Fantasy football 2022: Projections for Rhamondre Stevenson, skillful Patriots players
We’ll start with a word of warning: sign a skilled New England Patriots player at your own risk.
The Patriots have long frustrated fantasy football managers with their egalitarian approach, performance over pedigree on offense. They’re happy to give a third-string running back a goal line after leaning on their workhorse all practice. When Bill Belichick says fantasy football means nothing to himhe does not lie.
That said…there is fantasy in Foxboro.
Fantasy football 2022: see player ratings, sleepers and more
Young quarterback Mac Jones looks set for a sophomore jump after a strong rookie campaign. Running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson are both expected to play important roles. Pass-catchers Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, Hunter Henry and newcomer DeVante Parker all have the potential to be legitimate fantasy contributors.
How much potential, you ask?
Below are our stat projections for 2022 and the projected draft round for every notable Patriots skill player, starting with those likely to be first out of your draft board. (Note: All stats are on a half-PPR scoring system.)
Damien Harris, running back
2021 statistics: 202 carries, 929 yards, 15 touchdowns; 18 receptions, 138 yards, 0 TDs
2022 statistical projections: 170 carries, 816 yards, 7 touchdowns; 10 receptions, 84 yards, 0 TDs
Projected draft round: Eighth
Harris was one of the top 15 fantasy running backs last season with 15 rushing touchdowns, tied for second in the NFL. It seems like an aberration, and with Stevenson potentially taking on a bigger role (more on that shortly), we’re expecting a slight regression for Harris in his fourth season.
Don’t sell all your Harris stock, though. The 25-year-old is still expected to be the bell cow for an offense that ranked eighth in the league in rushing attempts in 2021, and he posted five 100-yard games last season, even with Stevenson nibbling his heels. If Harris makes it past the eighth round, he’s definitely worth picking up as RB2/RB3.
Rhmondre Stevenson, running back
2021 statistics: 133 carries, 606 yards, 5 touchdowns; 14 receptions, 123 yards, 0 TDs
2022 statistical projections: 145 carries, 700 yards, 6 touchdowns; 28 receptions, 240 yards, 3 touchdowns
Projected draft round: 10th
No Patriots player has more fantasy than Stevenson, who is a popular candidate entering his second season in the NFL. With James White likely sidelined to start the season, the Oklahoma product could also play a bigger role in the passing game.
Perry: Why Stevenson has the potential to be one of the NFL’s top 10 running backs
The question is whether New England will give Stevenson enough touches to be fantasy relevant while sharing the backfield with Harris. Considering Harris dragged the ball 202 times last season, we could see the Patriots increase Stevenson’s workload and possibly give him more red-zone touches, which could make him a borderline RB2/RB3 with a high. potential if anything happens to Harris.
Jakobi Meyers, wide receiver
2021 statistics: 126 targets, 83 receptions, 866 yards, 2 touchdowns
2022 statistical projections: 90 targets, 74 receptions, 788 yards, 2 touchdowns
Projected draft round: 12th
Meyers quietly became Jones’ favorite receiver last year, amassing more targets than Deebo Samuel and Mike Evans. The problem is that he’s rarely used in the red zone, with just two career touchdowns over three full seasons.
That’s unlikely to change with DeVante Parker in the mix. If you’re a full 12-team PPR league, Meyers is worth an end-of-round flyer as arguably the New England receiving corps’ safest bet. There just aren’t many advantages here.
DeVante Parker, wide receiver
2021 stats (with Miami): 73 targets, 40 receptions, 515 yards, 2 touchdowns (10 games)
2022 statistical projections: 80 targets, 68 receptions, 700 yards, 5 touchdowns
Projected draft round: 12th
If Meyers is the safest bet at wide receiver, Parker is the riskiest – but with the highest ceiling. The former Miami Dolphin is just three seasons away from setting up WR1 numbers – 72 catches, 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns in 2019 – but has missed nine games in the past two seasons due to injury. .
Reports from Foxboro suggest Parker is off to a strong start in training camp, and there’s a world in which he leads the team in touchdowns as Mac Jones’ red zone target. There is also a world in which he is sidelined for multiple matches. High risk, high reward here.
Kendrick Bourne, wide receiver
2021 statistics: 70 targets, 55 receptions, 800 yards, 5 TDs; 12 carries, 125 yards
2022 statistical projections: 82 targets, 70 receptions, 685 yards, 3 touchdowns
Projected draft round: 12th
Our Tom E. Curran turned a few heads recently when he said Bourne might have a “Deebo Samuel year” in New England. It’s pretty daring, but Bourne is arguably the Patriots’ most dynamic wide receiver who also contributed to the running game last season and seems to have strong chemistry with Jones.
So what’s stopping Bourne from being a reliable fantasy starter? The bottom line is that Meyers, Parker, Bourne, and even Nelson Agholor (not to mention tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith) will all cut each other’s goals with no player solidifying as true WR1s. The Patriots’ offense isn’t powerful enough to distribute enough wealth, even among the team’s top three players.
Hunter Henry, tight end
2021 statistics: 75 targets, 50 receptions, 603 yards, nine touchdowns
2022 statistical projections: 64 targets, 44 receptions, 586 yards, 5 touchdowns
Projected draft round: 16th
No tight end caught more TD passes than Henry last season, which explains why he was the ninth-best TE in fantasy. We expect some regression in that department with Parker in the mix, and if Jonnu Smith has anywhere near a year of rebound from a disappointing 2021, it will eat away at Henry’s goals.
Henry is technically Jones’ favorite red zone target until proven otherwise, so don’t rule him out entirely. But it’s more of a high-end TE2 than a TE1 at this point.
Jonnu Smith, tight end
2021 statistics: 45 targets, 28 receptions, 294 yards, 1 TD; nine carries, 40 yards
2022 statistical projections: 51 targets, 35 receptions, 400 yards, 2 TDs; 11 carries, 86 yards
Projected draft round: Not drafted
The Patriots didn’t give Smith a guaranteed $31.25 million last offseason for catching 28 balls. He should have a bigger role in offense after last year’s flop. But he faces a steep climb to earn a regular share of goals alongside Henry, who ranked second in the team in goals last season. You can find a better tight end elsewhere.
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