Your team, rated by footballguys.com
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QB: Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton
RB: LeVeon Bell, Kareem Hunt, Marshawn Lynch, Latavius Murray
WR: Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Willie Snead, John Brown, Torrey Smith
TE: Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard
PK: Dan Bailey
TD: New England Patriots
We like your overall strength at the traditionally less important positions, but make no mistake about it: this team is about strength at the running back position. And we think it will be among the top teams in the league. Somewhere Emmitt Smith is smiling.
Nonetheless, we'd be remiss if we didn't at least mention the relative lack of strength at quarterback and receiver. These are usually survivable weaknesses, but we'd feel better if we knew you were committed to zealously scouring the waiver wire for this year's emergent players at QB and WR. Getting a breakout player at one or both of those positions would take your already-good team to the next level.
Players we particularly like on this team include Kareem Hunt and Andy Dalton. We have both these guys ranked ahead of where they are typically being drafted.Bottom line:
- With great inseason management, we think you have about a 75 percent chance of making the playoffs.
- With good inseason management, we think you have about a 65 percent chance of making the playoffs.
- With average inseason management, we think you have a 48 percent chance of making the playoffs.
In any event, we wish you the best of luck. Here's hoping all your weeks are like week 2 of 2015:Russell Wilson vs. GB: 206 passing yards, 78 rushing yards, 2 TD
Torrey Smith vs. PIT: 120 receiving yards, 1 TD
Rob Gronkowski vs. BUF: 113 receiving yards, 1 TD
Brandon Marshall vs. IND: 101 receiving yards, 1 TD
We expect Russell Wilson to be a solid starter. According to our projections, he's the #5 QB, so you should be better off than most teams in the starting quarterback slot.
Andy Dalton, who we have rated as the #16 QB, should be a fine backup.
Note that Wilson and Dalton have the same bye week. We don't necessarily disapprove of this if you like both of them, but don't forget about it. You have no other options at this point.RB Summary:
Nice work here. We like both your starting running backs, as our projections indicate that they give you a combined 2.3 point-per-game advantage over an average opponent in this league. Our projections have LeVeon Bell ranked at #2 and Kareem Hunt ranked at #14.
Your bench also looks good. Tough to do better than Marshawn Lynch at RB3. But Latavius Murray is out of his league as a fourth RB.WR Summary:
We see all your starters at receiver as below average. Dez Bryant is our #9 ranked receiver, Brandon Marshall is #33, and we have Eric Decker 36th.
Willie Snead is a little below average as a fourth receiver. John Brown also looks somewhat weak as a fifth WR.
Because you're not particularly strong overall at the position, adding some depth here was a good idea. But we're not convinced Torrey Smith is the right player for the job. Check the end of the report for some alternative suggestions.TE Summary:
As you are well aware, Rob Gronkowski is an elite tight end. We have him ranked first overall at the position. He's about 2.4 points per game better than an average starting TE in this league. We don't see O.J. Howard as an adequate second tight end. An upgrade here would be nice, but if Gronkowski holds up, it won't matter.Kicker Summary:
Dan Bailey, our fifth ranked kicker, won't win the league for you, but he'll do.Defense Summary:
The Patriots are probably not a difference-maker at defense, but they should be OK.When you don't have an elite defense, one option is a committee approach. That is, try to get two cheap defenses whose schedules fit well together. Here are a few teams who we think may be available and whose schedules fit best with the Patriots', along with the combined schedule that each would create: Patriots + Jaguars = HOU | TEN | HOU | NYJ | TB | LAR | IND | LAC | CIN | LAC | CLE | ARI | IND | MIA | HOU | SF
Patriots + Bills = NYJ | CAR | DEN | CAR | TB | NYJ | TB | LAC | NYJ | DEN | LAC | MIA | BUF | IND | MIA | BUF
Patriots + Ravens = CIN | CLE | JAX | CAR | TB | NYJ | MIN | LAC | TEN | DEN | GB | HOU | BUF | MIA | CLE | IND
Is this a dynasty team? Click here to find out how it might look for 2018 season.
