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Fantasy Football 2020: Stat projections for Patriots' offensive players

Fantasy Football 2020: Stat projections for Patriots' offensive players

The New England Patriots have been popular with fantasy football owners for much of the last two decades.

The Patriots have had some of the league's best offenses over that span, headlined by fantasy stars such as quarterback Tom Brady, wide receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker, tight end Rob Gronkowski and several others. Every fantasy football league's draft saw Patriots players taken throughout the early rounds.

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The 2020 season could be a bit different in that regard.

Brady left to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFL free agency, and the likely starter in his place is either recent signing Cam Newton or 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham. New England also lacks a true game-changing wide receiver, although Julian Edelman remains a very productive player in PPR fantasy leagues. The tight end position was an absolute disaster in 2019, and unless rookies Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi change that, fantasy owners probably will want to pass on Patriots tight ends this season.

Here are fantasy football stat and draft round projections for notable players on the Patriots offense.

UPDATE (Thursday, July 2 at 1 p.m. ET): Cam Newton signed a one-year contract with the Patriots. This article has been updated to include our projections on his fantasy outlook for 2020.

Cam Newton, QB
Projected Stats*: 3,560 yards, 22 TD, 12 INT
Projected Round: 13-16
*If the starter

The main concern with Newton from a fantasy perspective is health. He missed the last 14 games of last season due to injuries, and he's taken plenty of hits in nine seasons. That said, if he's in good shape and able to stay on the field consistently, Newton absolutely should be fantasy relevant in 2020. He's thrown for more than 3,000 yards in eight of his nine seasons, and he averaged 22.75 touchdown passes in those first eight years, too. Newton also picks up fantasy points with his legs. He averaged more than 500 yards and 6.4 rushing touchdowns per season from 2011 through 2018. Newton is worthy of being drafted in leagues that start two quarterbacks each week, and in one-QB leagues he's a solid option on the bench for bye weeks and injury replacement.

--End of Update--

Jarrett Stidham, QB
Projected Stats*: 3,800 yards, 21 TD, 11 INT
Projected Draft Round: 17-20
*If the starter

Stidham has received plenty of praise from teammates and former college coaches this offseason. He also impressed during training camp and the preseason in 2019. Still, he's very much an unknown after throwing only four regular season passes as a rookie, and one of them was an interception returned for a touchdown. Stidham does have the physical abilities teams want in starting quarterbacks, and he does have some decent weapons around him, most notably Julian Edelman and James White. The Patriots offensive line also should be better and healthier next season. Stidham's challenge of beating out Newton for the starting job will be difficult. But even if he doesn't win the job for Week 1, he could still have a future in New England. Therefore, Stidham should probably only be drafted in fantasy leagues with 12-plus teams, or dynasty leagues where he could be a good long-term play.

Sony Michel, RB
Projected Stats: 1,200 yards, 8 TD
Projected Draft Round: 6-8

Michel reportedly is recovering from foot surgery in May, and it's unknown if he'll be ready for training camp if it starts next month. It's not great news for fantasy owners, especially after Michel's disappointing 2019 season. He ran for just 912 yards (3.7 per carry) despite playing in all 16 games. The 2018 first-round draft pick also has failed to make much of an impact in the passing game with only 19 receptions in 29 career games. Michel has value because he's a starting running back, and those players are vital in fantasy football. But he should not be one of the top 20 running backs taken. His injury history, weak 2019 campaign and the fact that the Patriots offense as a whole could take a step back in 2020 without Tom Brady are all reasons why Michel is a risky bet for fantasy owners. 

James White, RB
Projected Stats:  80 receptions, 1,100 total yards (mostly receiving), 6 total TD
Projected Draft Round: 9-12

White's value is mostly felt in half-PPR or full PPR leagues because he's one of the top pass-catching running backs in the league. He's tallied 159 receptions for 1,396 yards and 12 touchdowns as a receiver over the last two seasons. He was a trusted target of Brady, and he should also be that for Newton or Stidham. White doesn't get a ton of carries -- 161 in the last two seasons combined -- but he did score six rushing touchdowns over that span. He's a must-own in any PPR league as a strong flex option.

Julian Edelman, WR
Projected Stats: 105 receptions, 1,150 yards, 5 TD
Projected Draft Round: 7-10

Edelman had one of his best statistical seasons in 2019 despite battling through multiple injuries, particularly late in the season. He went over the 1,000-yard mark for the third time in his career and reached the 100-reception milestone for the second time. He's now 34 years old, but the veteran remains one of the league's top slot receivers and a trusted target on pivotal third downs. He's a must-own in PPR fantasy leagues, and to a lesser extent in standard scoring leagues. If healthy, Edelman should again come close to, or go over both 100 receptions and 1,000 yards.

Mohamed Sanu, WR
Projected Stats: 65 receptions, 700 yards, 4 TD
Projected Draft Round: 15-18

Sanu was acquired by the Patriots via trade in October and never got up to speed after suffering an ankle injury a few weeks later. The veteran wideout reportedly had surgery on that ankle in the offseason, and if healthy in 2020, he could be a reliable target for Stidham. However, Sanu isn't a wide receiver you're going to start each week in fantasy. He's best suited as a flex option for when you need to replace players on bye weeks. Sanu might not even be drafted in some leagues.

