Tom Brady went 26 of 38 for 290 and 2 scores last time he faced the Jags. I think he betters that performance this time. This game is in Jacksonville, which could complicate matters, but after the late comeback in the AFC Championship I think the Jags come out overeager to prove themselves and get burned. Besides, after the Jeremy Hill injury the Pats will be thin at running back--Brady will have plenty of opportunities to connect through the air. Blake Bortles, on the other hand, is not a starter this week in any format. The Patriots are blitzing heavily, and Bortles hasn't demonstrated an ability to effectively counter pressure with a quick release. If Leonard Fournette is severely limited or doesn't play, it could get ugly.
Leonard Fournette is currently questionable with a hamstring injury; all signs point to him being a game-time decision to play. If he's out, the Jags won't have much of a ground game behind him. Even if he's in, expect the Patriots to key the box and focus on stopping him. He'll still get his yards if he's in, but keeping Fournette in your lineup is a definite risk until he's confirmed as playing. Jeremy Hill's knee injury complicates the Pats' RB depth chart, though James White is still the lead dog and the only consistently viable option. Keep an eye out for Sony Michel--if he gets on the field this week, he might be a savvy waiver-wire pickup next Tuesday.
Phillip Dorsett was the breakout star last week, catching 77 yards and a touchdown in 57 snaps. He looks like a completely different receiver from last year, and it looks like the Pats plan to increase his route tree the more comfortable he gets. The increased trust from Tom Brady (and increased opportunities he'll see playing opposite Gronk and Chris Hogan) make him a cool flex option this week. Hogan could have a nice day, but I would be wary about starting him after a 1-catch game in Week 1. For a #1 wideout, he functioned a lot more as a decoy while Gronk, Dorsett, and others got open. Now, he's clearly got a rapport with Brady, so anything can happen. But unless I was playing boom-or-bust, I think it's safer to wait and see before starting him. Blake Bortles, meanwhile, threw passes to six different Jaguars last week--but only three receivers. Dede Westbrook paced the club with five catches, but could only turn them into 51 yards (Keelan Cole was the leading yards receiver, with 54). Steer clear of that passing attack.
Gronk Gronk Gronk Gronk Gronk. What else can I say? The Pats may not respond to trash talk verbally, but you can bet they'll take extra pains to target Gronk when Jalen Ramsey is covering him. Expect a big day. On the opposite sideline, Austin Serferian-Jenkins is not a starting option unless every other Jacksonville skill player collapsed with MRSA an hour before the game.
The Pats allowed a late-game TD to crater their defensive score last week, but this Jags offense doesn't scare anyone, much less Bill Belichick. There will be plenty of turnover opportunities and not much risk of a defensive implosion. Also, Stephen Gostkowski should be good for his usual 5-8 points. The Jags D could be an interesting play if you were a Patriots hater, but otherwise they're a risky play. Most teams going against Tom Brady and the Pats are. Josh Lambo is a good sleeper, especially considering the Jags might have to kick to put points on the board.
That's it for this fantasy breakdown. Enjoy the 2018 kickoff, and Go Pats!