Fantasy football has become a pillar in the sports gambling world, and an enjoyable way to pass the time for many fans who prefer the free leagues.
As we continue through the month of June, we're coming upon a time when drafts will begin to take place. People will wonder who they should take in the early rounds, and what gems they might find in the later rounds.
Let's take a look at the New England Patriots and see if we can get an idea who will be performers and who will be busts.
The Early Rounds
When I say early rounds. I'm talking one through three... and maybe four.
The first round of drafting is normally dedicated to running backs. In 2009, while the Patriots have a very nice looking stable of backs, they're not likely to have a game-plan which will support an every-down tailback.
Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney all have the potential to be starters in the NFL, but don't take any of them in the early rounds of a fantasy football draft. Not while they're all still with New England, anyway.
Brady is a risk. We all know his leg is still recovering, and no matter how good he makes his condition sound... we won't know until he takes the field in September. But, if he's back to his old form, this may be a risk worth taking in the second round.
Randy Moss and Wes Welker are both somewhat reliant on the production of Tom Brady, but both are poised to be the main targets regardless. They will likely produce enough yards, receptions and touchdowns to be worth late second through early fourth round picks.
The Middle Rounds
The early part of the middle rounds, maybe four through eight, probably shouldn't see too many Patriot picks. Guys like Fred Taylor, Greg Lewis, Joey Galloway and Alex Smith should probably be more like eight through twelve type selections, if that.
Don't get me wrong, they'll produce and they'll be very effective on this team. But in terms of fantasy production week in and week out... not a good move.
The only guy that might be worth a high pick in the middle rounds is Chris Baker. New England has always loved getting the tight ends involved, and Baker was a solid player when he was with the New York Jets. Ben Watson and Alex Smith will probably play less of a role in this capacity.
The Later Rounds
One is obvious. New England's defense is going to be scary this year. The only hole in this defense right now is OLB, and there's three guys (Shawn Crable, Gary Guyton and Pierre Woods) working their tails off trying to make sure that this position is no hole in the roster.
As soon as defenses begin to come off the board... snag the Patriots'.
Other than that, Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney could be major steals in the late rounds of any league, if the offensive backfield begins to deplete due to injuries. Both are capable of having really good seasons if the cards fall properly.
Brandon Tate is another intriguing prospect. He is still recovering from injury, but is touted as a wide receiver with very good hands, and may play a role later in the season.
All in all though, it may be best to steer clear from the Patriots roster in your fantasy drafts this season. We all know how well New England distributes the ball around the field, which is never good for somebody looking to draft a high-production running back or wide receiver. Tom Brady may, or may not be, a valuable choice... but is it worth the risk?
That's a decision you'll have to make, when you're on the clock.