QB Tom Brady
Brady had a quiet week by his standards, but he should pile up yardage and scores against the Cardinals this week. The Arizona defense does better against top-heavy passing offenses, but the Patriots should be able to find success with their range of options in the passing attack. Expect somewhere in the range of 340 yards and 3 TDs.
WRs Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd
I still believe Welker’s role in the offense is safe. After barely seeing the field during the preseason, it makes sense for the team to ease him back into the fray. I’m not bullish on Lloyd this week since he will almost certainly draw the attention of CB Patrick Peterson, so I wouldn’t expect more than 3-4 catches for 50 yards. Welker, on the other hand, should be back to his normal self, reeling in 7 catches for 90 yards and a score.
RB Stevan Ridley
The Cardinals are pedestrian against the run, and only six teams gave up more rushing TDs than Arizona last year. Ridley had over 150 total yards and a score in Week 1, and I think he’ll rack up 100 yards and a TD this week as well. Another strong effort or two will vault him from pre-season flex option to every-week starter status in most standard leagues. Start him with confidence.
TEs Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez
I’m pretty sure the only way I would advise sitting one of these guys is if they are declared legally dead. Even then, Zombie Rob Gronkowski might do better than a few TEs around the league (I’m looking at you, Dustin Keller). Look for them to each get in the neighborhood of 80-100 yards and a score.
New England Defense/Special Teams
I envision the Pats giving up a lot of yards through the air in this game, but there are a lot of opportunities for fantasy points for the New England D as well. Only six teams allowed more sacks than Arizona’s 42 last season, and 30 of those takedowns were in Kolb’s nine games as a starter. Kolb has not done well when faced with pressure, so don’t be surprised to see the defense take advantage of a few mistakes.