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Patriots Def/Spec Team | Team

Team: New England Patriots

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Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower played 63 snaps in Week 6, up from just 29 in Week 5 as he continues to recover from a torn meniscus.
Hightower played multiple defensive roles for New England in Week 6 and was extremely productive, recording 1.5 sacks, 13 total tackles, and a safety. "He’s pretty versatile. He can handle a lot of different assignments. And not only just knowing what to do, but instinctively he handles those well. He’s got good feel," said coach Bill Belichick. Hightower's return to full health is a nice boost for the Patriots D/ST that is a top Week 7 fantasy option against Pittsburgh and backup QB Landry Jones. Oct 18 - 4:50 PM

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The New England defense has allowed eight touchdowns in ten opponent trips inside the red zone.

The Patriots are tied for 30th in red zone defense, but will face Cincinnati in Week 6, owners of the NFL's 29th-best red zone offense. Despite the red zone struggles, the Patriots D/ST will be an excellent fantasy option this week at home as large favorites over the Bengals, who have lost their last six games in Foxborough.
Source: ESPN Boston
Oct 14 - 6:41 PM

The New England defense has allowed 6.6 yards per play and a 75 percent completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks in second half play this season.

The Patriots have given up 45 points in two games, 35 of which were scored in the second half. The New England defense will need a complete effort in Week 3 to keep the team close with Houston, as the Patriots will be trotting out a rookie quarterback in his first career start. The Patriots D/ST will be a mid-tier fantasy option on Thursday night when they host the Texans.
Sep 22 - 4:08 PM

New England will face Miami in Week 17, who has managed just 16.5 points per game over the last six weeks.

Miami went 1-5 in that six-game stretch and turned the ball over at least once in each contest. New England will look to continue this trend, while attempting to repeat their Week 8 performance when the Patriots defense held Miami to just seven points and 270 total yards of offense. The Patriots D/ST is a top fantasy option on the road in Week 17.
Thu, Dec 31, 2015 11:09:00 PM

New England CB Malcolm Butler drew praise from Jets coach Todd Bowles, who said Butler "is probably one of the best in the league."

"He’s not just a man corner, he’s a zone corner too. He’s feisty. He has very good technique, which is rare," Bowles added. Butler is a key member of the New England secondary that has allowed just 174.8 passing yards per game over the last four weeks. Week 16 brings a trip to New York to face the Jets, who will test the Patriots with receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. The Patriots D/ST will be a back-end top-12 fantasy option on the road this week.
Fri, Dec 25, 2015 01:49:00 AM

The New England defense is second among NFL teams in sacks, with 42 on the season.

This bodes well for the Patriots D/ST this week, as the Tennessee Titans have allowed the second-most sacks in the NFL in 2015. Titans QB Marcus Mariota has thrown four interceptions and been sacked 11 times in the last three weeks, making the Patriots D/ST a fine Week 15 fantasy option playing at home as a large favorite.
Fri, Dec 18, 2015 03:50:00 AM

The New England defense has allowed 199.7 passing yards per game over the last three weeks.

The competition hasn't been all-world caliber in Tyrod Taylor, Brock Osweiler, and Sam Bradford, but the Patriots have handled opposing passers well in recent weeks. Week 14 brings a matchup with Houston's Brian Hoyer, who has thrown only six interceptions in 2015 and comes equipped with a game-breaking wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. The Patriots D/ST is a back-end top-12 fantasy option this week on the road at Houston.
Sat, Dec 12, 2015 04:04:00 AM

New England CB Malcolm Butler's strong play earned praise from Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly this week.

"I think if you watch Malcolm Butler play, he started last year as an undrafted free agent, and obviously he had the play in the Super Bowl in terms of what he has done, but he has taken great strides as a corner," said Kelly. Butler is a part of the Patriots defense that has allowed just 17.2 points per game over the last five weeks, the fifth-best mark in the league. The Patriots D/ST will be a top-10 fantasy option this week against Philadelphia and QB Sam Bradford, who has thrown 10 interceptions in nine games this season.
Thu, Dec 3, 2015 03:51:00 AM

The New England defense will face Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy in Week 11, who has tallied over 100 total yards in three-straight games.