Schedule AnalysisGreen means GO (good matchup), red means STOP (bad matchup). Main starters highlighted At the bottom of the table, the Relative Strength row shows you how strong we project your team to be, relative to your usual strength, in that week. This accounts for byes and matchups.
|New England Patriots||KC||NO||HOU||CAR||TB||NYJ||ATL||LAC||DEN||OAK||MIA||BUF||MIA||PIT||BUF|
- Please note that the Relative strength numbers above account for both byes and matchups.
- Remember that you might have starters on bye in a given week, but still have a high relative strength. This could occur because of favorable matchups, or it might be because you are projected to be missing less production than an average opponent will (your opponents have to deal with byes too).
- Week 6 presents serious bye week issues for you: Andy Dalton, Russell Wilson, Dez Bryant, and Dan Bailey are off.
- Week 9 presents moderate bye week issues: LeVeon Bell, Latavius Murray, Rob Gronkowski, and New England Patriots are not playing.
- John Brown, Eric Decker, and Brandon Marshall are out in week 8, but your opponent will likely have comparable issues with byes.
- In weeks 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, and 12 you'll probably be better off than your opponent, as far as byes are concerned.
Potential Free AgentsListed in order of preference. We don't know exactly who is available in your league, but here is a list of players who might be available and could be upgrades over some of your depth players, listed in order of preference. Your players are listed in red for comparison. Players who might not mesh well with the bye weeks of your key players are grayed out.
QB: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here. RB: Danny Woodhead (10), Jonathan Stewart (11), Theo Riddick (7), LeGarrette Blount (10), James White (9), Giovani Bernard (6), Darren McFadden (), Jamaal Charles (5), Darren Sproles (10), Thomas Rawls (6), Chris Thompson (5), Wendell Smallwood (10), Shane Vereen (8), C.J. Prosise (6), DeAndre Washington (10), Jacquizz Rodgers (1). We have all these players rated ahead of Latavius Murray. WR: Marvin Jones (7), Robby Anderson (11), Sterling Shepard (8), Chris Hogan (9), Breshad Perriman (10), Donte Moncrief (11), Ted Ginn (5), Devin Funchess (11), Kevin White (9), Kenny Stills (1), Marqise Lee (8), Cole Beasley (6), Kendall Wright (9), John Brown (8), Tyler Lockett (6), Marquise Goodwin (11). We have all these players rated ahead of Torrey Smith. TE: Tyler Eifert (6), Delanie Walker (8), Hunter Henry (9), Kyle Rudolph (9), Martellus Bennett (9), Eric Ebron (7), Coby Fleener (5), Jack Doyle (11), Charles Clay (6), Jason Witten (6), Julius Thomas (1), Austin Hooper (5), C.J. Fiedorowicz (7), Jared Cook (10), Cameron Brate (1), Dwayne Allen (9). We have all these players rated ahead of O.J. Howard. PK: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here. TD: New England Patriots (9), Baltimore Ravens (10), Philadelphia Eagles (10), Carolina Panthers (11), Pittsburgh Steelers (9), New York Giants (8), Cincinnati Bengals (6), Jacksonville Jaguars (8), Green Bay Packers (8), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1).
Projections and Player Summaries
Andy Dalton - Dalton and AFC North counterpart Joe Flacco are similar to evaluate. Both have been successful enough to remain unquestioned starters on their teams, but neither has been among the league's highest caliber of quarterbacks. There's enough sample size on them to know that the range of outcomes they have produced thus far in their careers isn't likely to change. One thing that isn't similar between the AFC North foes is that Dalton has an elite wide receiver in A.J. Green, and his other weapons have improved this offseason as well. John Ross was drafted ninth overall to give them team a deep threat with blazing speed, and Joe Mixon was drafted in the second round to add a playmaker to the backfield. Even Dalton's incumbent weapons should improve this season simply by being healthier. The all-world Green only played 10 games last season, as did Giovani Bernard. Tyler Eifert, a touchdown threat on any play inside the 20, only played eight. The whole offense should have some positive regression this season, even with some losses on the offensive line. Dalton should be in for a bounce-back season if he can stay healthy behind a patchwork offensive line.
