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TE Troy Niklas - New England Patriots

6-6, 270Born: 9-18-1992College: Notre DameDrafted: Round 2, pick 2014

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Week 3: at Detroit Lions

All TE vs DET

FBG says: Great matchup. Tom Brady still presides over an elite, dynamic passing game, one capable of massive volume and efficiency on any given week. But as presently constructed, this isn't a matchup-busting unit. Brady's receiving corps has been ravaged by injury and suspension, leaving him with little real explosiveness beyond Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan. Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson are ideally slot and gadget types, and with his tackles looking shaky, Brady has little opportunity to uncork down the field. That could change before too long with Josh Gordon in the fold, but six days post-trade may be asking a bit much in this offense. He'll likely see 20-25 snaps Sunday and be given at least one opportunity to win a downfield ball, though. As for Gronkowski, he remains wildly dynamic and almost impossible to keep off the stat sheet. He's routinely Brady's first read on downfield routes, and he's still dominating linebackers and safeties up the seams. The Detroit pass defense hasn't been tested much here in 2018, with opponents spending most of their time in clock-grinding mode. But there's trouble afoot, as this isn't a unit to fear from virtually any angle. The secondary generally isn't bad, stocked with a shutdown type in Darius Slay a ballhawking centerfielder in Glover Quin. But there's little pass rush beyond Ezekiel Ansah to truly pressure a pocket, so those strong defenders are exposed too often. And Slay may not suit up Sunday after being concussed in Week 2. Handing Tom Brady this matchup with Slay on the sideline would be almost unfair, and would make for arguably the week's biggest mismatch.

Weekly Performance vs TE 1, TE 12, TE 24

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Schedule

3@ Detroit Lions
4vs Miami Dolphins
5vs Indianapolis Colts
6vs Kansas City Chiefs
7@ Chicago Bears
8@ Buffalo Bills
9vs Green Bay Packers
10@ Tennessee Titans
11--- BYE WEEK ---
12@ New York Jets
13vs Minnesota Vikings
14@ Miami Dolphins
15@ Pittsburgh Steelers
16vs Buffalo Bills
17vs New York Jets