HC / Defensive Coordinator: Matt Patricia
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Fantasy Football Outlook: The Patriots continue to add and subtract players to the secondary as they look for a better fit to stop opposing passing games. Truthfully, while New England was one of the worst teams against the pass statistically, they weren’t a bad defense at all.
This group led the league with 32 forced fumbles and should have a better pass rush with Chandler Jones heading into his second season. I like New England as a top ten fantasy defense and they are worth starting, especially when they matchup against division opponents.
Summer of 2012: Fantasy Projections
Only time will tell if the Patriots sense of urgency was one year too late, but I was critical of this team being lazy at the draft last year. Sure, they picked up some running backs and a quarterback for the future, but they needed impact defensive players, and didn’t do much.
Because the AFC was weak last year, the Patriots made the Super Bowl but no surprise, they lost to the Giants in the end.
It will be interesting to see how Bill Belichick decides to use Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower this year. Likely to be sub package or rotational players, both should have an impact on this defense, and will make them better.
In the end, you can never count Belichick’s defense out of the equation of relevant fantasy options, so consider them a reasonable second defense to pickup on draft day.
Summer of 2011: Fantasy Projections
Hopefully the Patriots find a way to add some pass rush in free agency because they failed to do so in the draft. I’m not sure if Coach Belichick thinks his re-built defense is going to be better in this area or what because I expect more from this group than a mid thirties sack total. Without a dominate presence in this area, I can’t look to them as more than just outside the top five defense to select in fantasy football drafts.