Summer is the best time to evaluate dynasty assets and their place in the dynasty market. In this brand-new series, we will bring you a riser, faller, and longshot from each NFL team. We’ll cover dynasty values, potential trades, and overall team outlooks.
Let’s jump into the New England Patriots!
RISER: Mac Jones, QB
2023 was a disaster season for the New England Patriots offense. They were 26th in yards per game despite one of the better defenses in the league. Especially down the stretch, things really started to fall apart. It is clear that Matt Patricia and Joe Judge had no business running an NFL offense, just like they had no business running an NFL team. It was one of the most baffling decisions in Bill Belichick’s storied career, and one that had catastrophic effects on his second-year quarterback. Mac Jones’s dynasty value is about as low as it could be, but he has a chance to turn things around this season with Bill O’Brien running the offense in Foxborough.
Current Market Value
Right now, Jones is the QB26 in June’s DLF ADP and his overall ADP is 199. In superflex, Jones is QB30 and his overall ADP is 98.75
Jones finished 2022 as the QB23, and QB33 in fantasy points per game. He averaged just 12.1 fantasy points per game, less than half of what Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes scored last season. It was a horrendous season for a quarterback who showed such promise in his rookie year. Because of that, he’s being drafted well outside of the top 24 quarterbacks for dynasty.
In superflex, Jones is going behind the likes of Desmond Ridder, Matthew Stafford and Sam Howell. He’s going just ahead of Will Levis, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Tannehill and Baker Mayfield. There is certainly room for Jones to move up these rankings, as he is currently slated behind some players who are being aged out of the position, and others who are totally unproven. Just a top-20 finish could move him back up into the top 24 quarterbacks for dynasty.
The DLF Expert Rankings have Jones as QB26 in superflex, 103.25 overall. I believe he is a future QB2, but he is going for the price of a QB3, which makes him a value currently for dynasty fantasy football.
Competent playcallers are important in the NFL, especially for quarterbacks. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Patricia and Judge were horrible offensive playcallers and coordinators. Bill O’Brien is a major upgrade, and should have a huge impact on the offense.
The entire 2022 season felt like a feeling-out process for the offense, and they never seemed to find a good rhythm until it was too late. The season started with the passing game focusing on the deep ball. That led to major mistakes for a quarterback who isn’t known for having a strong arm. Before his injury, Jones threw five interceptions in just three games. Once Jones returned as the full-time starter, the offense turned ultra-conservative. Jones protected the ball well, throwing only five picks over his final ten starts. His air yards in weeks one to three averaged 329.67 yards per game. From weeks eight to fourteen, that average plummeted to just 186.5 yards per game. It wasn’t until the end of the season, when Bill Belichick started to take a larger role in the offense, that Jones started throwing the ball down the field more and finished top 15 in fantasy points each of the final three games of the season.
Despite the atrocious numbers in 2022, there is hope for the future hidden in those stats! Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston highlighted some of those key stats from PFF. Mac Jones was 13th in the league in turnover-worthy play percentage (2.7%) and fifth in big-time throw percentage (5%). Last season, the only other quarterbacks to finish top 15 in both of those metrics are Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Joe Burrow and Andy Dalton. It is digging deep, but those two stats can be considered stats independent of play caller, it shows that Mac Jones has the awareness and accuracy to be a solid NFL quarterback, despite the lackluster season.
Going forward, O’Brien is coming home to New England, where he got his first chance to run an offense in 2011. While he doesn’t have the best record as a head coach and executive, his offenses have always passed the ball very well. His offenses have been top 20 in passing yards every year of his career except for 2014, his first season with the Texans, 2016 and 2017. He’s also had success at the college level, as a head coach at Penn State and an offensive coordinator at Alabama.
Surrounding Jones, the Patriots have added JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki. They also tried to add DeAndre Hopkins, but lost out to the Tennessee Titans, so the team could be willing to bring in another weapon to bolster this offense. Last season, the team did not have a reliable passing-catching running back. Pierre Strong should step up in year two, and Ty Montgomery is healthy if he makes the team. Kendrick Bourne is another receiver who struggled last year, as he appeared to butt heads with Patricia and Judge’s schemes. With a new OC, Bourne could become a bigger piece in this offense, like he was in his first season in New England.
Mac Jones is a talented NFL quarterback who was put in a horrible situation last season. At his age and draft capital, the Patriots will lean on him as their starter for at least the next two seasons, through better and worse. He’s being drafted at his absolute floor right now, and has nowhere to go but up this season.
