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AP Photo/Steven Senne

2024 Fantasy Football Preview: New England Patriots

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Player Outlooks (2024)


QB Drake Maye: Maye was a very polarizing prospect in the pre-draft process, but New England reportedly turned down quality trade offers by the Vikings and Giants to move off the pick—instead taking him for themselves. In terms of the positives, Maye has prototypical size, a very strong arm, some natural accuracy, and a very impressive combination of athleticism, creativity, and playmaking instincts. The negatives are a definite concern, though, as he can be inconsistent working progressions, had stretches of poor ball placement, showed spotty field vision, and needs to tighten up his release. So, it might take time for him to reach his potential, and we’ll see if the Pats stick with the original plan of starting Jacoby Brissett to let Maye develop in Year 1.


QB Jacoby Brissett: He never got a shot to be the starter, but Brissett showed very well when he saw the field last year in Washington—sparking the offense in back-to-back December games by completing 18-of-23 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns. The veteran signal-caller opened up the passing attack and showed a terrific connection with Terry McLaurin, including on the deep ball. Unfortunately, the current form of the Patriots is far different than the one Brissett was drafted by in 2016 (or even what he had with the Commanders, for that matter), and the 31-year-old might not be able to hold off Drake Maye if the rookie shows enough flashes next month.


RB Rhamondre Stevenson: We have concerns about the offense as a whole, but Stevenson might be in position to be fed touches for a New England squad that will want to play to their defense to remain competitive. Just two years ago, Stevenson was a breakout star with 1,461 total yards and 5.0 yards per carry to finish as a low-end RB1 option, so a bounce-back campaign after signing a four-year extension is very possible. The danger would be the overall ineptness of the offense holding him back, but the offensive line should at least be improved compared to 2023.


RB Antonio Gibson: There was early buzz in OTAs about Gibson’s involvement as a pass-catcher and the ways New England will utilize him this season, but history tells us to not put too much weight into such reports—including for Gibson himself. Based on all the slot-type pass-catchers that will need targets (and on an offense that projects to be one of the NFL’s worst), Gibson is probably more of a handcuff option with inconsistent standalone appeal.


RB Kevin Harris: Harris has seen limited action through two seasons, but he showed well with some juice behind Ezekiel Elliott down the stretch last year—rushing 16 times for 65 yards and a touchdown while also adding three receptions for 58 yards. A low-to-the-ground, 225-pound runner, Harris is a name to watch if an injury were to strike.


WR Kendrick Bourne: Bourne tore his ACL in the midst of perhaps his best season yet by recording a 37/406/4 line in eight games last year, but the Patriots brought him back despite the injury—even giving him a three-year deal (for $19.5 million) in free agency. The contract suggests the Pats expect Bourne to be an important part of the offense when healthy, and he will also provide mentorship for rookies Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker. How quickly Bourne can round back into form coming off the injury will determine his chances of returning FLEX value, as 2024 would be the year for him to operate as the top guy while Polk and Baker adjust to the NFL game.


WR DeMario Douglas: Douglas was a late-round hit for Bill Belichick last year, and he will try to hold off both the rookies (Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker) and the veterans (JuJu Smith-Schuster and K.J. Osborn) for snaps in what should be a very competitive room. As a rookie, “Pop” was a solid option in deeper PPR leagues with weekly involvement, but a new quarterback creates uncertainty (both Mac Jones and especially Bailey Zappe were willing to throw it short), and Douglas notably suffered two concussions last year, which creates some concern about his durability with a smaller build at five-foot-eight.


WR Ja’Lynn Polk: Polk is a player that went earlier than expected as the No. 37 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, and it’s fair to wonder if the Patriots went with need—after reportedly wanting either Keon Coleman or Xavier Legette—to get a young wideout to pair with Drake Maye. We compared Polk’s skillset to a Josh Reynolds-type that can play inside or outside and projects best as a strong complementary target, but New England is surely expecting more from the rookie. Fantasy production might be tough to come by in Year 1, though, as the Pats are set to enter training camp with as many as nine options that could not only make the team, but also have a role, and the attack isn’t expected to be explosive enough to reliably count on Polk.


