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Okay, full disclosure I’m a Patriots fan and have been for a long time. The first professional sports team I can remember caring about was the Pats. My father had molded me into a football fan from an early age. The problem was the Patriots were terrible and a lot of their games would be blacked out. Even though I grew up 25 miles from Foxborough, I rarely saw a televised home game. Instead I filled my Sundays watching the 49ers and Joe Montana or the Giants in the Phil Simms and  Bill Parcells days. We’d typically get away Patriots games and almost always they’d get smoked. It got so bad there was talk of the franchise moving. A preposterous thought nowadays. At one point it seemed as though they were headed to St. Louis. It sucked being a Pats fan. Then Bob Kraft swooped in bought the team, hired Bill Parcells, drafted Drew Bledsoe with the top overall pick, and started rocking the hell out of two toned collected shirts. So what I’m getting at is, I’m sort of bias.

The funny thing is, I planned on writing this when Tim Wright was in Tampa. I loved the converted wide receiver’s ability to get open and make catches. His physical attributes of NFL size and speed. I even thought he would be the number 2 or 3 option behind fellow sycamores Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. When he was acquired by the Patriots that all changed. Now I’m having daydreams of Wright taking over the “Move” role formally filled by Aaron Hernandez, catching passes in the flank from Tom Brady, and filling a void dearly missed last season. I just hope he’s not a psycho gangsta who kills for fun. My expectations are pretty low after the last guy.

The best part of this move is the natural fit for Wright. As I mentioned he’s a converted receiver and let’s just say blocking is not his strong suit. That’s fine in the Pats system he’ll be asked to do very little for a sustained period of time. The Patriots typically run three step drops and any 5’s they run are typically in the shotgun. So he won’t have to hold his blocking assignments for long. He produced last year in Tampa Bay in a much worse situation. As long as he can come in and pickup the infamously difficult playbook, he’ll be putting up relevant fantasy numbers by week 3. He had a line of 54/571/5 last year and I don’t see any reason why he can’t exceed those numbers in a far superior offense.The Pats are great at providing fantasy relevance to 3-5 pass catchers a season in their good years. I don’t see why Wright couldn’t slide into his place as the 4th option in the pecking order behind Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and Shane Vereen.

Let’s not over look the significant injury history of the name above him on the depth chart. In the last two seasons Gronk has missed 14 games. He’s had three injuries dating back to the 2011 playoffs and his position and style of play make him vulnerable to more. Another bad Gronk injury and Wright is one of Brady’s top two options. Simple as that. Seems like a stretch? Maybe, but he’s got the ability and if the history of the Pats and Gronk tell us anything it’s that all of this is realistic. His value has gotten a slight bump since his move to New England but he was going undrafted or in the last couple of rounds before the trade. Now he’s going as early as the 12th but still late enough to be a TE2 value. On leagues with 6 or more bench spots I’ve been stashing Wright all over.

Many of the concerns over Wright’s lofty expectations since the move are silly. I heard one pundit go as far as to say the Pats “eliminated” the Aaron Hernandez role in the offense last season. I mean of course they eliminated it, who on the roster could have filled the role? Michael Hoomanawanui? Was he going to be the “Flex” end? I heard someone else say that he’s not as talented as Hernandez. I beg to differ Wright and Hernandez’s rookie years looked similar statistically, they both had similar numbers at the combine, and both came from college football programs with Belichick connections. This is well illustrated by the graphic below.

WrightvsHernandez

I think Belichick knows exactly what this kid can do and he traded the Best Offensive Lineman he ever coached to do it. It’s not everyday a talented 24 year old player in a great situation is available in the last few rounds of your draft. I say hop on Wright’s price and watch as the rest of your league talks about you’re genius. 

  1. Clint says:
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    Couldn’t agree more with this one. Since the trade most of the fantasy experts have been downplaying this move but when you consider the fact Wright had value LAST YEAR in spurts playing with awful QB partners like Mike Glennon, it has to up his value more going into a spot on a team that loves TE’s and its current stud is a mere 9 months removed from ACL surgery (how’d that go for RG3 last year again?). It may take time for him to learn the offense but the idea Wright’s just another Zach Sudfeld is terribly mistaken.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Clint: Yeah Sudfeld and Wright are polar opposites….literally. What on earth is even comparable. I look at it this way. They traded a real asset in Mankins for Wright. This was a calculated move by Bill, he doesn’t miss on many of these. I 100% believe he saw an opportunity to acquire a real replacement for Hernandez and took it.

  2. Steve says:
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    Would u trade decker or Keenan Allen plus Cameron
    For Julius Thomas ??
    My wr are d Thomas, Jeffrey,decker, Allen , j hunter
    10 team standard
    Thx!

    • allen says:
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      @Steve: decker and cameron no brainer

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @allen: Agreed Decker and Cameron. Huge upgrade! Who ever makes this trade should be on your payroll when you win the league. Buy the man a steak.

  3. Steve says:
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    Would u do Allen and Cameron for j Thomas if he says no to decker ??

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Steve: With your corp of receivers…yes. Thomas is an upgrade over Cameron. I am not a Cameron guy, personally.

  4. Steve Stevenson says:
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    We’re on the same page re: Wright. In 12-tm 0.5 PPR with a W/R/T Flex and 6 bench spots, what level TE are you looking to pair with him? The mid-round hype range of Rudolph/Pitta/Ertz, or are you comfortable waiting till the H. Miller/Clay/Black Unicorn range? At the 12 pick, I’m assuming none of the top 3 will be in play for me (Graham won’t fall, and Thomas/Gronk will be gone before my 3rd pick), as much as I’d love to snag one and then trade him when Wright starts coming on.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Steve Stevenson: I’d prefer to pair him with Rudolph/Pitta/Ertz, I don’t like the other group. Maybe Clay but I’d start Wright over Miller or Bennett.

  5. Slippy says:
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    Week 1 are you starting wright over laderius or clay? I’m thinking about starting clay and benching wright until we see his usage. But I’d eventually like to only roster 1 TE..

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Slippy: You know my gut tells me Ladarius. Clay is probably your safest pick if you think he’ll get open against the Patriots new look secondary (HOMER!). In his first game with the team Wright did see 43 snaps. Granted it’s with a starting lineup of all backups and bubble guys. As I alluded to I think by week 3 he’ll be owned everywhere.

  6. Michael says:
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    Who is a better WR to own AZ John Brown, or OAK Rod Streater?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Michael: Hmmmm Brown is intriguing but at this point I think it’s still Streater. With that said it depends upon your situation. If you’re talking a 5th receiver and you want to stash Brown do it. I always like a guy like him who earns his place.

  7. Qbert says:
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    Yo yo.

    Would you expect Ladarius green to have a better season than Timmy wright?i currently have green but am thinking of adding either fleener or wright to join him. I missed the run of tight ends in my draft and ended up picking green late.

    Thanks Ralph!

  8. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    I say grab Wright. I agree with the rest of the guys here (at least it seems) about Fleener. I just don’t think he has it.

    As for Green, some think he’s going to be a monster. It’s the “going to be” part that scares me. He’s safe….play him week 1 and see what happens with Wright. I would not be shocked if he had a good game say 5/68/1. He’s a big target for Brady and he’s versatile. He has the ability to get up and make grabs, but he can also play in the slot. When Bill trades for an offensive player they typically produce right away. Dillion, Moss, and Welker (sort of) all examples of this.

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