The Patriots navigated a quarterback carousel last season, toggling between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe, but neither could solidify their status as the franchise's future. Consequently, the Patriots stumbled to a 4-13 record, marking the team's worst performance since 1992. The cupboard was bare in terms of talent last season, but through free agency and the draft, they acquired pieces that should help them improve next season.  

Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Patriots' entire team outlook including changes to the top of the depth chart that matter for Fantasy, a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for all of the notable Patriots players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.

Patriots 2024 lineup changes

1/1/2024Week 1 2024 (proj)
QBBailey ZappeDrake Maye
RBEzekiel ElliottRhamondre Stevenson
WRDeMario DouglasDeMario Douglas
WRTyquan ThorntonJa'Lynn Polk
WRDeVante ParkerKendrick Bourne
TEHunter HenryHunter Henry

Burning question: How good can Drake Maye be?

The Patriots invested heavily in Maye, selecting the quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft and surrounding him with talented perimeter players to maximize his chances of success once he assumes the starting role. In addition to Maye, they added wide receivers Ja'Lynn Polk and Javon Baker in Rounds 2 and 4 respectively, along with tight end Jaheim Bell in Round 7. Maye's strengths lie in his arm strength and deep passing prowess, qualities that complement the skill set of the acquired targets. While Jacoby Brissett is likely to start initially, Maye's draft position and raw talent suggest he won't remain on the sidelines for long. If the Patriots' offensive line can provide adequate protection, Maye has the potential to thrive as the team's QB1 this season.  

2024 NFL Draft class

13Drake MayeQBNorth Carolina
237Ja'Lynn PolkWRWashington
368Caedan WallaceOLPenn St.
4103Layden RobinsonOLTexas A&M
4110Javon BakerWRCentral Florida
6180Marcellas DialDBSouth Carolina
6193Joe MiltonQBTennessee
7231Jaheim BellTEFlorida St.

Patriots 2024 schedule

1Sep 8, 2024@Cincinnati1:00 pmCBSPaycor Stadium
2Sep 15, 2024vsSeattle1:00 pmFOXGillette Stadium
3Sep 19, 2024@N.Y. Jets8:15 pmAMZNMetLife Stadium
4Sep 29, 2024@San Francisco4:05 pmFOXLevi's Stadium
5Oct 6, 2024vsMiami1:00 pmFOXGillette Stadium
6Oct 13, 2024vsHouston1:00 pmCBSGillette Stadium
7Oct 20, 2024@Jacksonville9:30 amNFLNWembley Stadium
8Oct 27, 2024vsN.Y. Jets1:00 pmCBSGillette Stadium
9Nov 3, 2024@Tennessee1:00 pmFOXNissan Stadium
10Nov 10, 2024@Chicago1:00 pmFOXSoldier Field
11Nov 17, 2024vsL.A. Rams1:00 pmFOXGillette Stadium
12Nov 24, 2024@Miami1:00 pmCBSHard Rock Stadium
13Dec 1, 2024vsIndianapolis1:00 pmCBSGillette Stadium
15Dec 15, 2024@Arizona4:25 pmCBSState Farm Stadium
16Dec 22, 2024@Buffalo1:00 pmCBSHighmark Stadium
17Dec 29, 2024vsL.A. ChargersTBAGillette Stadium
18Jan 5, 2025vsBuffaloTBAGillette Stadium

Patriots 2024 player outlooks

By Heath Cummings and CBS Fantasy staff

QB Drake Maye

Maye is a very intriguing quarterback prospect who landed in a very difficult situation. We aren't drafting him in most one-quarterback redraft leagues and we don't want to count on him as a starter in leagues where you start two quarterbacks. But that's mostly about the fact that his most experienced wide receivers are Kendrick Bourne and JuJu Smith-Schuster. There is plenty of reason for hope as Maye possesses the upside to throw for 4,000 yards and run for 500 yards at some point in his NFL career, and the team drafted two wide receivers alongside him so the receiving corps could be better than we are expecting. We expect this quarterback and this offense to be better in the future than they are in 2024. It's possible the Patriots agree and start Jacoby Brissett Week 1. In Dynasty leagues, Maye could be drafted as early as the fifth pick overall in Superflex leagues, though we'd prefer J.J. McCarthy to him at this time.

