SMITTY: Julian Edelman is probable and should lead the team in yards, receptions, and targets, however, Brandon LaFell, as usual, holds a lot of sleeper appeal. A whole lot of Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski is expected in this game. LeGarrette Blount will be a boom or bust fantasy play, something that could easily be said about him a couple weeks ago in leagues where you pick players once for the entire stretch of the playoffs. He could be a beast for multiple games, or he could do nothing in this game and the Ravens could win. That’s just how these things go, but if you want to go big or go home, Blount fits the bill. Justin Forsett should be a solid low-end RB1 play in playoff formats, and both Torrey Smith and Steve Smith have 70-100 yard upside, with one of the two being a strong bet to score. While I cringe at all the “Joe Flacco is elite” talk that floats around the main-stream sports media these days, he is a solid playoff quarterback and should have a steady outing in this one. Looking for Week 19 Fantasy Football Playoff Rankings?
SMITTY: As we previously reported, Tom Brady could just play one half in this contest in Week 17, but that is speculation, of course. According to other sources, Rob Gronkowski may not play at all in Week 17, and if he does, he will play very little. While this isn’t coming from the team, nor will it, it’s safe to assume that the Patriots will take it easier with their starters in this game, yet another reason we advise against playing through Week 17. Looking for Week 17 Power Rankings?
SMITTY: For now, fantasy owners better plan to be without both players. Of course, we will have updates as we head into kickoff. Also note, Tom Brady could just play one half in this one, that’s coming from several sources, but all of course is speculation. This is the downside of playing through Week 17, something we advise against. Looking for Week 17 Power Rankings?
Watch/listen to Fantasy Football Starters’ CEO (Jeff) talk Week 8 on the “Sam Acho Show” that is always live on AZCentral.com. Jeff attacks topic like Start/Bench as well as Buy-Low/Sell-High.
Watch STARTERS on the Week 8 Sam Acho Show!
SMITTY: Shane Vereen, for the first time this season, looked like a feature back. Sure, he only ran the ball 12 times, but that was his first double-digit carry game this year, and he totaled 47 yards on those carries. His 71 receiving yards and two TDs on five catches was beast-like and it’s starting to look like New England knows what they have in Vereen. He is back to RB2 status, folks! Tom Brady was solid once again this week, tossing for 261 yards and 3TDs against the Jets. Rob Gronkowski pulled in five passes for 68 yards. On the Jets side of the football, Chris Ivory rushed the ball 21 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. He has RB2-type upside as far as talent goes, however, will the Jets feed him constantly? That’s always the question. Looking for Week 7 Power Rankings?
According to reports, Patriots QB Tom Brady (calf) is not serious. Rob Gronkowski is still iffy in terms of playing time for Week 1, but he is expected to play.
SMITTY: We feel that Tom Brady is extremely undervalued heading into 2014. Extremely. He can be had via trade like he is a top 7+ passer, yet he still has top 4-5 overall upside. He is a great player to trade for right now. Check back Sunday morning regarding both Brady and Gronk! Try Analyzing some trades via our Trade Analyzer.
According to MiamiHerald.com, many believe that the Patriots will “pick their spots” with using Rob Gronkowski in Week 1.
SMITTY: No one knows how the Patriots will use Rob Gronkowski in Week 1, it really is impossible to predict how many plays he will play. He could play half-time and still catch a touchdown, or even two, or he could be used very little. If you play Gronk this week, you have to expect the move to be high-risk/high-reward… Tim Wright might be low-end TE1 worthy right away in Week 1… then when Gronk is back full-go, we will have to reevaluate Wright’s value. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?
Eagles QB Nick Foles completed 8-of-10 passes for 81 yards and 1TD (to Zach Ertz) in his Week 2 preseason outing against the Patriots. Rookie WR Jordan Matthews pulled in a team-high nine receptions for 104 yards; Ertz had two receptions for 26 yards to go along with his 1TD. Tom Brady was efficient despite an INT, as he completed 8-of-10 passes for 81 yards and a TD (pulled in by Kenbrell Thompkins.
SMITTY: Nick Foles has great rapport with Zac Ertz — Both are on our breakout list heading into 2014. Read more about that here. Tom Brady is very undervalued heading into 2014, as he has 6th-round redraft ADP right now – That’s crazy-good value!
According to reports, Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) is still favoring his right knee in practice, and multiple reports are suggesting that the tight end was running with a noticeable limp during Thursday’s practice.
SMITTY: Rob Gronkowski is the definition of high-risk/high-reward. He could pull in 1,000+ yard and 10-14TDs in 2014, or he could miss half a season and pull in half those stats. Drafting Gronk in to 2014 boils down to where you can get him, and currently his ADP sits almost too high at 3.04. I personally won’t pay that kind of price in redraft. As of now, we still have Rob Gronkowski projecting well on our Week 1 Power Rankings, but if better news doesn’t break here in the next couple weeks, you might see us quickly adjust his, and Tom Brady’s, Week 1 outlook.
According to BostonGlobe.com, it “would be a surprise to see Rob Gronkowski play in any of New England’s preseason games” in 2014. He is practicing during both 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drills.
SMITTY: I don’t think any Rob Gronkowski owners want to see him taking any more hits than he has to, and I highly-doubt the lack of action will impact his ability to pull in touchdown passes from Tom Brady. If healthy all year long, and that’s a big if, Gronk could easily pull in 80 passes for well over 1,100 yards and a strong shot at double-digit touchdowns, if not more like 12+ (and Brady could return to the top 3-5 for fantasy QBs for one more season). If I had to predict a number of games played for Gronk this upcoming season, I’d say 13-14, but anything can happen. Checkout where we have Rob Gronkowski ranked on our Week 1 Power Rankings.