Let’s use the DLF Trade Finder to look at possible Jones trades in superflex and two quarterback leagues.
Mac Jones is the perfect target right now for teams that need a third quarterback in superflex and two-QB leagues. He’s very accessible right now, and could be an important piece to a team going for a championship this season.
The first trade on that list has George Pickens on the move for Mac Jones and Michael Gallup. Pickens has some upside at his age, but he’s on a frustrating offense with a middling quarterback and one of the worst play callers in the league. He is a highlight reel waiting to happen, but this season he will be tough to trust in your lineup even as a flex option. To get a starting quarterback, and Michael Gallup, a boring wide receiver who could have similar stats to Pickens this year, seems like a very good deal to me.
Mac Jones isn’t a quarterback who fits every team’s needs, so he isn’t someone you have to go out and buy right now. But, if you’re out there looking for a third quarterback with the potential to be a quarterback two for a long time in this league, Mac Jones is a very affordable player to acquire.
FALLER: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB
Things appear to be trending up for Stevenson. He’s coming off a great sophomore season, Damien Harris has left in free agency, and the team has done nothing to replace him, yet. We’ll analyze Stevenson’s outlook and make an argument that he may not be worth the early fourth-round ADP in startup drafts.
Current Market Value (ADP/Rankings)
Right now, Stevenson is the RB14 and 38th overall player in June’s DLF ADP.
He is the first Patriots player off the board in dynasty drafts, but he is all the way down at 38 overall. It is a massive jump in ADP considering he was at 116.5 overall last June. He is bunched together with Najee Harris, Tony Pollard and Kenneth Walker, going last of the group. The running backs going just after Stevenson include Javonte Williams, JK Dobbins, Derrick Henry and D’Andre Swift.
Honestly, Stevenson’s ADP is a bit lower than I expected it to be. After finishing RB7 in PPR points last season, I expected him to be in the top 12 and the first three rounds in startup drafts. That being said, I do believe he is still going a bit too high in startup drafts and his ADP will go down this season.
The DLF Expert Rankings have him at about the same spot, RB13 and 37th off the board.
Stevenson comes into 2023 as a supposed bellcow running back, but there are some concerns that I have that could lower his ADP this season.
First, Stevenson certainly fell off in production as the season went on in 2022. In his rookie season, he had 147 touches, more than he ever had in college. In year two, his touches skyrocketed to 279. That was 11th in the league. He started struggling with some injuries, specifically an ankle sprain that ruled him out of the second half in week 14. He came back to finish the season, but he certainly lost a step. Given the end of his season, I doubt we’ll ever see 279 touches again for Stevenson.
Next up is the passing game production. Stevenson had 89 targets and caught 69 balls in 2023. In PPR leagues, he added 117.1 points to his season total thanks to the passing game. That is outstanding to see, but I don’t believe that is what the Patriots want him to be. Last season, they brought in Ty Montgomery to be the team’s passing back. The beat writers were hyping up his role, before he suffered a season-ending injury. He is healthy again this year, and we’re already hearing some hype about him making the team and having a potential role.
They also drafted Pierre Strong last season, a running back who many analysts touted as the next James White in this offense. Strong did almost nothing last year in what could almost be described as a redshirt rookie season. Strong was coming from FCS school South Dakota State, so a longer transition to the NFL is to be expected. James White had a similar rookie season in 2014 before he went off in year two. Strong could have a similar second-year jump.
Finally, I’m not convinced that the Patriots will not bring in another running back before the start of the regular season. With Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette still looking for an NFL job, there is plenty of talent available on the free agent market. The Patriots lost Damien Harris, and didn’t really bring in anyone to replace him. They drafted Strong and Kevin Harris last season, who could help fill the Damien Harris void, but they could also bring someone in. Harris leaves behind 106 attempts and 17 catches from last season, if one of those running backs enters the fold, they will earn more touches than that, depending on their health. After the Patriots missed out on DeAndre Hopkins, they jumped over the Dolphins and Jets to become the betting favorite to be Dalvin Cook’s next team on the DraftKings Sportsbook. They also recently hosted a workout with Fournette and Darrell Henderson.
