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Patriots' Top 3 Taking Shape at WR?

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Tue, 02 Jul 2024, 11:03 PM EDT

ESPN's Mike Reiss posited this week who the early favorites might be to lead the Patriots at WR. "Former Viking K.J. Osborn ... has positioned himself as an early leader among Patriots receivers," Reiss wrote. "Second-year slot receiver DeMario Douglas appears as quick as ever. Add in [rookie Ja'Lynn] Polk, and that could be the team's top three targets if everyone is healthy." That assessment came amid a longer intro that focused on Polk's work. The second-round pick has reportedly impressed with his work in practice. He -- and the others -- face a seemingly wide-open fight for jobs in a WR corps that stunk last year and didn't spend much on adding to it this offseason.

What They're Saying

New Patriots WRs coach Tyler Hughes spent 2023 on the Washington Huskies staff, for Polk's final college season: "He has a really great work ethic. ... I think his improvement has come from learning our system and playbook and how his skill set fits into that. Like any new player coming in, you have some things you've done in your past that have been really good for you -- you have to use those -- but also have an open-minded approach and say, 'What else can I do to improve?' because obviously players are a little bit better and a little bit faster. He's done a good job of saying, 'This is what I know, this is what I need to work on,' and he's worked at it every day."

2024 Fantasy Football Impact

It's too early to know how New England WR snaps will sort out, and this certainly won't be a corps to invest heavily into. But you don't need to.

Polk leads the group in redraft ADP at WR69. Douglas follows at WR74, with no one else inside the top 80.

At that level, you can take shots on any guy you want. Polk and Douglas sit in similar spots in our best ball rankings vs. their ADPs. WR Kendrick Bourne checks in next and remains arguably the biggest wild card.

Bourne got a three-year extension just this March -- after ending his season prematurely with an ACL tear. That sure makes him seem likely to crack the top 3 when ready. He has yet to practice this offseason.

Dynasty Impact

Polk and Douglas certainly look best here. One's a rookie, while the other heads into just his second season. Douglas enjoyed heavy involvement on limited healthy exposure as a rookie.

Other Winners & Losers

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyquan Thornton, and Kayshon Boutte can't like how things are going. None looks like a lock to make the 2024 regular-season roster.

What's Next for Ja'Lynn Polk?

Training camp should reveal more about this passing game. Polk -- as an early second-rounder -- is at least a lock for the roster, and probably to rank among the team's top four wideouts immediately.

Matt Schauf Author Image
Matt Schauf, Editor
Matt has earned two Fantasy Pros accuracy awards for IDP rankings and won thousands of dollars as a player across best ball, dynasty, and high-stakes fantasy formats. He has been creating fantasy football content for more than 20 years, with work featured by Sporting News, Rotoworld, Athlon, Sirius XM, and others. He's been with Draft Sharks since 2011.
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