Fantasy Forecast: Week 9

Tom Brady

Defenses have been attacking the Pats offense differently in recent weeks, and Brady and the offense have had some difficulty adjusting. Things won’t get much easier this week against a Giants D that leads the league in sacks. Only two teams have allowed fewer passing TDs than the Giants this year, so it would be prudent to temper expectations for Brady at 250 yards passing and 1-2 TDs.

Wes Welker/Deion Branch

After lighting the world on fire in the early part of the season, Welker has cooled considerably with opposing defenses keying on shutting him down with their top cover corner. He will face another tough assignment this week against a stout Giants pass D featuring Aaron Ross and Corey Webster. I think he’ll find a way to get his hands on the ball 5-7 times for 75 yards and a possible score, but anything more than that would be gravy. The Pats typically use Branch more on intermediate routes, so it would be a surprise to see him exceed 4 catches for 50 yards as the Pats focus on getting the ball out of Brady’s hands quickly.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis/Kevin Faulk/Danny Woodhead

The heavy use of Faulk came as a bit of a surprise last week, as he led the team in touches with six carries and five catches. BJGE was limited in part because the score dictated more passing formations, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bounce back with a 14 touch, 75 yard outing this week. Faulk is worth an add in deep leagues, particularly PPR leagues. Expect somewhere around 8 touches for 40-50 yards. He should take the bulk of the carries Woodhead usually handles, making Woodhead expendable in all but the deepest leagues.

Rob Gronkowski/Aaron Hernandez

I am extremely high on Hernandez this week. After watching the offensive line (particularly the tackles) struggle to contain the pass rush, Gronkowski could be called on more as a blocker against a menacing Giants pass rush. Hernandez should see plenty of opportunities on short and intermediate routes when he is matched up on linebackers and safeties, where he presents a mismatch. Look for the two tight ends to divvy up 140 yards and 1-2 scores, with a slight edge in production going to Hernandez.

Stephen Gostkowski

Another ho-hum week. Expect 1-2 FGs and 3-4 XPs.

Patriots Defense/Special Teams

The Giants have allowed 15 sacks this year and turned the ball over just 7 times. They’ve played a few weaker opponents, but I think it’s a fool’s errand to project anything more than 2 sacks and 1-2 turnovers. Eli is not as mistake-prone as the media would like you to believe. I see the Giants putting up north of 20 points this week. You can find better options than the Pats D.