The Patriots beat the Washington Redskins 26 – 17 in the first preseason game for each team. The Redskins were in control, taking a 17-0 lead before Stephen Gostkowski kicked a field goal with four seconds remaining in the first half. The Patriots would build on that momentum in the second half, scoring 23 additional points to notch the win. Below is a positional breakdown as to how some of the key players fared.
Tom Brady, Quarterback
Sony Michel, Running Back (injured)
Rex Burkhead, Running Back (injured)
Kenny Britt, Wide Receiver (injured)
Rob Gronkowski, Tight End
Brian Hoyer – 16/23, 144 yards passing. Hoyer played just three quarters and didn’t find his groove until late, finishing 10/11 for 79 yards in the second half. Hoyer had trouble connecting with his receivers in the opening half, as it wasn’t until he connected with Devin Lucien for a couple of deep passes at the end of the half that he looked comfortable. Hoyer threw into traffic a lot and was also a victim of some dropped passes. In the second half, Hoyer leveraged his tight ends and fullbacks, completing passes to Will Tye, Ryan Izzo, and Henry Poggi. He would finish his last possession with passes to Cordarelle Patterson and Ralph Webb, the latter a tough catch on a successful two-point conversion.
Fantasy outlook: Hoyer should only be held in start two-quarterback fantasy formats in case of injury to Tom Brady
Danny Etling – 2/5, 21 yards passing. The rookie quarterback was unimpressive in his first action. Etling sailed a few passes and had another tipped. He also botched a handoff to running back Mike Gillislee which resulted in a turnover.
Fantasy outlook: Etling should only be held in start two quarterback formats where there are very, very deep roster limits.
Jeremy Hill – 11 rushes for 51 yards, 2 catches 14 yards, 1 touchdown. With the Patriots two lead backs (Michel and Burkhead) not playing, Hill took full advantage of his opportunity to show coach Belichick what he had. Hill ran decisively and was a boost to the offense when he started getting carries in the second quarter. Hill would finish the night with a 4.6 yards per carry average and a nice touchdown conversion where he cut back and powered through a tackle.
Fantasy outlook: With Michel injured, Hill could get some carries in his absence. Hill is worth a pickup if he is on waiver wires in case Michel’s injury lingers deeper into the regular season than expected.
Mike Gillislee – 14 rushes, 43 yards. Gillislee had tough night running the football aside from a sharp looking 11 yard carry. Gillisee’s night was filled with two and three yard carries, while the offense’s inability to convert first downs by passing didn’t help him build up any momentum. He would also contribute to a late fumble when he and Etling could not complete a handoff exchange.
Gillislee seems a long shot to make the Patriots roster if he continues on this same track.
Fantasy outlook: Fantasy owners could benefit if Gillislee is traded, but at this time he seems to be falling down the Patriots depth chart.
Ralph Webb – 14 rushes, 46 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 two-point conversion reception. Despite similar rushing numbers to Gillislee, Webb appeared to outplay Gilislee throughout the evening. Webb was able to make some string runs outside the tackles and was able to convert two runs into touchdowns. He also made a great catch reaching for a low throw behind him on his two-point conversion.
Fantasy outlook: Webb is unlikely to contribute meaningful snaps this season and is most likely a candidate for the practice squad. He might be worth an add in formats with 30 plus roster spots.
James White – James White played limited snaps, his fantasy outlook was not impacted by the game.
Devin Lucien – 4 receptions for 71 yards. Lucien made big plays at the end of the first half and added two catches in the second half. Lucien was the only wide receiver who made an impression in the game, albeit against Washington’s second and third string players.
Fantasy outlook: Lucien is battling for the sixth wide receiver spot and will unlikely make significant contributions for the Patriots this season.
Cordarelle Patterson - 2 receptions for 38 yards. Patterson made a couple of tough catches in traffic. He did not perform his usual kick return duties in this game, but his role there should be set.
Fantasy outlook: Patterson is vying for the third wide receiver spot behind Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan, but his contributions will primarily be on special teams.
Braxton Berrios - 1 reception for 3 yards. It does not bode well for Berrios that Riley McCarron started in the kick and punt returner roles.
Fantasy outlook: Berrios is a long shot to make the team out of camp.
Phillip Dorsett – 0 receptions on two targets. Dorsett played limited snaps, his fantasy outlook was not impacted by the game.
Chris Hogan - 0 receptions on two targets. Hogan played limited snaps, his fantasy outlook was not impacted by the game. He is the number one receiver on the roster until Edelman returns from suspension.
Riley McCarron – 0 receptions on two targets.
Fantasy outlook: McCarron was the starting kick and punt returner; this versatility may help him snag the final wide receiver roster spot.
Julian Edelman – 0 targets. Edelman played limited snaps, his fantasy outlook was not impacted by the game.
Eric Decker - 0 targets. Decker played six snaps after being signed earlier in the week, his fantasy outlook was not impacted by the game.
Ryan Izzo – 3 receptions for 15 yards. Izzo is unlikely to make the team out of camp unless the team decides to cut Dwayne Allen
Jacob Hollister – 2 receptions for 7 yards. Hollister played limited snaps, his fantasy outlook was not impacted by the game. He is expected to be the third tight end and Rob Gronkowski’s handcuff.
Will Tye – 2 receptions for 6 yards. Tye is unlikely to make the team out of camp unless the team decides to cut Dwayne Allen.
Dwayne Allen – 0 targets. Allen played limited snaps, his fantasy outlook was not impacted by the game. He is projected to be the second tight end but could potentially be a salary cap casualty and be cut.
The defensive starters did not look good in the first half. Cornerback Stephen Gilmore was beaten on a couple of plays and safety Jordan Richards was turned around on a run by Derrius Guice. Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy seemed to have plenty of time to go through his progressions and make plays. The second half saw improvement against the second and third string Washington offense. The ends were able to get to the quarterback more and were able to come up with a valuable strip sack.
Incumbent punter Ryan Allen and kicker Stephen Gostkowski did not have any competition in this game.
The defense projects to be like recent years’ editions where they give up a lot of yards, but not necessarily a lot of touchdowns. Ryan Allen looks to be the starting punter and Gostkowski will be the Patriots kicker this season and is expected to be a top five scorer at the position.
Next Up: Philadelphia Eagles, Thursday, August 16
3 Things to Watch For
Tom Brady - After missing OTAs, Brady needs some game action to start seeing what he has in these new wide receivers.
Eric Decker – Will Decker be able to absorb enough of the playbook to contribute meaningful snaps? More importantly, does he have anything left in the tank?
Mike Gillislee – Will he fall behind both Hill and Webb on the depth chart? He needs to put some good runs on tape to qualify as a trade candidate.