QB Jacoby Brissett

Brissett joined the New England Patriots this offseason and he'll provide veteran leadership for Drake Maye. We are currently projecting Maye to start more games in 2024 than Brissett but there is a very real chance Brissett starts Week 1. If he does, he'll only be draftable in Superflex leagues and we won't view him as a great starter even in that format. In 11 starts in 2022, he averaged just 17.5 Fantasy points per game and he had a true No. 1 receiver on that roster in Amari Cooper, something the Patriots look like they're without.  

QB Joe Milton

Milton is an enormous man with a cannon for an arm and above-average speed for his size and position. He's also a 24-year-old rookie who was drafted in the sixth round to a team that also took Drake Maye in Round 1. Because of that last sentence, Milton should only be rostered in the deepest of Dynasty leagues where you can start two quarterbacks. Even in those leagues, it's quite possible you will be dropping Milton before the seasons ends unless you can stash him on a taxi squad. Still, the upside of that size and those traits is hard to completely ignore.

RB Rhamondre Stevenson

We're drafting Stevenson as a low-end No. 2 running back as early as Round 7 in PPR leagues. Stevenson struggled last year to a career-low 4.4 yards per touch and has been abysmal on a per-target basis the last two seasons, averaging fewer than five yards per target. The biggest question is whether the Patriots will keep throwing him the ball four-plus times per game or if Antonio Gibson will take that role. There's also a question whether Alex Van Pelt's offense will have as many designed running back targets, as he comes from an offense that funnels more targets to tight ends. If Stevenson loses passing downs to Gibson, he'll have a tough time justifying his ADP unless he tops his career-highs of 210 rush attempts and five rushing touchdowns.

RB Antonio Gibson

Gibson joined the Patriots in the offseason and it remains a bit of a mystery how the work will be divided between him and Rhamondre Stevenson. If the Patriots just divide the work based on past efficiency, Stevenson would be the early-downs back and Gibson would be the primary pass catcher. For his career, Gibson has averaged a full yard better per target than Stevenson, while Stevenson has been a half yard better per carry. The problem for both is that this is not projected to be a good offense and so it's hard to get too excited about anyone in a committee. With that in mind, we would prefer to wait until the double-digit rounds to draft Gibson in PPR. He'll need an injury to make you regret passing him up.

WR Ja'Lynn Polk

Polk will be one of several wide receivers vying for targets in a revamped Patriots passing attack this season. The 22-year-old is excellent at the catch point and possesses acceptable, if not blazing, speed. His route running still needs some work as does his work after the catch. In redraft, concerns about the offense and Polk's role in it mean we're not drafting him until Round 11 at the earliest. The upside at that cost comes if Polk wins the WR1 job in camp and Drake Maye hits the ground running. But it's more likely that Polk ends up on the waiver wire early in the year before making an impact in the second half. We're more intrigued In Dynasty, where he's worthy of consideration in Round 2 or 3 of rookie drafts.

WR Kendrick Bourne

Bourne should have every opportunity to be the Patriots' No. 1 wide receiver in 2024, we're just not sure how valuable that role will be. Bourne topped 12 PPR Fantasy points in four of his seven healthy games in 2023. He averaged 7.3 targets per game over that stretch, which should be more valuable this year if the offense and quarterback play are improved. Still, Bourne will turn 29 in August and his career-high 800 receiving yards came back in 2021. The Patriots also have a host of young wide receivers coming after his targets. For those reasons, we're not drafting Bourne until at least Round 12 in a full PPR league.  

WR Demario Douglas

Douglas showed some really good things in the second half last year and just got a quarterback upgrade in Drake Maye. That's the good news. The bad news is the Patriots brought back Kendrick Bourne and drafted Ja'Lynn Polk and Javon Baker, so Douglas will be in a dogfight to earn targets. After Bourne got hurt last year, Douglas took over as the team's primary option and saw 6.9 targets per game in his final nine games. If he can reclaim that role, the production should be better because of the better quarterback play, and he could be a WR3 for Fantasy purposes. Because of the uncertainty, we're not drafting Douglas before Round 14 in redraft. Douglas has slightly more appeal in Dynasty leagues, but even that value could evaporate if Polk and Baker beat him out at camp.