Russell Wilson - Once again, Seattle reshuffled its offensive line and the unit allowed an average of 2.7 sacks per game--the sixth-highest total in the league last year. Even so, Wilson gutted through the season despite the punishment that resulted in an MCL sprain and high-ankle sprain early in the year and later, a pectoral injury. He didn't have complete mobility until season's end, but he still finished the year as the No. 10 fantasy quarterback, posting a career-high 4219 passing yards. For the third consecutive year, Wilson heated up down the stretch, throwing 10 touchdowns during his final 5 games. Wilson also posted a career-high 11 interceptions, but 5 of them came against Green Bay in Week 14 and at least 3 of them were odd-ball situations. The past three years have demonstrated that Wilson has potential to deliver elite fantasy quarterback production, but he needs a better offensive line to do it. He's an aggressive and accurate deep passer when he has time in the pocket. When he's healthy enough to buy time, there are few who improvise as well as Wilson. Fantasy owners will likely be in wait-and-see mode with Wilson's upside, making him a mid-to-late-range QB1 in drafts.
LeVeon Bell - Fantasy owners know what they're getting when selecting superstar running back Le'Veon Bell. If healthy, there's no better running back in the NFL at crushing an opponents will on a weekly basis -- both in the NFL and your fantasy league. Bell went over 100 all-purpose yards in 10 of the 12 games he played in last year, and he was gold in PPR leagues with 75 catches in 2016. Bell missed four games (three to suspension) in 2016 but still finished as a top-10 player in rushing attempts (261), rushing yards (1,268) and yards per rush (4.86). On a weekly basis, projecting 140 all-purpose yards and five or more catches is not out of the question. With all his ability, Bell's not a sure thing as injuries have plagued him at times during his pro career. Earlier this year, Bell underwent surgery to repair a 'core muscle injury' but all signs about his recovery have been positive to this point. It's these injury concerns that may cause Bell to slide from the top overall pick in your fantasy draft.
Kareem Hunt - The third-round rookie will begin the season with the first shot at the starting job after Spencer Ware was carted off with a knee injury during the Chiefs third preseason game. Ware could not place any weight on the leg and the current news on Ware is a PCL tear with additional damage that may require season-ending surgery. Ware is seeking a second opinion, but even if Ware beats the odds and returns healthy by midseason, Hunt has a great opportunity to lock down the starting job. Hunt is a smart runner with good balance and enough burst to find and exploit creases. He might be a little quicker than Ware, but he's not as strong after contact (few are) and his third-down game must adjust to the rigors of the NFL, which could take him a season or two of adjustment (depending on the level of his work ethic and retention of the game). Charcandrick West and veteran C.J. Spiller will likely earn more time with Ware's injury. They'll begin as specialists and substitutes but if Hunt struggles with pass protection, they could turn this job into a committee if Ware does not return.
Marshawn Lynch - Marshawn Lynch retired after suffering through an injury-plagued 2015 season and sat out the 2016 season. He decided to come out of retirement in the spring and was a perfect match for his hometown team. The big question for Lynch will be how much gas he has left in the tank at age 31. The early reports from offseason activities are promising. Lynch handled a lot of carries over a four-year stretch from 2011-2014. He ran for 1,200+ yard and scored at least 12 touchdowns each of those four seasons. If Lynch has anywhere near the same juice he had in his prime years in Seattle, he could have a great season behind the Raiders big, talented offensive line. His rugged, straight ahead running style is a great match for the Raiders . He should handle all of the goal line work and operate as a two-down back with the talented youngsters Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington getting all of the third-down action. Lynch's contract is incredibly heavy on incentives for rushing yards and touchdowns, so he will be highly motivated and the team is likely to feed him whenever possible to keep him happy and engaged. Lynch has more fantasy value in standard formats, where he has a solid floor and low-end RB1 upside. In PPR leagues, he will be reliant on racking up double-digit touchdowns to be a top-20 back.
Latavius Murray - On top of the Vikings drafting Dalvin Cook they added Latavius Murray from the Raiders who is coming off a 788 rushing yards and 12 touchdown season. Murray has been dealing with an ankle injury but is hopeful to be ready by the time camp starts and should be in a battle with Cook for playing time. Murray signed a three-year contract with the Vikings this offseason and appeared to be their primary ball carrier but that got turned upside down when the Vikings invested in Cook.
