Kickoff: Sunday, November 22nd at 1:00 PM ET
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Betting Odds: NE -2, 47.5 Total via Oddsshark
New England Patriots
Cam Newton (Start)
Cam Newton has started to show a little bit of life the past two weeks after struggling upon his return from the COVID list. As a straight passer, Newton has been pretty average. His CPOE is a negative-0.1 (per NextGenStats) and he is only throwing deep 6.7% of the time (per PFF). A lot can be contributed to his supporting cast and we all know that you play Newton for his rushing numbers. The matchup against the Texans provides for some nice upside for Newton’s rushing. The Texans are dead last in run defense by DVOA (per Football Outsiders). In a game that could turn into a shootout, Newton is a strong play.
Damien Harris (Start, Flex), Rex Burkhead (Start, Deep Flex),
I will lead this section with what I said above with Newton: the Texans are dead last in run defense by DVOA (per Football Outsiders). So, Damien Harris and Rex Burkhead both are viable options this week. Harris has had at least 14 rushing attempts in the last three weeks and has gone over 100 yards in two of those games. Harris handled 55% of the snaps last week and he is fifth in the NFL in rushing DYAR (per Football Outsiders). With the Patriots’ commitment to the run, Harris is in for a strong week. Burkhead is also in consideration for deeper leagues because he was second on the team in targets last week and handled 34% of the snaps. Burkhead has always been capable when given a workload and he seems to be ahead of James White for passing work at the moment.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Jakobi Meyers (Start, Flex)
With Julian Edelman on IR and N’Keal Harry firmly in the bust category, Jakobi Meyers has become the Patriots’ number one receiving option. Meyers has done well with his chance and is fourth in the NFL in targets over the last three weeks. He has climbed up to 26th in WOPR (per airyards.com) and has been climbing steadily as the only real pass catcher on the team. Against a weak Texans defense (22nd in passing defense per Football Outsiders), I would continue to use Meyers.
Deshaun Watson (Start)
Last week was tough for any part of either passing game due to weather conditions, so we shouldn’t hold it against Deshaun Watson. After starting a bit slow early in the season against tough opponents, Watson has been the player we all know he is. He is carrying the Texans’ offense and is 12th in CPOE with a positive-2.7 (per NextGenStats). The Patriots are shockingly 30th in pass defense by DVOA (per Football Outsiders) and present a prime matchup for Watson. We could see a bit of a shootout here if the Patriots can keep pace.
Duke Johnson (Start, RB2)
With David Johnson on IR with a concussion, Duke Johnson got his chance to be a lead back. Duke handled 94% of the snaps, 14 carries, and one target. That kind of usage is an auto-start in fantasy every week and the Patriots defense is 31st in run defense by DVOA (per Football Outsiders). Don’t overthink it, and start Duke this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Will Fuller (Start, WR2), Brandin Cooks (Start, WR2)
The two Texans’ wide receivers have been pretty close in every receiving category. Will Fuller is 21st in routes run and Brandin Cooks is 19th, but only ahead by three routes (per PFF). Cooks also leads in targets by three, 64 to 61. Fuller is 21st in air yards compared to Cooks at 27th (per airyards.com). Both are basically locked into the start every week category and have a great matchup this week against the Patriots struggling defense.
-Frank Costanzo (@FrankQBList on Twitter, Zzzonked92 on Reddit)