McCoy racked up 116 total yards against the Patriots in Week 2 and is the focal point of the Buffalo offense that is second among NFL teams in rushing. "He might be the best back in the NFL in open space. When you’re coming to him, you’ve really got to read him, read his body language. He’s a hard person to get down on the ground, so it will be a big challenge," said New England LB Jonathan Freeny. The Patriots D/ST will be a top-10 fantasy option at home in Week 11.
Sun, Nov 22, 2015 02:38:00 AM

The New England Patriots are focused on stopping New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham in Week 10.

"I think Beckham has all those things, but I also think he is just a good football player," said New England S McCourty. "Throw the ball up to him when he’s covered and he makes the catch." The Patriots have a history of attempting to take away the opposing team's top offensive weapon, which would put Beckham in New England's plans for Week 10. Despite the road matchup, the Patriots D/ST will be a back-end top-12 option when they take on the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Fri, Nov 13, 2015 02:52:00 AM

The Boston Globe noted the safety play of the New England Patriots as a key to their Week 9 matchup with Washington.

The Globe highlighted the solid play of the New England safety group and said, "Pat Chung has been more of a coverage linebacker, racking up tackles, and Duron Harmon has been a centerfielder in coverage. Devin McCourty does it all." The Patriots have allowed just 74.6 rushing yards per game over the last three weeks, with contributions from the back end of the New England defense. The Patriots D/ST will be a top-10 fantasy option against Washington in Week 9.
Sat, Nov 7, 2015 04:16:00 AM

New England LB Dont'a Hightower recorded 10 tackles in Week 7 after returning from a rib injury.

Hightower played briefly in Week 5 and missed Week 6 before returning last Sunday to face the Jets, and made a huge impact for the New England defense. "His role in run defense was a big reason that the Patriots were able to hold the Jets to just 89 rushing yards on 29 carries (3.1 yards per carry)," said the Boston Globe. The Patriots D/ST and Hightower will host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday this week where they will be a more than a touchdown favorite and a solid fantasy option at home.
Thu, Oct 29, 2015 01:25:00 AM

The New England run defense will face a stiff test in Week 7 as they host the New York Jets, who lead the NFL with 146.0 rushing yards per game.

The Patriots haven't been successful in corralling opposing rushers this season and are allowing 4.9 yards per rushing attempt through five games, the third-worst mark among NFL defenses. New York's Chris Ivory is the NFL's leading rusher in terms of yards per game, racking up an average of 115.0 yards each week. The potential for the New England offense to force the Jets to abandon the run early keeps the Patriots D/ST a borderline startable group this week despite the threat from Ivory and the Jets running game.
Thu, Oct 22, 2015 04:41:00 AM

The New England Patriots are allowing 5.86 yards per carry on first down this season.

This nugget is courtesy of the Boston Herald and is one of the drivers of New England's struggles against the run this season. The Patriots are last in the NFL in yards per carry by opposing rushers at 4.9 yards per attempt, and understand the significance of this issue as they prepare to face Dallas this week. "Dallas does a great job in the run game. This is a huge challenge for us this week to be able to stop their run game," DC Matt Patricia said. Despite the issues in run defense, the Patriots D/ST will be a top-five fantasy play this week while facing Dallas quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Thu, Oct 8, 2015 06:40:00 PM

The New England Patriots head into their Week 4 bye tied for the NFL lead in sacks with 13.

An eight sack performance in Week 2 at Buffalo boosted New England's sack total, but they have registered multiple sacks in their other two games as well. The Patriots defense is also tied for third in the NFL with five interceptions through three games. A Week 5 trip to Dallas to face Brandon Weeden and the Cowboys is up for New England after the bye, where the Patriots D/ST will look to continue their opportunistic ways.
Fri, Oct 2, 2015 11:03:00 PM

Depth Charts

Skill Players
QB1Tom Brady
2Jimmy Garoppolo
3Jacoby Brissett
RB1LeGarrette Blount
2James White
3Brandon Bolden
4D.J. Foster
5Dion Lewis
GLB1LeGarrette Blount
2James White
3RB1James White
2Brandon Bolden
WR11Julian Edelman
2Danny Amendola
3Matthew Slater
WR21Chris Hogan
2Malcolm Mitchell
WR31Danny Amendola
TE1Rob Gronkowski
2Martellus Bennett
LT1Nate Solder
2LaAdrian Waddle
LG1Joe Thuney
2Ted Karras
C1David Andrews
RG1Shaq Mason
2Tre' Jackson
RT1Marcus Cannon
2Cameron Fleming
K1Stephen Gostkowski