Chris Hogan Fantasy 2016
For years the footballers of Foxboro haven’t exactly been deprived of attention. When considering all of the variables it shouldn’t come as a shock to people. They have enough Super Bowl trophies to make a Bostonian blush, a Madden cover boy who serves as the resident party boy, a coach who can produce an instant soundbite with a mutter, and lastly a future hall of fame quarterback who is planning his redemption after suspension.
Yes, the Patriots provide quite the gossip column, and most folks would tell you that sometimes that could be to the detriment of a team preparing for an NFL season. All of those plot points and personalities do allow for some potential impact players to slip through the cracks. Unless of course, there is an injury. Just the other day the Patriots took Julian Edelman off the PUP list but in less than 72 hours he was walking off the field with an apparent foot injury. This now brings a player like Chris Hogan from slipping through the proverbial cracks to being targeted by fantasy owners on draft day. The intent of this piece is to shine the light on Chris Hogan and make a case for you to keep a very close eye on him in case of nagging injuries on the Patriots receivers depth or in September on the wire.
If you do your homework on Chris Hogan, you’ll see that the New Jersey native did not have your prototypical road to the NFL. Nevertheless, he is an NFL player and had a relatively decent year in Buffalo last season finishing up with 36 receptions, 450 yards, and two touchdowns. Those numbers were deemed productive enough for the Patriots as they offered him a contract this past offseason. The Patriots have an uncanny ability for getting the most out players who come over from their AFC East counterparts. These players tend to come out looking like refurbished products and just continue to grind the gears of their division rivals.
Remember when Danny Woodhead signed with the Patriots after the Jets released him? He went from 151 total yards and no touchdowns in 10 games as a Jet (2009) to 926 total yards and six touchdowns in 14 games as a Patriot (2010). Call it offensive scheme or a coach just getting the most out of a player, but those are some eyebrow-raising numbers when you imagine that Danny Woodhead went un-drafted in just about all fantasy leagues just before he had signed with the Pats.[the_ad id=”58837″]Another aspect to keep in mind when evaluating Chris Hogan’s fantasy potential is opportunity. The Buffalo Bills ranked 31st in the league in pass attempts during the 2015 campaign while the New England Patriots ended up being ranked 5th in the same category. Last season Hogan was the fourth most targeted pass catcher in Buffalo with 59. The fourth most targeted pass catcher in New England last season was Brandon LaFell with 74. That is almost 20 extra targets. LaFell has since taken his talents to Cincinnati so those targets will need to head in someone else’s direction. Just a little bit of food for thought back in 2014 LaFell was one of three pass catchers for the Patriots who had more than over a hundred targets.
This Patriots offense with Tom Brady under center provides an opportunity for some to get targets in bunches. The two receivers last season that finished ahead of LaFell in targets for the Patriots was Danny Amendola (87) and Julian Edelman (88). Both players are frequent visitors to the trainer’s table, and that could provide some new looks for Hogan. In the last five years, Amendola and Edelman have each had only 1 season in which they played all 16 games. The injury bug is all the more prevalent with the Julian Edelman news today. Given these variables, one can make the argument that Chris Hogan will surpass his total targets from 2015.
The biggest piece of this puzzle in my eyes will be the triumphant return of Tom Brady. If you have read my article (shameless plug) on Eat.Sleep.Fantasy titled ‘The truth about Tom Brady’ you would know that I think Tom Brady is going to rip through the NFL upon his return. Its like I said in that article I previously referenced, if people thought Tom Brady was going to take out this frustration on NFL defenses last season for merely being investigated by the NFL then imagine what he is going to do when he comes back after serving a four-game suspension. It will be a big screw you to Roger Goodell and for Chris Hogan it is like being in the right place at the right time. It is also good to hear that Hogan is jelling well with Tom Brady in camp this summer while Amendola & Edelman sit out with injuries. The Patriots had an intrasquad scrimmage a few days ago where Hogan was Brady’s top targeted pass catcher. Now between weeks one and four while Brady is out I don’t think you’ll see a lot of flashy numbers from Hogan.
I think the name of the game while Garoppolo is under center is to get the ball to Gronk, use Dion Lewis as a safety net in the flats, and count on the defense to hold down the fort. This is why I think Hogan will be a good waiver add and I would suggest that you look to add him just before the week three games. