The New England Patriots have few, if any, must-start fantasy players in Sunday’s matchup with the Carolina Panthers.
The 4-4 Patriots feature an up-and-down offense but a consistently solid defense. The same can be said for the 4-4 Panthers, who also are coming off a Week 8 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Ahead of the Week 9 contest, we came up with the Patriots players you should start, and those you should sit, on your fantasy teams.
Let’s get into it:
Hunter Henry, TE
Henry’s four-game touchdown streak ended last weekend, but that shouldn’t disuade managers from putting him in their lineups. The Panthers are middle of the road in stopping opposing tight ends, making Henry a solid play Sunday.
It looks like Sam Darnold, who is dealing with concussion symptoms and a shoulder injury, will start over PJ Walker. That could be good news for the Patriots defense, which has a track record of giving Darnold fits. Carolina’s rushing attack is concerning, but New England’s defense still should have a solid fantasy day.
Damien Harris, RB
Carolina boasts a strong run defense, so don’t expect Harris to run wild. However, the third-year back has a high enough floor to warrant a spot in your lineups.
Mac Jones, QB
Jones is coming off his worst game as a professional and is on the road, facing a good defense. The rookie has yet to establish himself as a weekly QB1 in fantasy.
It’s not that we believe all of New England’s receivers will have bad days. Rather, it’s that there’s no consistently productive player in the group. Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne all could enjoy big games Sunday, but they also are prone to total duds.
Jonnu Smith, TE
Smith hasn’t emerged as the dynamic weapon many thought the Patriots were getting when they signed him during the offseason. The veteran mostly is being used as a blocker, with the occasional target on passing plays. Stay away until further notice.