WR Javon Baker

Baker was drafted two rounds after fellow rookie Ja'Lynn Polk and will battle Kendrick Bourne, Demario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Tyquan Thornton for playing time. We're fine with leaving Baker on the waiver wire early in the year in most redraft leagues because of the crowded receiving room and our general lack of excitement about the Patriots offense. But that doesn't mean Baker, who accounted for 33.8% of UCF's receiving yards in 2023, has no upside. Like Polk, Baker has good ball skills but he has more struggles with consistency in that regard. We're looking for Baker starting in Round 3 of most Dynasty rookie drafts and expect it will take him some time to take playing time away from the veterans in New England. Still, with a wide-open receiving corps like this one it's not unimaginable that Baker eventually wins out over everyone.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

It's fair to wonder just how much longer Smith-Schuster will play in the NFL. He battled through injuries to play 11 games last season but only topped 51 receiving yards in one of those games and only had two games with more than six targets. His lone season in Kansas City is the only time he's topped 900 yards receiving since 2018. Still, he has a $10 million cap number this season and the Patriots save less than a million dollars by cutting him, so they are probably going to try to make it work. We aren't drafting Smith-Schuster this season but we are very concerned that his presence could cut into opportunities for Demario Douglas, Ja'Lynn Polk and Javon Baker. If Smith-Schuster is healthy in the preseason, he'll likely be starting Week 1 for the Patriots, but he'll need to produce before we roster him again.

WR K.J. Osborn

Osborn signed with the Patriots this offseason, and he's expected to compete for a prominent role in a crowded receiving corps. Osborn is not worth drafting in the majority of leagues, but he could emerge as a waiver-wire option during the season. Osborn will compete for targets with Demario Douglas, Tyquan Thornton, Kendrick Bourne, JuJu Smith-Schuster and rookies Ja'Lynn Polk and Javon Baker, assuming everyone makes the final roster. For Osborn, he was a productive receiver at times in Minnesota for the past three seasons, but he never posted consistent production, averaging 9.3 PPR points per game or less in every year. We'll see if Drake Maye or Jacoby Brissett develop a rapport with Osborn, and if he starts earning consistent targets then add him off waivers during the year.  

TE Hunter Henry

We aren't drafting Henry in most Fantasy leagues because the 29-year-old hasn't averaged even 40 yards per game since he got to New England and his only real Fantasy relevance in that time has been as a touchdown-dependent streamer. But we will be watching his usage early in the year because new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt has been in Cleveland the last four seasons, helping to run one of the more tight end-centric offenses in the league. Last year the Browns threw 166 passes to tight ends, the seventh-highest mark in the league. If Van Pelt brings that to New England, Henry could be a top waiver wire add early in the season. Otherwise, well throw darts streaming Henry during bye weeks and hoping we choose the week he scores a touchdown.  

TE Jaheim Bell

Bell will backup Hunter Henry as a rookie and isn't on our redraft radar barring an injury. He is more interesting in Dynasty leagues, where he can be considered as early as Round 4, or Round 3 in tight end premium leagues. Bell's best season in college came as a 20-year-old at South Carolina when he tied for the team lead with five touchdowns and finished second on the team with 497 receiving yards. For reference, Xavier Legette played 11 games that season and caught eight passes for 63 yards. Bell has the requisite athleticism and upside to eventually turn into a Fantasy starter, but you may have to wait a while.

K Chad Ryland

Ryland had a very poor rookie year, making just 64% of his field goal attempts. He'll compete to get a second chance in 2024, but his lack of accuracy and the Patriots' lack of offensive firepower means that we're leaving him on the waiver wire on Draft Day.

K Joey Slye

Slye joined the New England Patriots in the offseason and will compete with Chad Ryland for the starting kicking job. We don't view as a Fantasy starter and don't advise drafting him. Ryland has struggled with inconsistency the past two seasons, missing 10 fields goals and five extra points since the start of the 2022 campaign. In New England, he's on an offense that we expect to be amongst the league's worst, in a division where everyone plays outdoors and three of the four teams play in unfavorable conditions yearly in December.  

Patriots DST

One of Jerod Mayo's first tasks will be restoring the Patriots' defensive dominance. While we won't bet against him doing that, we aren't drafting a Patriots defense that faces Joe Burrow in Cincinnati in Week 1.