Well, here's something to liven up a rather dull Tuesday.
The Patriots and Buccaneers are on the verge of a trade with direct and indirect fantasy implications all over the place. The Patriots will acquire second-year tight end Tim Wright and a fourth-round pick next season from the Buccaneers in exchange for six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins.
FOX Sports' Jay Glazer was the first to break the big news. He said that the deal isn't final just yet, but the players involved have been informed, and terms have been worked out.
Doesn't it seem like the Patriots always make these eye-opening trades? Even though Mankins is 32, he is still one of the best offensive linemen in the league and especially adroit in run blocking. That's good news for Doug Martin and the rest of the Bucs' ground game. Give the Muscle Hamster's stock a slight nudge up. The deal also moves one hurdle out of Austin Seferian-Jenkins' path to the starting lineup. Now only Brandon Myers stands between the monstrous rookie and definite fantasy value. He's a player to watch early in the season.
The bigger fantasy news, however, is Wright's arrival in New England. He may be listed as a tight end, but he's basically a tall slot receiver. In him, the Patriots may have found their next Aaron Hernandez (your murder jokes are still not funny). Wright can't block, but he has the athleticism to be a very difficult cover for most safeties. He's only 24 years old and gives Tom Brady yet another decent target who can run down the seam. Wright should usurp some targets from Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman . He is a very viable TE2 right now.
Or you can look at this acquisition another way: Perhaps this signals that the Pats aren't as confident in Rob Gronkowski 's health as they are letting on through reports. We can only guess toward that end, but the Patriots trading away a very, very offensive lineman for a tight end does raise some eyebrows.
Without Mankins, the Patriots save a lot of money over the next two seasons and gain a 2015 mid-round draft pick, but they also take a substantial hit to their O-line. This coupled with the recent prediction by a Patriots beat writer that running back Stevan Ridley won't make the 53-man roster leads me to believe the Pats want Brady to sling it all over the yard this season. Such a plan of attack makes sense with Josh McDaniels as the offensive coordinator.