Fantasy Football Week 11: How Should You View Patriots After Recent Surge

Rhamondre Stevenson, Hunter Henry and others are growing to be useful fantasy options

by

November 18, 2021

It feels like it’s been a while since the New England Patriots had players making a real impact for fantasy football owners.

It’s somewhat of a representation of New England’s lack of talent at the receiver and tight end positions in recent seasons. Sure, Julian Edelman was almost always rostered, and the same could be said about running back Sony Michel and maybe James White. But the red-hot Patriots are putting both the NFL and fantasy managers on notice recently.

With recency bias certainly playing a bit of a role, New England’s 45-7 thumping of the Cleveland Browns in Week 10 brought out season-best performances from tight end Hunter Henry, wideout Kendrick Bourne and running back Rhamondre Stevenson. And that was with the Patriots’ lone consistent fantasy starter, lead running back Damien Harris, not even playing due to a concussion.

It begs the question: How should you feel about a handful of Patriots players going forward in fantasy leagues? (Disclaimer: we’re not talking about Harris or the Patriots’ sought-after defense.)

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB
The rookie running back is coming off back-to-back strong weeks. The second, of course, came with Harris sidelined, but the first came while he split snaps with the former against the Panthers. Stevenson posted 100-plus yards from scrimmage in each of those two games and has scored the fifth-most points among running backs during that smaller sample size. He’s averaged 20.00 points per game in full-point leagues on 1.11 points per touch (36 touches), according to SportRadar. Stevenson ranks behind only Jonathan Taylor, James Conner, Christian McCaffrey and Darrel Williams in total scoring since Week 9. Harris’ return, which likely will come on “Thursday Night Football” against the Falcons, will take touches away from Stevenson, but the latter has proven capable in the passing game, which could get him more work. Stevenson has averaged 1.69 points per target these last two games, as well.

Verdict: Flex play with Harris in; RB2 with Harris out

Hunter Henry, TE
It’s not often that a pass-catcher flirts with must-start territory while seeing four targets or less in each of the last five games. That, however, is the predicament fantasy owners find themselves in with Henry. It’s because the Patriots tight end has become a staple in the red zone. Henry, one of New England’s top offseason additions, now has scored seven touchdowns over his last seven games which has led him to 4.97 points per touch since Week 6. He is the third-highest scoring tight end in that span while averaging 10.94 points per game in full-point leagues. Again, Henry is not going to see the targets of Travis Kelce or Mike Gesicki — he’s TE22 in targets since Week 6 — or the receiving yards of Kyle Pitts and Mark Andrews — he’s TE20 during that span — but he’s undoubtedly becoming a lineup mainstay.

Verdict: Start until he gives you reason not to

Kendrick Bourne, WR
The first-year Patriot is looking like a perfect fit for Mac Jones and Co., especially over the last few games as he’s ranked WR11 in full-point leagues in the last two weeks. Bourne was the fourth-highest scoring receiver in Week 10 as he led the league in points per target (4.95) while his seven touches went for a total of 141 yards from scrimmage. While that certainly helped his overall standing, Bourne is WR15 in total scoring since Week 7. During that span, he’s averaged 2.89 points per touch while seeing more touches (18) than any other Patriots receiver. Additionally, Bourne now is the highest-scoring receiver on the Patriots and WR32 in total scoring this season. Bourne has been added in 10% of Yahoo! leagues this past week, but he’s probably still available.

Verdict: Add to roster, hold off on starting lineup

Jakobi Meyers, WR
Meyers ranks just behind Bourne not only on the Patriots but in the entire NFL. Meyers, in full-point leagues, has scored three points fewer than Bourne through 10 games. That doesn’t exactly speak to Meyers’ consistency, though. The third-year wideout is averaging a respectable 11.01 points per game this season and now has finally found the end zone. Meyers has the most receptions of any New England pass-catcher and his connection with Jones has been clear. If Meyers can string together a handful of games with touchdown receptions (or passes?) his fantasy value jumps exponentially.

Verdict: Use sparingly as flex play

Jonnu Smith, TE
Smith almost certainly was drafted higher than Henry when it comes to New England’s two tight ends. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done anything to make fantasy owners keep him on their team– he’s rostered in just 24% of Yahoo leagues. Smith has seen two targets or less in four of his last five games and he hasn’t exceeded double-digit points this season. Smith, playing in his first year with the Patriots, is TE29 on the season while seeing just 3.8 targets per game.

Verdict: Drop if you haven’t already

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images

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