The New England Patriots are coming off a semi-successful season in 2021 with rookie quarterback Mac Jones. They finished 10-7 but fell to the Bills in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. New England players will head into camp battling for that number one spot at running back, wide receiver, and tight end.
In this series, we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project — correctly — which players will win training camp battles.
Here’s a look at our picks to win the training camp battles for the New England, Patriots ahead of your 2022 fantasy football drafts.
Damien Harris vs. Rhamondre Stevenson vs. James White
It’s going to be a crowded backfield in New England in 2022. Damien Harris was the main back last season but did split carries with rookie Rhamondre Stevenson. Harris finished the season with 929 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, only Jonathon Taylor scored more rushing touchdowns last year. Stevenson had a nice showing in his rookie season with 606 rushing yards and 123 receiving yards.
Our pick to win: Damien Harris
This backfield will continue to be split in the 2022 season, there might not be a clear RB1 in New England and that’s the risk of drafting any of these guys. I lean toward Harris due to his touchdown production but would roll the dice on either back later in your drafts.
DeVante Parker vs. Jakobi Meyers vs. Kendrick Bourne
New England needs some more action from their receiving corp in the 2022 season. Jakobi Meyers was Mac Jones' favorite receiving target last season with 125 targets, next closest was Hunter Henry with 75. The biggest problem with Meyers is his lack of touchdown production, with only two career touchdowns in his first three seasons, both came last year. DeVante Parker’s best season came in 2019 when he had 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. Parker’s injury history is a bit of a concern as he heads to camp with his new squad. Kendrick Bourne has a pretty good year in 2021 in his first season with the Patriots. 800 yards and five touchdowns on 70 targets. Bourne shouldn’t be overlooked in this offense.
Our pick to win: DaVante Parker
If Parker can stay healthy, he’ll be this offense WR1. It could give Mac Jones and the Patriots a much-needed, explosive playmaker down the field. Parker and Meyers will split the targets, along with the tight end group, but he will be a good addition to this offense.
Hunter Henry vs. Jonnu Smith
For the second year in a row, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith will be battling for the TE1 role in this New England offense. Aside from a shoulder injury and 294 yards, Smith had a very quiet first season with the Patriots. Henry was clearly the more dominant TE with over 600 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
Our pick to win: Hunter Henry
I would expect Smith to have an improved season heading into 2022 but hard to see him surpassing Henry as TE1. Henry was Mac Jones's second favorite target last season and his number one target in the red zone. Hopefully, Henry can do more with this offensive squad to get down to the red zone and put up bigger and more consistent numbers in fantasy.