Patriots Wideouts Promise Many Fantasy Headaches
The New England Patriots have been one of the most dominating teams in the NFL over the past decade. In relation to that, they have had one of the most high powered offenses in the NFL over that period also. But, as avid participants of fantasy football can attest to, it isn't always easy to consistently find where all that production is coming from.
Ok sure, quarterback Tom Brady is a fantasy no-brainer. He's the glue that holds the unit together as well as the fuse to their offensive dynamite. There is no offense worth mentioning without Brady.
That's a given.
But that's about the only one.
Outside of Brady, the two most consistent guys on that offense the past couple of years have been wideout Wes Welker and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Unfortunately, in 2013, even that isn't going to be the case as Welker is currently snagging balls from Peyton Manning in Denver and Gronk is on the verge of yet another possible surgery on his left arm.
Oh, yeah, they also cut disappointing wideout Brandon Lloyd.
So, with the Patriots receiving situation set to look entirely different in the coming season, where does that leave fantasy owners looking to cash in on the proficiency of Tom Brady? Well, other than reaching for the Tylenol, here's how this situation looks at this time.
Danny Amendola: No Wes Welker, no problem. Or at least that's what the Pats are hoping with the addition of Amendola. Look for Amendola to slide right into Welkers vacant spot and be the guy that Brady targets most among his receivers. While Amendola does have a history of injuries, he is the safest of all the Patriots current receivers when it comes to potential production.
Julian Edelman: While having the edge over the other wideouts by being the only one that has caught a pass from Tom Brady, it is unlikely that Edelman will give you anything resembling consistent production. Consider him a late round pick-up in deeper leagues.
Donald Jones: Jones is another injury prone receiver who hasn't made much of a mark in his time in the NFL. However, he did torch the Pats for 164 yards on eight grabs with two touchdowns while playing with the Bills last season so there is potential. Until the murky wideout waters settle in New England, consider Jones a late round pick in deeper leagues.
Mike Jenkins: Well, Jenkins does have height on his size despite a career on underachieving. Outside of that, he isn't worth a pick but does have mid-season potential if injuries arise.
Emmanuel Sanders: Sanders is the wild card of this group as it is currently unknown whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers will match the Pats offer. However, whether Sanders is in Pittsburgh or New England, he is worth a look. Consider him a potential number three receiver if he stays in Pittsburgh or ends up in New England.
As you probably noticed, I left off the obvious number one option for Brady in tight end Aaron Hernandez. If Gronk is out for any length of time or even if he isn't, look for Hernandez to be targeted early and often. Especially untill others form some kind of rapport with Brady.
Overall, it just doesn't look good to really put much stock in any of the guys mentioned above as one or all will probably have good games at some point in the upcoming season. And that's the rub of the Patriots fantasy football options outside of Brady, there really is no consistency and the best you can hope for is guessing the right target week to week.
So the final recommendation is this; definitely stock up on the before-mentioned Tylenol and take a stab at Sanders if he becomes a Patriot or Amendola. Outside of them, it's a really rough game of guess which one.
James LeBeau is a contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
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