WR Javon Baker: Baker—who certainly doesn’t lack in confidence—might not have landed in the best spot to immediately produce big numbers, but he feels slighted for lasting until the fourth round and profiles as someone that can vastly outplay his draft slot with the mindset to go along with the talent. If there is an advantage Baker will have this year, it’s that he has the most natural perimeter skillset among all the New England wideouts, including an ability to run vertical routes that is reminiscent of Stefon Diggs (who was drafted in the fifth round).


WR JuJu Smith-Schuster: Smith-Schuster was basically an afterthought in his first season of a three-year, $25.5-million contract with the Patriots, but he recently claimed he’s fully healthy after his knee was just “60%” last offseason—so maybe he can get back to the level we saw a couple of years ago with 933 yards with Kansas City. That said, expectations should be kept in check on an offense with plenty of options and no Ben Roethlisberger or Patrick Mahomes to help JuJu regain his early-career form.


WR K.J. Osborn: Again, there are tons of options for the Patriots at wide receiver, and Osborn shouldn’t be counted out as one of the top guys after lines of 50/655/7, 60/650/5, and 48/540/3 over the past three seasons in Minnesota. Basically, a lot will be determined by the chemistry built with Drake Maye and/or Jacoby Brissett, and Osborn showed a strong connection with Kirk Cousins to make plays despite sharing snaps with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen/Jordan Addison.


WR Kayshon Boutte: Boutte might end up facing league discipline after an arrest for illegal sports gambling while at LSU, but he was on the field at OTAs and was said to have shined. Although he only caught two passes as a rookie, Boutte is a gifted natural receiver that could force his way onto the team by carrying the momentum into training camp.


WRs Jalen Reagor and Tyquan Thornton: Reagor and Thornton are both speedy wideouts that are firmly on the roster bubble, but we’ll see if New England ends up finding a way to keep one of them because of the field-stretching skillset they bring to the table. Despite a second-round draft capital for Thornton, Reagor—who is still just 25—could have the edge, particularly based on his value in the return game.


TE Hunter Henry: The competition for snaps and targets at wide receiver makes Henry the most stable pass-catcher on New England’s offense, and he won’t be sharing opportunities with Mike Gesicki or Jonnu Smith this year with Austin Hooper—despite productive seasons in the past—being less of a threat as the No. 2 tight end. That said, Henry will be relying on finding the end zone for an offense that is projected to be one of the NFL’s worst units, and at least based on last season, the new quarterback room might be more willing to throw outside the numbers than Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe were. We would view Henry as a touchdown-dependent TE2 to begin 2024.


TE Austin Hooper: Now entering his age-29/30 campaign, Hooper is five seasons removed from a career-best 75/787/6 line with the Falcons, and he’s on his fourth team in four seasons after stints with Cleveland, Tennessee, and Las Vegas. Based on all the options at wide receiver, we’d anticipate Hooper being more of a clear backup than complementary option to Hunter Henry—which obviously limits his fantasy outlook.


TE Jaheim Bell: Bell was taken in the seventh round of the 2024 NFL Draft, and his best chance of sticking in the league might be as more of a hybrid, H-back type at an undersized six-foot-two. That said, players in a similar mold have been productive pass-catchers in the past, so Bell is a dynasty prospect worth monitoring.


Other Notes


Best IDP value: CB Marcus Jones

Jones only appeared in two games last season as one of the many injuries for New England, but he was extremely impressive as a rookie—making a defensive impact and being named a First-Team, All-Pro punt returner. This year, look for Jones to be a playmaker in the slot, and he could have plenty of opportunities to rack up interceptions, pass deflections, and tackles if opponents try to avoid Christian Gonzalez.


Stat to know (via draft guide)

Tight ends combined to catch 71 passes for 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns in Drake Maye’s final season at North Carolina.