Dalvin Cook's next team odds
NY Jets: +400
Bears: +1800 pic.twitter.com/x8vPo8pHQo
— Connor Allen (@ConnorAllenNFL) July 17, 2023
Despite all of those possibilities, the way things sit right now, Stevenon is in an outstanding spot to have a massive 2023 season. He’s the lone running back in the Patriots backfield with any history of production in the NFL. If he stays healthy, and the Patriots don’t bring in another back, he could outperform his 2022 numbers, I just do not believe he will do that. With Bill O’Brien running the offense, the team will lean more on the passing game than they did last year. I expect Stevenson to take a step back this year and take a hit in his dynasty ADP.
Once again, let’s look at the DLF Trade Finder for trade options involving Stevenson.
There is a really nice window to sell in dynasty leagues if you’re buying a possible dip in 2023. My favorite trade from this list is trade number six, especially if you’re in a win-now situation. Joe Mixon and Rhamondre Stevenson should basically cancel each other out for this season. On top of that, the manager received a couple of good veteran receivers in Tyler Lockett and Allen Lazard. While all three of those players could be out of the league in two years, they could make all the difference in a championship run this season. That being said, the number four trade above is horrible value for Stevenson, you will need to get much more than that to let him go.
Stevenson has several paths to losing dynasty value this season. He’s a very talented back who has outperformed his draft capital so far in his career. Signs are pointing to him being the Patriots’ bellcow back this season, but how often has Bill Belichick done this to us? Right when we think a running back is on his way to being a superstar, the Patriots will get someone else in the mix to ruin the lives of fantasy managers. Despite that, I don’t believe Stevenson is an asset you must sell in dynasty. He’s being drafted as a running back two in dynasty and that’s where he should be valued. If you can find a manager who is willing to overpay for him, then you can sell, otherwise I’d hold and enjoy his production this season.
LONGSHOT: Kendrick Bourne, WR
Path to Relevance
If any player was impacted more than Mac Jones by the Matt Patricia/Joe Judge comedy of errors in New England last season, it was absolutely Kendrick Bourne. Bourne was the most vocal of the players criticizing the Patriots offensive system. He was thrown in the doghouse early on, and never found his way out of it. He finished the season with only 48 targets, 35 catches, 435 yards and a touchdown.
Kendrick Bourne clearly is thrilled about Bill O'Brien replacing Matt Patricia as it gives the Patriots wideout an offensive coordinator who "knows what he's doing." https://t.co/Sqrmj1Gljm
— NESN (@NESN) June 9, 2023
Going back to 2021, Bourne was one of Jones’s favorite targets. He was second on the team with 55 receptions, 800 yards and five touchdowns. He finished just six PPR points behind Jakobi Meyers for the team lead in PPR points at wide receiver.
Now that a competent offensive coordinator is calling the plays, Bourne could once again become a significant piece of this offense. His dynasty ADP barely makes the list. Of the 279 players ranked, he is number 272 overall, wide receiver 115. He is basically a free pick in startup drafts, and likely available on many waiver wires. Despite that, he has a chance to be the second most productive wide receiver on this team behind JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Case Against Him
Bourne is currently buried on the Patriots depth chart after his horrible 2022 season. He’ll have a chance to be the Patriots number two wide receiver, but Bill Belichick seems to love DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton could make a year two jump.
Reports out of Foxborough are telling us that the Patriots are going to focus primarily on a two-tight end offense, similar to the offense O’Brien ran in 2011 when he was the Patriots offensive coordinator. They’re hoping Mike Gesicki and Hunter Henry can put up big numbers similar to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez that season. Gronk and Hernandez combined for 169 receptions, 2,237 yards and 25 touchdowns. Those numbers are not achievable, but the Patriots are going to try, and that will limit production for these wide receivers.
Bourne made headlines last season for what was going on off the field, and while he was certainly in Patricia’s doghouse, he may have been in Belichick’s doghouse too. He may need to show it on the field to earn a larger piece of the pie than he had in 2022.
Bourne is exactly what we labeled him in this section, a long shot. So many things need to go right for him to become a fantasy producer this year, it is so hard to put a bet on him. That being said, his ADP is so low that he may be worth stashing on your bench through training camp. We should know prior to week one whether or not Bourne has a role in this offense. If he earns a spot lining up opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster, then he’ll absolutely be worth a roster spot. But, even with that role, wide receivers have not been a focal point of the Patriots offense lately. Right now, I’d say it’s much more likely that he doesn’t have much fantasy value this season.
- Dynasty Top 250 Fantasy Football Rankings: Movers and Shakers - September 26, 2023
- Dynasty Fantasy Football: Targets Acquired - September 8, 2023
- Dynasty Top 250 Fantasy Football Rankings: Movers and Shakers - August 29, 2023