By Chris Peterson @cpetersonHDN on June 19, 2014
With Tom Brady at the helm, the New England Patriots will have one of the NFL's top offenses again in 2014, which means there will be plenty of fantasy points to go around. Here is a breakdown of the five Patriots you want to draft onto your fantasy football team in 2014.
Kickers are people too, and as much as we all want to ignore them, they can play a key role in fantasy football. Gostkowski was the No. 1 fantasy kicker last season, and with Tom Brady and the Pats' high-flying offense still intact, he should be among the top scorers at his position again in 2014.
After signing free agent wide receiver Danny Amendola last offseason, it was assumed he would fill the shoes of Wes Welker. But Edelman, not Amendola, became the Patriots' go-to receiver. Edelman will be tremendous again in point-per-reception leagues but also ranked 18th among wideouts in standard scoring leagues last season. He had at least five receptions in 12 of 16 games last season and should be just as productive in 2014.
Trying to decide on which Patriots running back to play can be frustrating, so let me save you the trouble -- pick Vereen and stay away from everyone else. In eight games last season, Vereen averaged 79 yards per game to go along with four touchdowns and 47 receptions. If healthy, his role will expand in 2014, and he will be a solid starting fantasy back, particularly in point-per-reception scoring formats.
Gronkowski represents the classic conundrum that often arises in fantasy football. When healthy, he is the best tight end in football and a dominant fantasy performer. Last season, he scored 80 points in just seven games, averaging 11.4 fantasy points per game. Gronk caught five passes or more in six of those eight games and had four games with at least 90 yards or a touchdown reception. He is elite when healthy, so the reward is worth the risk.
The 2013 season was a bit of a down year for Brady, as he ranked just 13th among quarterbacks in fantasy points scored. Yet, it's understandable considering he lost Wes Welker to free agency, Aaron Hernandez to criminal issues then Gronk, Vereen and Amendola for a good chunk of the year due to injury. In his first eight games, he eclipsed 20 points just once but did it five times in the last eight. With healthy weapons, he will be elite in 2014.
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