WATCH: Josh Gordon attends first Patriots practice since reinstatement

WATCH: Josh Gordon attends first Patriots practice since reinstatement

Josh Gordon is back in the building, folks.

The New England Patriots wide receiver was reinstated from his indefinite suspension Friday, making him eligible to join the team for the first time since late December.

And Gordon did just that Monday, accompanying the team for warmups outside Gillette Stadium as they prepare for the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.

Gordon, who was placed on the non-football injury list Sunday, wasn't in full pads, and it's still unclear when he'll return to game action.

But he's definitely back in the fold, as he's listed as No. 10 on the Patriots' official roster and has a locker one spot over from the stall he occupied in 2018.

The Patriots must activate Gordon from the NFI list before their season opener if they want him to play in their first six games. And while his status remains up in the air, it's a good sign that the 29-year-old already has joined the team following his reinstatement.

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Patriots' Mohamed Sanu gives huge praise to Julian Edelman's toughness

Patriots' Mohamed Sanu gives huge praise to Julian Edelman's toughness

Julian Edelman is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and you'd have a difficult time finding many offensive players who are tougher mentally and physically than the 33-year-old veteran.

Edelman arguably is the most valuable player of the New England Patriots entering Week 15. The Patriots offense has struggled mightily of late. In fact, New England is the third-lowest scoring team in the league since Week 9. The passing attack has been hampered by new additions, who lack both experience with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and a firm grasp of the offense, as well as injuries. The wide receiver corps has two rookies, N'Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers, playing prominent roles right now. Two of the veteran wideouts, Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett, have both battled injuries in recent weeks.

Edelman has been one of the few constants for the Patriots offense, both in terms of production and availability. It hasn't been easy for Edelman to be on the field every week in 2019. He has been on the injury report most of the year, but he's battled through all of these ailments to play in every single game.

“Man, you all don’t understand how tough Jules is,” Sanu told reporters Wednesday. “That dude’s tough. He’s a tough son of a gun, and he goes out there every day. Whether there’s something aching, something biting or whatever the case might be, he gives it all he’s got. Even when they tell him not to, he’s still out there, and that’s what I love about him. I love to compete with him, man."

Sanu added: "You can see how tough he is in his play. They don’t call him ‘squirrel’ for nothing. He’s a bad man.”

Edelman has caught 90 passes for 1,010 yards and six touchdowns this season. He's on pace to set career highs in receptions and yards, and it's possible he breaks his career-high in receiving touchdowns (seven) as well.

His status for Sunday's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals is uncertain. He missed Wednesday's practice and was listed on the injury report with knee/shoulder issues. The Patriots might be wise to give Edelman a day off against the Bengals given the importance of having him as healthy as possible for the playoffs. The Bengals have a league-worst 1-12 record, and even though the Patriots have struggled to score points over the last five weeks, they shouldn't need Edelman to leave Cincinnati with a win.

Roger Goodell gives first public comment on Pats-Bengals investigation>>>

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Fantasy Football Beat: Even against the Bengals, it's hard to trust Tom Brady

Fantasy Football Beat: Even against the Bengals, it's hard to trust Tom Brady

Fantasy football players seem to get smarter every year. The leagues get deeper. The competition gets better. That's partially because of the sheer amount of information available to fantasy geeks willing to put the time in.

But it's not always easy to find sound fantasy advice on players making up the back ends of fantasy depth charts. That's where we'll try to help fill in the gaps by providing you with information we've gleaned by being on the Patriots beat.


I know what you're thinking. How could he possibly even mention Sony Michel as a potentially-viable option in fantasy? I get it. Michel hasn't scored double-digit fantasy points since Week 7. He had five rush attempts last week against the Chiefs. He had 10 the week prior against the Texans. He's a non-factor in the passing game. I get it.

But consider this: The Bengals are allowing a league-worst 156.7 yards rushing per game, and against them, volume equals fantasy relevance. Ten backs have taken at least 12 carries against the Bengals this year. All 10 ended up as top-20 options in fantasy, according to Mike Tagliere of Fantasy Pros. And if you're worried about his waning workload the last two weeks, just look at the scores of those games. They got away from the run as they got down and had to try to come back. That's James White territory.

I think the Patriots will start the game trying to run the football, and I think they'll do it successfully, as they did against Houston two weeks ago. If they can keep the lead — which they should against Andy Dalton and Co. — then Michel should get more work. The end of the season could resemble the end of last season for the Patriots, when they embraced being a running football team. It's unclear whether they have the personnel to do that, but they have to try. And against a defense that's generous to opposing backs, Michel is worthy of a FLEX spot in your lineup this week. 


JULIAN EDELMAN: He's all kinds of banged up, but you can be the one not to start him this week. Won't be me. He's Mr. Consistency, seeing double-digit targets in eight straight games, and picking up at least 14 fantasy points in each one. He's broken 20 fantasy points in PPR leagues over the last two weeks. Don't think too hard about this one. If he's active, and I'd expect him to be, he has to be in your lineup.

JAMES WHITE: This isn't the no-brainer you might think it is. White is only two weeks removed from having 11 total yards in a win over the Cowboys. But since then, the Patriots have used him more as a runner — in part because of Sony Michel's ineffectiveness — and he's seen 33 touches in the run and pass games. This Patriots offense is at the point where they can't keep their playmakers off the field. White should be out there quite a bit Sunday, and he should be fantasy-relevant. 


TOM BRADY: Until Brady's line can protect him consistently, and until a third option in the passing game — Mohamed Sanu? N'Keal Harry? — emerges, then you can't trust him in your fantasy playoffs. He still has plenty of skill, but he needs more time in the pocket. And when he has time, he needs someone who can uncover. This Patriots passing game is a mess right now, and even against a defense that allows 8.4 yards per attempt, it's hard to trust anyone outside of Edelman or White. Brady is a borderline top-12 option this week. 

PATRIOTS RECEIVERS NOT NAMED EDELMAN: The Patriots are going to need either Sanu or Harry to show up at some point, and time is running out. Maybe this is the week they establish themselves as real threats, but you can't bank on that. If you need a Hail Mary, I'd say both have an outside shot at fantasy points. Harry is a back-shoulder throw in the red zone away from a handful of points — though he hasn't seen one of those kinds of passes since the Cowboys game — and if Sanu's healthy, then he's a threat to play every snap. You just can't depend on either. 

JOE MIXON: The Patriots allow 4.2 yards per carry (which slots them in at 15th in the NFL), and Mixon contributes some as a pass-catcher (eight targets the last two weeks). But you can't be excited about Mixon against a defense that teams don't even try to run against all that often (third-fewest attempts faced in the NFL). In the passing game, though Texans backs beat the Patriots more than once, they're still fifth in the league in terms of limiting that position through the air. They allow just 5.1 yards per target to pass-catchers out of the backfield.

JOHN ROSS: Even after allowing a 48-yard touchdown to Mecole Hardman last week, the Patriots are still fourth in the NFL in terms of allowing explosive pass plays. Only six percent of attempts against them turn into explosive gains. They've also allowed just 30 explosive plays this season (also fourth). That's enough to scare me off Ross, who seems like a good option for Jonathan Jones and a safety over the top. 

TYLER BOYD: The most dependable Bengals wideout this season is finishing the year on a high note, racking up 13, 17 and 19 fantasy points in his last three games. If A.J. Green doesn't play — and at this point, why would he? — then Boyd would be likely to get the Stephon Gilmore treatment, which would mean you should go ahead and bury him on your bench this week. 

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