Kickoff: Monday, December 12th, 8:15 PM ET
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale
Betting Odds: NE -1;5 / 44.5 total via PFF.com
Writer: Estevão Maximo. (@estevao_maximo on Twitter)
New England Patriots
Mac Jones (Sit)
The only proof we have of that game against the Vikings happening is that it did, but if you showed me that stat line of over 350 yards and multiple passing touchdowns from Mac Jones in a game with this offense, in the year of 2022, without a massive load of garbage time as the driving force, we’d be like no, stop trolling me, that didn’t happen.
Jones is a serviceable quarterback, and he showed he can function well as a rookie, but there’s just not a lot to work with, as far as the 2022 Pats are concerned, and Mac isn’t the quarterback who’ll drastically or even just at any level elevate the surrounding group, or do it on his own.
You don’t want to be starting Mac unless you’re out of options in Superflex leagues, and just hold out hope the Pats get some playmakers around him for 2023. The former first-round pick has as many touchdowns as interceptions (7 of each) and has thrown for over 250 yards just once in his last five games.
Rhamondre Stevenson (Start, RB2), Damien Harris (Sit)
When in doubt, dump it off to Rhamondre Stevenson. That is the best trait of the Pats offense from a fantasy standpoint, and that was abundantly clear to anyone watching during the multiple garbage time drives in last week’s Thursday Night Football loss to the Bills by 24-10. In fact, if you looked at Rhamondre’s targets over the past six weeks, you would think he is the team’s leading wide receiver.
Stevenson has been targeted eight, seven, seven, six, ten, and eight times since Week 7, and at this point in the year has clearly shown he is the better option over even a healthy Damien Harris, which might not be the case for this Monday Night game, as his status remains up in the air.
The Pats offense runs through Rhamondre, and even if Harris does steal some carries coming back, his passing game work leaves him as a reliable RB2, even if the team gets into a lot of negative game-script.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Jakobi Meyers (Start, FLEX), Devante Parker (Start, FLEX if Meyers doesn’t play), Kendrick Bourne (Sit), Hunter Henry (Start, TE2)
Jakobi Meyers came into last week’s game banged up, and left taking a huge hit late that knocked him out at the end of the game, but all reports indicate he is fine, even if he hasn’t practiced at the beginning of the week. Despite clearly not being 100%, Meyers still managed to give you 6 points for your troubles, and if he plays, he is about the only reliable wideout in this passing attack, making him a safe-ish FLEX play.
If you need someone to replace him, the best bet is to look at Devante Parker, and hope he actually catches the two or so contested balls, Mac will inevitably throw his way at some point in the game. It’s not the best experience, but Parker has had three serviceable games over his last six, and you could probably do worse.
Hunter Henry has been pretty underwhelming and he’s still TE21 on the year. The lack of options both in the Pats attack, and also the tight end position around the league, leaves him as a low-end TE2 at Arizona.
Kyler Murray (Start, QB1)
The former first-overall pick has five games with multiple passing touchdowns on the season, and three of them in the past three weeks, it certainly helps an offense that was rather stagnant to get DeAndre Hopkins back, and playing at a high level, but at the same time, the Cards have lost all three of those games, and you get the feeling things could completely spiral at any point.
Strictly from a fantasy standpoint, Kyler Murray hasn’t really hit his ceiling on the year, but he is a serviceable QB1, and on another positive note, he’s put up two of his three best games in terms of rushing yards over the last couple of weeks, running for 116 yards and a score against the Seahawks and Chargers.
It’s all about managing expectations at this point.
James Conner (Start, RB2)
James Conner is going up against the second best defense in points allowed to opposing backs and should be somewhat limited on the ground, but especially after the departure of Eno Benjamin, the former Steeler has a stranglehold on this backfield’s snap shares, having played 96 and 97 percent of the offensive snaps in two of the past three weeks.
You couldn’t find a bigger contrast than going from playing the Chargers run D to going up against New England’s right now, and Conner is unlikely to put up the same numbers, but you can’t ignore this volume of work. Conner is a pretty safe RB2 play, even if his numbers should come down a bit from the 120 rush yards of last week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
DeAndre Hopkins (Start, WR1), Marquise Brown (Start, WR3), Greg Dortch (Sit), A.J. Green (Sit)
There was real concern about which Nuk Arizona would get coming off his suspension, and not exactly pointing up in his career, but those questions have been sorely dismissed with an output that makes it worthwhile for all of you who drafted DeAndre Hopkins and stashed him on your bench. The former Texan has put up four games with 12 or more targets, and he’s only played in six while averaging nearly 100 yards per game. Nuk is putting up legitimate WR1 numbers and the return of Brown is only going to help him.
Marquise Brown isn’t going to produce as he did without Nuk, but the former Sooner did catch six of eight targets for 46 yards and looks poised to be a high-end WR3 for this stretch run, with some potential to move up depending on how this offense goes, definitely carrying some WR2 potential.
Beyond those two, with the injury to Zach Ertz, there isn’t much to look for in this receiving group.