Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the regular season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
After spending the first four games presumably on some fancy vacation somewhere, Tom Terrific came right back and seemed intent on demolishing the competition. For weeks five through sixteen, he threw for over 3,000 yards with 25 touchdowns and all of two interceptions – two flipping interceptions. He’s a superstar talent, but I’m sure you’re asking how long this party could last. He’s knocking on the door of forty, and in the fantasy world we start writing a lot of guys off ten years earlier. But sometimes you have to forget about your typical “rules” around what players are worth getting and look at performance. There is nothing in Brady’s performance this season that should reduce his value. And think about Brady’s game – it isn’t based on a powerful arm or running ability, two of the things that see the most regression with age. I think he may have quite a few more years left in him, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him slinging it at 45.
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And then there’s Brady’s backup. The sample size of Garoppolo should have been better, but a shoulder injury cost him a couple of games as well. Still, he looked pretty good in his limited action. No, he neither set the world on fire nor appeared to be a dumpster fire. In today’s quarterback landscape, that often counts as success. But he did have a completion percentage over 70 in those two early starts, and threw four touchdowns against zero picks. There’s a fair to middling chance (maybe more) that Garoppolo wears a different jersey next season. This happens every couple of years – some Patriot quarterback shows a little promise and translates it into a big contract elsewhere. Will he be the next Matt Cassel? Let’s hope not.
I’ll give you a moment if you just threw up a little bit. Maybe it will help make you feel better if you knew that Blount rushed for over 1100 yards and scored 18 touchdowns this year. Not better? Yeah, me either. Just keep in mind that Blount is over 30 now, and I don’t see any way he scores close to 18 TDs next season. There are three things I am sure of in life – death, taxes and touchdown regression after huge touchdown seasons. Look for far fewer TDs next year, which would tank Blount’s value. Still, in a year of running back wreckage he wasn’t a bad guy to own. He is in New England, after all.
Lewis blew me away at times last season in the Patriots’ offense. I see him as the perfect mix of skills to work well in that system. He has the ability to run between the tackles and catch passes out of the backfield. But then there’s that whole injury history thing, and sure enough it hit him again this year. So maybe it’ll hit him every other year, maybe it’ll skip 2017 and he’ll have a phenomenal season. But do you want to bet your dynasty team on that? I’d still buy him at the right price.
So where does White fit into the New England backfield? That’s kind of the rub in the Patriots’ offense, isn’t it? You never know what they will do at running back. While he didn’t do much carrying the ball this season (that’s Blount’s job), he did catch 60 passes for 550 yards and five touchdowns. Not bad production for a change of pace guy. The good thing about White is that he doesn’t feature the injury history of Lewis, or the age of Blount.
Consistently one of Brady’s favorite targets, 2016 was no different for Edelman. He caught 98 balls on over 150 targets for just over 1100 yards. If he could have grabbed a few more than three touchdowns it could have been a great season. As it is, it was another year of fairly steady production, which is about what you’d expect from him. He was in the top 20 receivers this year, and though he won’t outright win you many weeks, he won’t flat lose you many either. He’s locked up for another season in New England, though he will be 31 heading into next season.
Perhaps one of the captains on the all-hype team last off-season, Hogan never really paid off for his suitors. He flashed two or three times, but ended the season south of 700 yards with four touchdowns. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but some folks expected quite a bit more out of him. I think he will continue to be somewhat productive, I just don’t know how reliable and predictable that production will be going forward.
Mitchell is a promising looking rookie who finished the 2016 campaign strong. He finished his rookie year with 400 yards receiving and four touchdowns. But most of that production came late, and also came courtesy of Tom Terrific. If one of the best quarterbacks in the league starts to trust you, that’s a very, very good thing. It will be interesting to see how much play he gets in the upcoming divisional round playoff game. I’m buying him if I can.
I don’t know what to say here. Floyd looks to have the full physical package. A great combination of size and the speed to get downfield, but he just can’t seem to get his act together. He’s also a free agent after his little trial run here with the Patriots, so we’ll have to see who wants to pony up the money for an under-performing (yet promising) wide receiver who has some off-field issues. I’m staying out.
For a tight end, Bennett had a pretty good season – 55 catches for over 700 yards and seven touchdowns. If you’re scoring at home, that puts him around the TE7 in terms of production. And we all know the New England offense can and will feature the tight end. The problems with Bennett are many, however. He’s a free agent next year, he’s almost 30 and he’s had chemistry problems in the past. Will the Pats bring him back? We’ll have to wait and see.
Oh yeah, and there’s…
I don’t think I need to say that much about Gronk. He’s still the man at tight end. He’s just the man who keeps getting dinged up. One interesting tidbit about 2016 – even in a year where he was off the field more often than not, he almost cracked the top 25 at the position. He scored more points this year than Clive Walford or Will Tye, for instance. We all know what he can do if he’s healthy, we just need him to stay on the field. Maybe you can pry him loose from his current owner at a lower price than possible before. It’s worth a shot for the best tight end in the game – especially considering how ugly the position gets past the top four or five guys.
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