FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
QB Tom Brady
I’m dialing back my enthusiasm for Brady’s fantasy prospects this week because Seattle’s defense is solid, particularly on the back end. The one area I could see the Pats exploiting is the Seahawks’ sub packages by keeping them on the field with the hurry-up, but that’s not enough to make me project more than 260 and 2 scores. Shallow leaguers might be able to find better options.
RBs Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden, Danny Woodhead
Tempering expectations for Ridley and Bolden would be prudent. I think they’ll split up 115 yards and a score, with Ridley getting the slightly larger slice of the action. The wild card in the equation is Woodhead. His workload could see a slight bump this week as the Pats rush to the line to exploit matchups. I think he’ll see the lion’s share of the work and put up north of 60 total yards. In PPR leagues, he’s certainly flex-worthy.
WRs Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd
Welker should see a ton of work on this game, so I wouldn’t give him a downgrade in PPR leagues. He should be a lock for at least 90 yards on 8 catches. Lloyd is a bit trickier to project. Seattle has big, physical corners who are not easily beaten. I think Lloyd ends up somewhere around 5 catches for 60 yards. I think Welker has a slightly better chance than Lloyd of finding the end zone, but not by much.
TEs Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez
There are rumblings that Hernandez might play, but I would expect his role to be limited in his first game back in action. I’d leave him on the bench this week. Gronkowski figures to get a lot of work between the numbers, so you should count on him going over 75 yards and crossing the stripe.
New England Defense/Special Teams
This is a good week to use New England’s D. The Seahawks like to run to set up the pass, but New England’s front 7 are stout against the run. Seattle QB Russell Wilson has already absorbed 10 sacks and turned the ball over seven times. Look for the Pats to force him into a bunch of unfavorable down-and-distance situations that translate to 3 sacks, 2 turnovers and 17 points allowed.