New England Patriots Depth Chart and Fantasy Preview: Can You Count on Rhamondre Stevenson?

    With some adjustments to the roster, are the New England Patriots' a team that will impact fantasy football starting lineups in 2024?

    The Tom Brady days are long gone and the rebuilding process is very much underway. When taking a look at the New England Patriots fantasy football preview, we must account for various learning curves, but there is some talent to at least consider.

    Can any member of this passing game prove stable for the upcoming season?

    New England Patriots Fantasy Depth Chart

    QB
    Jacoby Brissett, Drake Maye, Bailey Zappe

    RB
    Rhamondre Stevenson, Antonio Gibson, Kevin Harris

    WR1
    Kendrick Bourne, Javon Baker, Tyquan Thornton

    WR2
    DeMario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, K.J. Osborn

    WR3
    Ja’Lynn Polk, Kayshon Boutte, Jalen Reagor

    TE
    Hunter Henry, Austin Hooper, Mitchell Wilcox

    Quarterback Fantasy Outlook

    This is Drake Maye’s house with Jacoby Brissett paying rent. It’s a month-to-month situation, though, as Brissett will likely be moving out (of the starting role) at some point during the first half of the season to give the rookie game reps when it becomes apparent that this team isn’t destined to do big things in 2024.

    With an infusion of youth, I’d expect the Patriots to possess a higher weekly ceiling than what we saw a season ago (30th in yards and 32nd in points), but that’s not to say that the man under center in this offense is going to be of any interest to redraft managers.

    MORE: Dynasty Rookie Rankings

    Maye is an interesting prospect with some nice upside in his profile — we just aren’t likely to benefit in a meaningful way this season. After he takes over the starting role, he may project as a contrarian punt play in DFS in a specific matchup, but outside of that, we aren’t expecting to be overly interested in this passing game.

    Rhamondre Stevenson’s Fantasy Outlook

    Rhamondre Stevenson cashed in on the potential we all saw in his profile in 2022 (1,461 total yards with 69 catches), but his yards per carry dipped by 20% and his targets by 17.9% before an ankle injury ended his season a month early.

    Even in his breakout sophomore campaign, his 279 touches resulted in only six scores, limitations placed upon him by a lack of overall offensive support. That’s something that figures to be a part of the equation again this season.

    Last season, Ezekiel Elliott backed up Stevenson, and the veteran had a respectable season as he was able to mirror Stevenson’s versatility. This offseason, the Pats signed Antonio Gibson to an $11.3 million deal, a back with pass-catching chops who should be able to do a pretty good Stevenson impression if pressed into duty.

    I think it’s still wise to label the 26-year-old Stevenson as the featured back in this system, but his workload (14-16 touches per game) likely comes up short of the “bellcow” moniker. In an offense that is likely to struggle, that caps his upside.

    He’s better to consider as a reasonable flex play than anything else, though if you wait on the position and are squinting at the draft board in the middle rounds, you could justify drafting him as your RB2.

    Kendrick Bourne’s Fantasy Outlook

    After being something of an Iron Man (16+ games played in four of five seasons before 2023), a torn ACL in October ended Bourne’s age-28 season prematurely.

    He has yet to truly be featured in a consistent way (career-high 55 catches in 2021), but he has scored once every 12.6 catches throughout his career, and the Patriots elected to re-sign him in March to have him head their WR room.

    As mentioned, the value of the lead man in this passing game is a legitimate question, but with access to more upside by the way of a high-pedigree prospect, Bourne is at least worth a flier in the late stages of drafts. His 6’1” frame and wide catch radius can help any quarterback get comfortable, something we saw with him catching 19 passes and scoring twice during his final three games of last season.

    DeMario Douglas’ Fantasy Outlook

    What is it about young slot receivers in New England? They develop an allergy to the end zone and it hurts their fantasy upside in a significant way despite showing some signs of target-earning skills.

    Jakobi Meyers has access to more physical tools than DeMario Douglas, but he was inflicted with this condition (scoreless in each of his first two seasons despite seeing 122 targets), and Douglas caught the bug in his rookie season (0 TDs on 79 targets).

    Standing just 5’8”, Douglas failed to record a 20+ yard grab in nine of his 14 games, but the fact that he commanded at least five targets in nine straight to end the season (7+ in five of those games) hints at a skill set that could be PPR friendly as this offense develops.

    He’s my pick to be the most consistent pass catcher on this roster (regardless of who is throwing passes), and while a limited ceiling will make him tough to plug into your lineup, he’s a nice piece to have for when you have to deal with injuries and bye weeks.

    Diontae Johnson is a slot receiver playing with an iffy quarterback and potentially more target competition — I’ll happily stash Douglas 6-7 rounds later.

    Ja’Lynn Polk’s Fantasy Outlook

    Ja’Lynn Polk put up nice numbers as a junior in a wide-open Washington offense, but how transferable is his skill set to the pros? The great Pro Football Network Draft Analyst Ian Cummings penned this during the pre-draft process about him compared to the loaded WR class of 2024:

    “Polk grades out as a top-50 prospect and a fringe first-round talent in the 2024 NFL Draft on my board. Schematically, he’s one of the most diverse receivers in the class, and he also has the catch-point reliability and RAC skills to win his quarterback over quickly.”

    That’s not a bad sales job!

    Polk profiles as more of a threat to the role of Bourne than Douglas, given his body type (6’1”, 203 pounds), and that is an advantageous skill set when projecting forward into an offense led by Maye’s arm talent.

    Dynasty managers certainly need to be aware of Polk and his path to targets as a rookie, though penciling him in as anything more than an upside dart throw entering this season is too aggressive for redraft leagues.

    To recap: Douglas leads these receivers in the number of usable PPR performances, Bourne carries the most touchdown equity entering the season, and Polk is my pick to have the single-best game of the trio in 2023. Some interesting weeks across the board, but you’re not counting on any of them consistently until proven otherwise.

    Hunter Henry’s Fantasy Outlook

    Henry started (11-108-2 through two weeks) and ended last season with a bang (10-106-3 in his final two games), but the middle 10 were useless for our purposes (21-205-1). Brissett funneled nearly six targets per game the way of David Njoku in 2022 for the Cleveland Browns, so at least there is some proof of concept in that regard. However, Njoku is a more athletic option than Henry and how long Brissett is under center is a serious question.

    Henry may make for a viable streaming option when your TE is on bye or battling an injury — expecting anything more than that, however, is more optimistic than I’m willing to be.

    Patriots Fantasy Sleeper: Antonio Gibson

    After four seasons in Washington, Gibson inked a three-year deal with the Patriots this offseason, presumably as an insurance policy for Stevenson (five missed games last season).

    He doesn’t profile as the type of back that will push Stevenson for work in a meaningful way when both are healthy, but his versatility is interesting when you’re rounding out your roster with handcuff backs.

    KEEP READING: Consensus Dynasty Rankings

    Gibson has caught 80.8% of his career targets, giving him the potential to assume 85% of Stevenson’s role if the starter misses time. He’s not a must-roster as much as he is a must-watch player heading into 2024. Remember, this new coaching staff elected to bring him in, and he is four months younger than the recovering Stevenson.

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