New England Patriots 2022 Fantasy Football Rookie Roundup

Bill Belichick New England Patriots

The New England Patriots took a whole mess of fantasy football-eligible players in the 2022 NFL Draft, but they did it seemingly without any rhyme or reason. They drafted the 2022 NFL Draft John Ross Award Winner (overdrafted because of speed), Tyquan Thornton, who will accept the award from last year’s winner, the Rams’ Tutu Atwell. The Patriots also took a fourth-round backup quarterback and two running backs. Just what the heck can we expect from these guys in 2022 fantasy football?

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS FULL DRAFT RESULTS
Rd. Pick Player Pos. College
1 29 Cole Strange OL Chattanooga
2 50 Tyquan Thornton WR  Baylor
3 85 Marcus Jones CB Houston
4 121 Jack Jones DB Arizona St.
4 127 Pierre Strong RB South Dakota St.
4 137 Bailey Zappe QB Western Kentucky
6 183 Kevin Harris RB South Carolina
6 200 Sam Roberts DE NW Missouri St.
6 210 Chasen Hines G LSU
7 245 Andrew Stueber OL Michigan

 

Round 2, Pick 50 Overall: Tyquan Thornton, Wide Receiver, Baylor (6’2” 181 lbs)
WR1:     DeVante Parker
WR2:     Kendrick Bourne
WR3:     Jakobi Meyers
WR4:     Nelson Agholor
WR5:     Tyquan Thornton
WR6:     Ty Montgomery
TALENT

The first thing you see when you pop on Tyquan Thornton’s tape is how lanky he is. At 6’2” and 181 pounds, he’s more like Slenderman than anything else out there. And if Slenderman had his speed, maybe the movie wouldn’t have been a flop. Thornton posted a 4.28 40-yard dash at the combine, just 0.01 seconds off of tying Marquise Goodwin, Stanford Routt and Henry Ruggs for the eighth-fastest combine 40-yard dash of all time. He’s a pure deep threat on the Patriots, and he has the catch radius and sticky hands to make it work.

2022 OPPORTUNITY

This is a chicken and egg situation for Thornton. Mac Jones ranked twenty-second in deep-ball pass attempts per game last year (3.65 per game) and the sixteenth-highest deep ball completion rate. While a better deep threat like Thornton could fix that, PlayerProfiler.com gave Mac Jones a 45% deep catchable pass rate, behind Sam Darnold and Taylor Heinicke, and firmly in the 20s among full-time quarterbacks. So, you have to wonder: will Thornton get the passes he needs to thrive, and if he gets them, will it matter?

2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

I doubt Tyquan Thornton is a player that matters for fantasy football for this season. And, given that the main argument for him is draft capital (and most had him pegged as a day three pick), you wonder how much upside exists for Thornton in the future.

TALENT
2022 OPPORTUNITY
2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
Round 4, Pick 127 Overall: Pierre Strong, Running Back, South Dakota State (5’11” 207 lbs)
Depth Chart:
RB?:       Damien Harris
RB?:       Rhamondre Stevenson
RB?:       James White
RB?:       Pierre Strong
RB?:       Kevin Harris
RB?:       J.J. Taylor
TALENT

Pierre Strong had the perfect college mascot (the Jackrabbits) because the man springs around a football field like a jackrabbit. Unfortunately, jackrabbits don’t play football, and because of this, his upside is somewhat limited. But, we will get to that in a second. Strong is a highly instinctual runner, who can make an entire football team look silly in the open field. But, if you try to scheme and define his running lanes, then you’re going to find trouble. Because Strong is so instinctively good at missing defenders and setting defenders up, he has trouble reading blocks, and waiting for them to develop. He’s an excellent runner once he gets into the open field, but getting into the open field is what I most worry about with Strong.

2022 OPPORTUNITY

Who knows, it’s Bill Belichick. The Patriots now have 75 running backs on the roster, and if you told me Damien Harris was RB1 or cut, I would believe you. So, it would be fallacious for me to tell you that Strong does or doesn’t have a locked-up role in a muddled backfield. Anyone that tells you differently is either guessing or Bill Belichick (or both).

2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

The same holds true for Strong. In deep, deep leagues, he’s worth a roster spot just to see what happens (it sort of worked for Rhamondre Stevenson). The Belichicanery can work to your advantage here, as it will drive the price down on every piece of the backfield, allowing you to buy in on the cheap parts without much risk. This is the same thing as the Shanahanigans that get played in San Francisco, wherein value can be had at a discount because of uncertainty. You should snag Strong in deep drafts, or just keep an eye on him in shallower ones. Either way, he’s a name you should know in 2022… Just in case.

TALENT
2022 OPPORTUNITY
2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
Round 4, Pick 137 Overall: Bailey Zappe, Quarterback, Western Kentucky (6’1” 215 lbs)
TALENT

Bailey Zappe has a lot of traits that make me want someone to take a flyer on him at the NFL level, and a lot of traits that make me not want that team to be my 49ers. Zappe is flying up draft boards because he is now the single-season record holder for passing yards (5,967) and passing touchdowns (62!) in college football. But, his competition was not great, and he has a lot of his playmakers to thank for that yardage. Back to the traits I like: he isn’t afraid to uncork it, and he has nice touch downfield. The things I don’t like? Balls outside the numbers die on him, his accuracy gets really wonky if it’s not down the middle, he is a statue in the pocket, and he has an ugly, looping throw. He deserves an NFL roster spot, and I pegged him as an early fourth-round pick, but I’m not worried about him in fantasy football.

2022 OPPORTUNITY

Mac Jones, pending injury, should take 100% of the relevant snaps in 2022.

2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

Mac Jones, pending injury, should take 100% of the relevant snaps in 2022.

TALENT
2022 OPPORTUNITY
2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

 

Round 6, Pick 183 Overall: Kevin Harris, Running Back, South Carolina (5’10” 221 lbs)
Depth Chart:
RB?:       Damien Harris
RB?:       Rhamondre Stevenson
RB?:       James White
RB?:       Pierre Strong
RB?:       Kevin Harris
RB?:       J.J. Taylor
TALENT

Harris is very fast and powerful but gets pulled down a lot despite this. His offensive line did him no favors, which was a problem because for Harris to maximize his power and speed, he needs a good amount of runway. If you can get him past the line of scrimmage, he’s pretty fast (but not overwhelmingly so). But, getting past the line of scrimmage is the hard part. Harris constantly bangs into his lineman, letting the defense swallow him up. He is versatile, with good hands and good pass blocking. But, ultimately, I am unimpressed with him. He could have a James Robinson season, or he could be Mike Davis.

Oh, and he loves to bounce it outside, too. Can’t get enough of it.

2022 OPPORTUNITY

It’s a fool’s errand to try to guess the form a Bill Belichick backfield would take. That having been said, Harris is the second-best Harris on this roster, by a wide margin, and Kevin Harris likely won’t get a ton of snaps that matter.

2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

Bleak (with the Belichicanery caveat).

TALENT
2022 OPPORTUNITY
2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
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About Jeff Krisko

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