The New England Patriots present a three-for-one deal among former fantasy football assets now calling the Boston area home in 2018. None of them figure to be high-level fantasy contributors in the upcoming season, but there could be utility from this trio in select situations.
Wideouts Jordan Matthews and Cordarrelle Patterson are joined by former Cincinnati Bengals power-back Jeremy Hill as new Patriots. All three are considered reserves at this time, and Patterson is probably the only one close to a lock for the final roster, only because of special teams skills.
A promising career in Philadelphia has been derailed by a nagging knee injury primarily, and moving to Buffalo during the 2017 preseason didn’t help his cause.
Knee tendonitis was the diagnosis in Philly, but in a recent interview with SiriusXM, Matthews claimed the Buffalo team doctors properly evaluated the situation for both his knee and ankle, resulting in surgeries. This could be a sneaky bit of information for gamers to use on draft day.
In New England, the quarterback situation is the best of Matthews’ career, and the offensive system is also a huge plus. The downsides, provided he is indeed healthy, include picking up this complex system, building chemistry with Tom Brady, and fighting for looks in a crowded cast of weapons.
Matthews scored 16 times in his first 32 pro games, which could be a clue as to how the Patriots intend to use him. Eleven of those TDs came inside of the opponent’s 20-yard line. With so much attention paid to Rob Gronkowski in the red zone, Matthews gains from low expectations and single coverage.
Chris Hogan figure to be Matthews’ biggest competitor for touches — similar skill sets and roles. Kenny Britt is also a factor to watch. Matthews is merely a wild flier at this point in fantasy. If the wheels are bolted on tightly, gamers could find late-round value for matchup plays. His current ADP is an appropriate 17th-round selection.
As mentioned, he’s a special teams weapon above all else. In a “why not?” trade with Oakland, the Pats added this explosive Tennessee product to the mix. Knowing the love of gimmick plays on Josh McDaniels’ part, CP will be worked into the passing game on occasion. The problem is, though, defenses are tipped to his involvement without a steady role in the offense. When you see a guy like this come onto the field, extra scrutiny goes his way.
Barring an injury to one of the top receivers, or Julian Edelman being unable to return to form after knee reconstruction, there is no clear path for Patterson to see meaningful offensive touches. His most notable impact could be for New England’s defensive team unit in leagues rewarding special teams scores. For all intents and purposes, he is undraftable.
After averaging 10 touchdowns a year in his first three seasons with the Bengals, Hill, 25, entered a 2017 contract year as one-third of a backfield following the selection of Joe Mixon. The writing was on the wall, and after seven games, Hill was lost due to ankle surgery. He professes to be back to 100 percent and has regained full motion.
Hill’s offseason will consistent of learning the playbook as quickly as possible while competing for a roster spot with Brandon Bolden and Mike Gillislee. The latter fizzled out in 2017 and is basically an afterthought at this point. Bolden plays well when called upon, in those rare situations. Hill will have to fight for touches among first-round rookie Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead, should he make the 53-man. The only obvious role is as a battering ram near the goal line, which tends to make fantasy utility impossible to predict.
Don’t be surprise to see Hill in a Pats jersey in 2018, albeit used selectively and what will feel like at random for fantasy purposes. Drafting him is ill-advised, but he could prove to be a waiver acquisition on the heels of a strong performance. Knowing (more like guessing) when to play him could be a regular frustration given the fickle nature of a specialty back.