John Brown - Small but ultra-quick, Brown is a dangerous runner after the catch, and he has the speed to stretch defenses. His lingering concussion and complications from sickle cell anemia limited him during his 15 starts in 2016. Now fully healthy, he should build on his 2015 season of 65 catches, 1,003 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Despite some minor quad concerns, Bruce Arians said that Brown was back to his old self in June-July. It was Arians who once compared Brown's upside favorably to Colts Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison. However, it will take a great offense for Brown to earn that comparison even on a remote level. If Carson Palmer and the Cardinals offensive line can rebound from 2016's troubles, Brown has fantasy WR2 upside.
Dez Bryant - Dez Bryant came into last season with questions about his health and whether the transition from Tony Romo to Dak Prescott would stifle the offense. The Cowboys finished 13-3 and the offense was a top 5 unit in points scored, and Bryant was a key part of the resurgence. Yet, he wasn't the dominant receiver we've come to know before the 2015 season. Bryant has few physical peers, which allows him to win contested battles more often than not. He's also got top-end speed and runs precise routes; which combine to make him a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive backs. Optimists will point to Bryant's eight touchdowns and 15.9 yards-per-catch average. Pessimists will note another subpar catch rate (52%), three missed games, and failure to reach 1,000 yards. The truth lies somewhere in between.
Eric Decker - The Jets released Decker this spring and the Titans signed the veteran with the expectation of using him as a starter who can play outside and in the slot. Decker is doing just that in training camp. He's a good route runner with skill in traffic and enough speed to get deep with the Titans' play-action offense. His range of outcomes is wide, but all of them are likely in the realm of a fantasy starter in three-receiver formats.
Brandon Marshall - Brandon Marshall's career is remarkable. When he laces up his cleats this season for the Giants, it'll be his fifth NFL team. How many NFL players, at any position, have a credible case for the Hall of Fame and also played for five teams? Marshall has at least one 100+ reception season for four teams. He's notched eight 1,000-yard seasons. He's scored in double-digits in three of the last five years. When healthy and motivated, he's an unstoppable offensive force. That's the good news. The bad news is Marshall is 33 years old and is coming off a miserable season with the Jets (59 receptions for 788 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games), and he's signed to a one-year deal with the Giants. Marshall is used to being heavily targeted (125+ targets in nine of the last ten seasons) and will have to adjust to his new role as a complementary player. Ideally, Marshall will split WR2 duties with Sterling Shepard and be on the field much of the time in 3-WR sets. His skill set projects to age better than most, because he doesn't rely on breakaway speed. He wins battles with toughness and strength. Even if Marshall isn't targeted regularly, he'll be the Giants top red zone threat. Fantasy owners should take a flier on Marshall, but recognize his consistency won't be what we've become accustomed.
Torrey Smith - It's time to stop overstating Torrey Smith's capabilities. His $40-million contract with the 49ers will go down in history as one of the worst after two seasons led to a combined 53 receptions for 930 yards and seven touchdowns. He caught 20 passes in 2016 in spite of starting 12 games. Smith has never been a polished receiver; his career best catch rate is just 53%. What he does do, particularly as part of a robust offense, is provide a deep vertical threat that forces defenses to play the entire field. In that capacity, Smith's role in Philadelphia makes sense. Smith will 'start' opposite Alshon Jeffery but he'll rank no better than 4th in the passing tree. Carson Wentz struggled on deep passes last year, and Smith will help there while also opening up space for Darren Sproles, Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor to work short- and intermediate routes. Smith is a fantasy non-factor, but might be a key piece to strengthening the outlook for his teammates.
Willie Snead - Willie Snead has been suspended for the first three games of the 2017 season. He is the son of a high school coach and played collegiately at Ball State. In his final two seasons there, he became one of only two Ball State players to have two 1,000 yard receiving seasons. He totaled 223 catches for 2,991 yards, and 26 TDs. Snead originally signed an undrafted free agent contract in 2014 with the Browns, but failed to make the team. He was then signed to the practice squad at Carolina and eventually wound up in New Orleans in December that same year. He impressed in the Saints pre-season practices in 2015 and eventually became their second most productive wide receiver that season with 69 catches for 984 yards and 3 TDs. He continued that success last year with 72 receptions for 895 yards and 4 TDs, even while Michael Thomas passed him by. He may see reduced targets this year due to missing the first three games of the season.
