Coming off a dominant win against the 49ers, Patriots fans and fantasy owners have a lot to consider heading into their game against the Jets on Sunday. Five offensive starters are listed as questionable, including quarterback Tom Brady, both starting tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett, as well as both starting wide receivers, Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan.
Gronkowski has had limited practices everyday this week after missing last week’s game due to a punctured lung he suffered against the Seahawks from a monumental hit from Earl Thomas. Even if he continues to practice with limited or no contact, it is highly unlikely for him to play against the Jets. Although Gronk is leading the NFL in yards per reception this season, fantasy owners should count on their backup tight ends this week.
Martellus Bennett participated in a limited practiced Wednesday and Friday, but missed Thursday. Bennett suffered an ankle injury and has consistently been on the injury report each week since his initial knock during the week 5 matchup against the Browns. Bennet’s quiet game against the 49ers baffled many fantasy owners given Gronkowski’s absence. The Patriots are known for their extremely flexible and unpredictable offense. Take former Patriots running back Jonas Grey for example, or any active player on their roster who can come out of nowhere and have a massive game while a starter produces nothing. The Patriots recently signed tight end Matt Lengel, who was cut by the Bengals last week, and he could possibly fill the void in their two tight end offense. Expect Bennett to play, but his production is uncertain.
Julian Edelman has been the best wide receiver for the Patriots since Wes Welker. A quarterback in college, Edelman is possibly the best slot receiver in the National Football League, but injuries have shortened his seasons in the past ,as he hasn’t played a full season since 2013. After his routine limited practice on Wednesday, Edelman seems to be recovering from his foot injury. He led the patriots in targets and receptions against the 49ers, and it is clear that he is Brady’s favorite target on the field this year.
Chris Hogan may not be as consistent of a receiver as Edelman, but he is still an important part of the New England offense. Hogan only has 29 receptions through nine games this season, but few cornerbacks can match Hogan’s speed, making him a favored target for the occasional deep throw. He missed last week’s game due to a back injury, and although he practiced everyday this week, it is unlikely that he gets any fantasy owner significant points. Expect the patriots to utilize Malcolm Mitchell in his position instead.
Tom Terrific is listed as questionable for the first time this season for a knee injury, and Brady actually missed two consecutive practices due to injury for the first time since 2010. Brady told reporters “We’ll see how it goes” when asked about his game status on Friday, but in Brady’s language that means he’ll be out there. While the Jets have one of the better defenses in the NFL, their offense’s inability to produce will be the decisive component of this game, even if Brady does not play.