There are plenty of questions surrounding the Patriots after their clunky start.
First off, are you buying a big rebound in Week 4, at home against Miami? If so, who are you buying as a DFS value?
Phil Alexander: If the question is asking if New England is going to squash Miami, I would lean no. Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, and Kenyan Drake give the Dolphins more than enough speed to exploit the Patriots sluggish linebackers. This game should be closer than the seven-point spread implies.
But if the question is asking if New England's key offensive pieces can rebound from a fantasy perspective this week, the answer is yes. Miami fields a top-10 pass defense by most metrics, but they have faced Marcus Mariota/Blaine Gabbert, Sam Darnold, and Derek Carr so far this season. Let's see how they fair on the road against Tom Brady.
The Patriots player with the most favorable matchup is James White, especially since Rex Burkhead on IR with a neck injury. The Dolphins rank 25th in both pass success rate and yards per pass attempt allowed to opposing running backs. With Sony Michel doing nothing in the passing game over his first two pro games, White -- who has at least 14 PPR fantasy points in every game this season -- is a solid bet to become the third straight running back to exceed 58 yards through the air against Miami.
Justin Howe: I'm not necessarily buying up Patriots, but I'm not shying away, either. The Dolphins pass defense has been a big-play unit thus far, tying for the league lead in interceptions. But it's also been vulnerable, with shaky cornerback play and poor downfield tackling. They've relied upon successful gambles and questionable throws for their success, and Tom Brady tends to transcend that stuff. Not always, of course, and this Patriots supporting cast is uninspiring at best. But I'm expecting a modest Brady turnaround as he find exploitable mistakes in the Miami secondary.
To that end, I'm not afraid to invest in Rob Gronkowski this week.
I'm also not afraid of a GPP stab at one of the running backs. Sony Michel seems to have the early-down role locked up - Rex Burkhead isn't built for it - and always boasts that LeGarrette Blount potential to clean up with touchdown opportunity. And James White has shown the ability to catch 6 passes or more regardless of game script. He's their new Kevin Faulk, trusted and utilized more impactfully than the runners, and he's always on the GPP radar.
Dan Hindery: I am buying into a big rebound this weekend. The Patriots of the Brady/Belichick era have not lost back-to-back many times, just seven total. Per ESPN Stats and Info, their record in the games following back-to-back losses is 7-0 with the margin of victory a preposterous 20.7 points per game. We could see something similar on Sunday with New England taking out their frustrations on Miami.
The two players who stand out as the best values for DFS are Chris Hogan and Sony Michel. Hogan had two touchdown catches against the Jaguars in Week 2 but has otherwise been a major disappointment this season. However, he was on the field for every offensive snap in Week 3 and remains the top receiver. He is due for a big game. Michel has not looked great in his first two NFL appearances but he has been playing catch up after missing almost all of training camp. He is going to turn it around at some point. His price is extremely attractive considering his expected role.
Will Grant: I think most people expect that after two tough road losses, the Patriots are going to come home and roll all over the Dolphins this week. I don’t think that’s going to be the case. Vegas has the Patriots as a 7 point favorite at home with a projected total of 28 points. That’s a pretty big jump for a team that’s averaging less than 20 per game over the first three weeks.
That being said, I would consider sneaking James White into a couple of my lineups this week. Miami has a pretty solid run defense, and they are allowing just 89 yards per game on the ground. But White also contributes in the short passing game, and I think the Patriots are going to need that against the aggressive Dolphins who are better than many expected. Tom Brady is an outside consideration, with a possible stack on Philip Dorsett. But that’s little more than a ‘dart’ type of pick because Brady has done OK so far this season and none of his receivers have really hit big value. Rob Gronkowski leads all receivers with just over 60 yards per game and #2 on the list is White who is averaging just over 40. I don’t feel confident in any of them right now.
James Brimacombe: The game has clearly changed for the Patriots in 2018 and acting as it has just been a three-game hiccup would be a mistake. Teams are just double and triple teaming Gronkowski and that is becoming a major factor on how opposing defenses play the Patriots. The Patriots have weapons on offense and Brady is the best in the business at utilizing the weapons he is dealt with each year. This year feels different, seeing them take a flier on Josh Gordon, drafting a running back in the first round, and dealing with an Edelman suspension have been big developments with the offense this year.
If they were to rebound against the Dolphins and put up a huge offensive performance I think it would have to be something different than what we have seen in the past. They need one of their running backs to step up and help move the ball which can lead to Tom Brady also getting the passing game back in a good spot. Sony Michel is the name that comes to mind that could help spark the offense and help them turn things around.
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