N'Keal Harry, WR
Projected Stats: 60 receptions, 800 yards, 4 TD
Projected Draft Round: 10-12

Expectations are high for Harry despite a rookie campaign negatively impacted by injuries. Harry is a talented player who impressed the Patriots enough at Arizona State to be selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Durability is a concern, but he's been a popular player on lists of breakout candidates for the 2020 fantasy season. Harry has the strength and athleticism to be an effective wideout at the pro level, and if healthy, he could be in store for an impressive 2020 season, especially if he develops a rapport with Newton.

Fantasy football rankings 2020: Top 10 defenses in your draft

Fantasy football rankings 2020: Top 10 defenses in your draft

Defense wins championships.

That's the case in real football, and it also can be the case in fantasy football if you carefully select your D/ST unit during your fantasy draft. Sure, you could play the waivers game all season long and try to ride whatever defense is hot for those few weeks, but wouldn't you rather a D/ST you can rely on all year and not have to think twice about it?

Of course you would. That's why we're here to help by listing the defenses you should have your eyes on in your 2020 fantasy football draft. Here's a look at the top 10.

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1. Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye: Week 8)

Minkah Fitzpatrick completely revitalized the Steelers defense when he arrived in Pittsburgh last season. The Steelers D/ST unit finished with the second-most fantasy points at the position last year and with Fitzpatrick in the fold for a full year, it should have a solid chance at claiming the top spot in 2020.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Week 11)

The 49ers lost DeForest Buckner on the defensive line, but that loss shouldn't hurt too much as they gained Javon Kinlaw with the No. 14 overall pick in this year's draft. Throw in Nick Bosa, who had nine sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble his rookie year, and San Francisco again should be a top D/ST unit in 2020 after finishing with the third-most points last year.

3. Baltimore Ravens (Week 8)

The fourth-best D/ST unit last year should thrive again this time around, especially with rookie linebacker Patrick Queen added to the mix. Most of Baltimore's starters will return in 2020, which makes the Ravens a reliable option in fantasy once again.

4.  Buffalo Bills (Week 11)

Buffalo's D/ST unit is bound to improve in 2020 after a mediocre 12th-place finish in fantasy points last season. Adding Mario Addison via free agency and drafting Iowa's A.J. Epenesa should give the Bills a boost, and the secondary once again looks promising with veteran Josh Norman joining Tre'Davious White. Don't forget about Ed Oliver, who looked great in his rookie year.

5. New England Patriots (Week 6)

The Patriots had the best D/ST in fantasy last year and it wasn't all that close. This time around, they'll have to get the job done without key contributors like Dont'a Hightower, Patrick Chung, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. The offense is bound to take a giant step back without Tom Brady as well, which means production as a whole may dip. Expect the Patriots to be one of the better defenses in fantasy football again, but definitely be wary of regression.

6. New Orleans Saints (Week 6)

New Orleans' defense often gets slept on, but it really shouldn't. The Saints D/ST finished with the ninth-most fantasy points at the position last year thanks to guys like Marshon Lattimore, Cameron Jordan and Demario Davis. Former Eagles star Malcolm Jenkins will be in the fold this season now too. Expect this to be a top fantasy D/ST once again.

7. Los Angeles Rams (Week 9)

The Rams D/ST is a solid pick for your fantasy team, as you'll have two of the best defensive players in the game in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey helping you out each week. L.A. finished with the fifth-most defensive fantasy points last year and is positioned for success again in 2020.

8. Chicago Bears (Week 11)

Simply put, Chicago's defense was a major disappointment last season. It finished 20th among fantasy defenses in points and just wasn't the dominant Bears D/ST we've been accustomed to seeing. I don't expect a repeat of that this year. There are too many talented players -- Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, and now Robert Quinn to name a few -- for this unit to be a letdown again in 2020.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (Week 10)

When you think of the Chiefs, you probably think of Patrick Mahomes and that high-powered offense, not what they do on defense. But don't overlook Kansas City's D, either. The Chiefs D/ST finished eighth in fantasy scoring at the position last year and should be even better this season. This is a solid under-the-radar pick in fantasy drafts this year if you can't get one of the top defenses on the board.

10. Los Angeles Chargers (Week 10)

Well, we originally had the Jets on here as the No. 10 defense, then they traded Jamal Adams and CJ Mosley opted out of the season. So the Chargers slot in as the new No. 10 D/ST with several intriguing contributors on the defensive side of the ball heading into 2020. They drafted Oklahoma standout linebacker Kenneth Murray in the first round and added veteran cornerback Chris Harris Jr. to an already-solid secondary. Having safety Derwin James and defensive end Joey Bosa in the mix doesn't hurt either. L.A. might not be the one of the first few D/ST options off your fantasy board, but that just means more chances for you to steal them in one of the last couple of rounds.

Fantasy football draft kit 2020: Rankings, cheat sheets to help win your league

Fantasy football draft kit 2020: Rankings, cheat sheets to help win your league

What makes fantasy football so great? It's actually fun to do your homework.

If you're reading this, you're looking to get a jump-start on preparing for your 2020 fantasy draft ahead of the NFL season. That means poring over the latest player rankings at each position, identifying potential sleepers and busts and developing the perfect draft strategy to lift you to fantasy glory.

Good news: You've come to the right place. Our 2020 fantasy football draft kit comes complete with all of the draft essentials -- the top 100 overall players, player rankings by position, etc. -- as well as other valuable insights about which players to target and avoid.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

So, what are you waiting for? Below is all of our 2020 draft content; dig in!

PLAYER RANKINGS BY POSITION

SLEEPERS, BUSTS AND PLAYER ANALYSIS

PRINTABLE CHEAT SHEETS

 

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