Fantasy Football: How Will Patriots' WRs Perform With Jarrett Stidham Under Center?
Hey all you cool cats and kittens, now that you're done watching Tiger King you're probably looking for the next thing to delve into. So why not start doing your research on fantasy football? The NFL Draft hasn't even happened yet, but as any fantasy football savvy person will tell you, keeping up with projection models throughout the entire year - offseason or not - can give you the leg up on your competition when it's time to draft your fantasy team.
In 2020 one of the more interesting wide receiver groups to keep an eye on in the NFL resides in New England, where the Patriots' top 3 receivers - Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu and N'Keal Harry - look to bounce back after dealing with respective injuries last season.
But now that Tom Brady is gone, how will New England's wideouts perform with Jarrett Stidham - who is expected to win the starting QB job this summer - under center next season? ESPN Fantasy expert Mike Clay used his exclusive projection model to find that answer. Here is what Clay had New England's wide receiver room producing for numbers next season with Stidham as the starting quarterback:
Julian Edelman: 81 rec, 942 yds, 5 TDs
N'Keal Harry: 59 rec, 700 yds, 4 TDs
Mohamed Sanu: 57 rec, 572 yds, 3 TDs
Jakobi Meyers: 18 rec, 236 yds, 1 TD
Damiere Byrd: 11 rec, 135 yds, 1 TD
Gunner Olszewski: 2 rec, 23 yds
To put these numbers into perspective, Patriots running back James White (based on Clay's model) is projected to have 65 receptions for 584 yards and three touchdowns.
With Stidham at quarterback, Edelman will have a down year compared to how he produced last season (100 rec, 1,117 yds, six TDs). N'Keal Harry - who will get a chance to play all 16 games after missing over half of last season due to injury - will have a solid season, which is what we should expect from the former first-round draft choice. If Sanu produces like his projections suggests, then he will have a similar season to his 2019 campaign when looking at his combined numbers before and after he was traded from Atlanta to New England (59 rec, 520 yds, two TDs).
None of those numbers will excite fantasy owners who want to snag one of New England's wideouts in the later rounds with the hopes of them outperforming their draft stock. But Clay's projections are very reasonable based on how much the Patriots offense spreads the ball amongst its wideouts and running backs in the passing game.
With that being said, Clay's projection model is based on New England using the same offensive scheme they used with Brady at the helm. We know that Bill Belichick likes to build a scheme around his players' strengths, so offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels may be asked to change the way the Patriots' offense is run moving forward if Stidham becomes the centerpiece of that unit. If that happens, then we could be looking at very different numbers from the receivers.