Rob Gronkowski - Rob Gronkowski missed half the 2016 season, and had back surgery in December, so as is often the case, there is concern about his health. He expects to be practicing this summer, and should be completely ready for Week 1. Hopefully he can stay healthy, as the situation he's in is very good. Not only does he have Julian Edelman running inside routes and pulling defenders away from him, but Gronkowski now also has Brandin Cooks to draw coverage outside and away completely. Of course, more weapons also means more targets going to others. Despite that, we don't really think his production will slip from the 1,000-plus yards he saw in 2015 and 2014. Expect Gronkowski to produce at a high level again this year as long as he is healthy. Don't worry if you don't see him much on the practice field this spring and summer as the Patriots will take it easy on him for just that reason.
O.J. Howard - Howard surprisingly fell to Tampa Bay at No.19 overall in the 2017 after being projected as a top-12 pick for the entire draft process. While Tampa Bay re-signed Cameron Brate on a one-year contract this offseason, expect to see Howard - considered one of the most pro-ready prospects in the entire draft - on the field plenty. Historical expectations are low for rookie tight ends and Howard's receiving productivity is muted outside of a Brate injury.
|New England Patriots||39||10||14||3||320||19.4||124.1||7|
Player News (last 7 days)
"Our view" written by footballguys.com's Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom. Click here for all the news around the NFL, updated constantly.Chiefs | Kareem Hunt goes over 200 yards - Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt ran 24 times for 155 yards and a touchdown and caught seven passes for 51 yards and a touchdown in a 30-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday, Dec. 16. Sat Dec 16, 11:56 PM [Link to story] Cardinals | John Brown out for Week 15 - Arizona Cardinals WR John Brown (toe) was listed as a limited participant Friday, Dec. 15, but he has been ruled out for Week 15 against the Washington Redskins. Fri Dec 15, 05:11 PM [Link to story] Cardinals | Week 15 injury report for Arizona - Arizona Cardinals WR John Brown (toe), LB Gabe Martin (hamstring), RB Adrian Peterson (neck) and OG Earl Watford (ankle) have been ruled out for Week 15 against the Washington Redskins. DL Josh Mauro (ankle) and DL Corey Peters (ankle) are listed as limited participants and considered questionable, while TE Jermaine Gresham (illness) is also questionable after missing practice due to illness. S Budda Baker (thigh), S Antoine Bethea (knee), OG Alex Boone (back), LB Karlos Dansby (rest), WR Larry Fitzgerald (rest), LB Chandler Jones (hip), DE Frostee Rucker (rest) and RB Kerwynn Williams (ribs) were full participants and removed from the injury report. Fri Dec 15, 05:10 PM [Link to story] Cardinals | John Brown limited - Arizona Cardinals WR John Brown (toe) was limited during practice Thursday, Dec. 14. Thu Dec 14, 07:13 PM
|Footballguys view: Brown hasn't played since Week 11 and wasn't producing when he was on the field anyway. You can ignore him in fantasy.|
|Footballguys view: The rest of the offense has struggled without Amari Cooper and the Cowboys now have Sean Lee back. Lynch was able to make fantasy owners happy with a touchdown last week, but we don't feel that will happen against Dallas. Considering him a borderline RB2/RB3 option this week.|
|Footballguys view: Wilson is clutch...and fantasy owners love what he does most weeks. Seattle is at home against the Rams in Week 15, and Wilson has QB1 value for fantasy owners still going in the fantasy playoffs.|
|Footballguys view: Bryant had a bad drop in the first half on what could have been another big play, but he did enough|
|Footballguys view: Dalton was effective early, but the offense sputtered more and more as the game went on, and eventually the game got so out of hand that he was benched. He's not even a QB2 against Minnesota next week, but could have superflex/2QB league value against Detroit in Week 16.|
|Footballguys view: The Panthers met Murray in the backfield more than once in this game. He'll be a good RB2 play against the Bengals defense that collapsed against Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen this week - if you survived his dud this week.|
|Footballguys view: Bryant had a first-half drop that kept him from having a bigger day. He's still a solid WR2 against Oakland next week.|