New England Patriots, Def, Patriots: Fantasy Football Outlook

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New England Patriots, Def, Patriots

Position/Rank ADP NFL Team Status Age Height Weight
Def - #6 NE Active 47 0' 0 0

2016 Outlook: Sleeper (undervalued)

Last updated on Aug-04-2016 by Shawn Childs


New England allowed the 8th lowest amount of rushing yards (1580) in 2015 with ball carriers gaining 4.0 yard per carry. Their success was helped by allowing only 397 rushing attempts (10th) due to the Patriots playing from the lead in almost every game. They allowed eight rushing TDs and only eight runs of 20 yards or more. On the passing side, NE ranked 17th in passing yards allowed (3851) with 24 passing TDs, 12 Ints, and 49 sacks (2nd in the league).

For the first time in years, the Patriots have developing talent at CB with upside in pass coverage. CB Logan Ryan and CB Malcolm Butler were productive in coverage. Ryan added value in run support. The addition of CB Cyrus Jones should improve their pass coverage in nickel and dime packages. Devin McCourty is one of the better safeties in the league with value in all areas. S Patrick Chung has improved in his pass coverage since returning to New England in 2014. He hits hard with value in run support, but he only has one Interception in the last three seasons.

The Patriots have two stud linebackers in Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower. They both grade highly in run defense and pass coverage with the ability to attack the QB. The middle linebacking position looks like an open battle between multiple players with no option offering impact upside.

DE Jabaal Sheard played well as a rotational player in 2015 with best value coming in the pass rush (eight sacks). He also defended his position well when to ask to stop the run. Jabaal missed three games due an ankle issue. DE Rob Ninkovich showed decline last year with only league average value in run defense while picking up 6.5 saves. New England needs DE Geneo Grissom or DE Chris Long to make a step forward in the pass rush. Long had 41.5 sacks from 2010 and 2013. DT Malcom Brown held his ground against the run in his rookie season with three sacks. His game should improve where he becomes an asset on more downs. Both Alan Branch and Terrance Knighton will offer league average value in the middle of New England's line plus rookie DT Vincent Valentino will add rotational value.

Overall, this defense doesn't have elite talent on the defense line with strength on the outside at the linebacking position. Their secondary will offer upside as long as New England gets enough pressure on the QB. I'm not sure their success in sacks in 2015 is repeatable. Last year the Patriots struggled to create turnovers (21) leading to minimal defensive scores (3). They play from the lead a high percentage of the time increasing the chances of sacks and Ints. New England looks like a backup Fantasy defense with sneaky upside if a couple of players make a step forward.

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