th among 31 qualifiers in Pro Football Focus' passing grades. His lack of rushing ability caps the fantasy ceiling. But if the Patriots open up the passing game in 2022, Jones could certainly jump into mid-range QB2 territory.

ESPN's Mike Reiss highlights Patriots rookie RB Pierre Strong Jr. as a potential replacement for James White's passing-game usage if the veteran's hip doesn't allow him to begin the regular season on time. Strong's HC at South Dakota State called the RB's receiving "his greatest strength" and also lauded his ability as a pass protector. Strong also posted strong rushing numbers, including career highs of 1,686 yards and 240 carries (7.0 per rush) in his final season for the Jackrabbits. He then led all RBs at the Scouting Combine with a 4.37-second 40 at 5'11, 207 pounds. New England sports Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson as primary rushers, with 6th-round rookie Kevin Harris joining the mix there. Strong's primary competition for a "3rd-down" role, though, looks like J.J. Taylor and Ty Montgomery -- if White's not ready. New England tends to lean away from giving significant work to rookie RBs but had Stevenson ranking 2nd on the team in touches and total opportunities as a rookie just last year. Strong is interesting as an end-of-draft consideration for fantasy. He'll get more interesting the longer White stays on the PUP list.

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