The Pats will be without Rob Gronkowski once again in Tennessee this week--but after controlling the Packers without their star tight end, they should hopefully be able to handle the Titans the same way.
Tom Brady got the job done, throwing for 294 yards and a 55-yard score to Josh Gordon, but he's still a lower-tier starting fantasy option. He made the right reads, yet even that toss to Gordon looked underthrown--I don't think it's time to really start worrying about Brady's arm strength, but with the team running more and working the quick pass game, I have a hard time seeing Brady crack the top five fantasy quarterbacks in any week. He's a low-tier starter. A rushing touchdown buoyed Marcus Mariota's statline last week, yet he also lost two fumbles and passed for only 240 yards. After the Patriots did a good job getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers, I don't think Mariota will experience a lot of success this week.
Sony Michel is currently questionable, but even if he doesn't play the Patriots backfield is getting a bit more crowded. Cordarelle Patterson has gotten 21 carries in the past two weeks, and just received RB eligibility in a lot of leagues. James White keeps putting up consistent must-start performances; leave him in your lineup no matter who else is active. Lost in the press about Patterson, however, is that half of his carries, 51 of his 61 yards, and his touchdown last week all came on one drive. I see New England using him more as a change of pace back for one or two drives a game rather than a consistent fantasy performer. With Michel such a close call leading up to gametime, I'd keep him on the bench this week just to be safe. Even if he does play, I think the Pats will use him sporadically to keep him fresh and bring him back at full strength after the bye week. With all that being said, the Titans have been one of the best defenses in the NFL at stopping opposing running backs this year--they're only allowing roughly 13 fantasy points per game to the position. Realistically speaking, I don't see any Pats back running them over. For the Titans, Dion Lewis is the back to own. Derrick Henry may have cultured a touchdown last week, but Lewis got 19 carries and turned four catches into 60 more yards. The Pats should hopefully know how to bottle him up, but Lewis is so shifty I could see him having a big day this week.
Josh Gordon's performance last week cements him as a startable option for the rest of the season. He has the playing time, grasp of the offense, and physical ability necessary to star. If you've got him, I like this matchup against a suspect Titans secondary. Julian Edelman holds much more value in PPR leagues, but his high target share gives him a good floor this week. I like him as a strong flex/low WR in standard leagues, and a WR2 in PPR. The Titans don't feature much of their receivers, but Corey Davis is the best of the bad bunch. After catching under 50% of his targets the past three weeks, he's not someone to roll with this week.
Gronk is out this week. Hopefully this means he should be fully healthy after the Pats' bye week, but given his extensive injury history this is a troubling sign. Meanwhile, I don't foresee Dwayne Allen or Jacob Hollister becoming a worthwhile fantasy handcuff--Josh McDaniels will just lean more on the wideouts and run game rather than force-feed backups. Luke Stocker, Jonnu Smith, and the like aren't involved enough in the passing game to even project for Tennessee.
D/STs and Kickers
The Pats have been doing a great job getting pressure recently--Marcus Mariota is mobile, but even if the Pats can't convert with sacks, I think they'll generate turnovers. They're a good option this week. Across the field, I just think the Titans don't have enough playmakers in the secondary (Malcolm Butler included) to keep up with the Pats. Starting them is a bad decision. Stephen Gostkowski is a starter, and Ryan Succop is an alright option too (despite going 0-for-1 on field goals last week).
That's it for this fantasy breakdown. Enjoy your Sunday, and Go Pats!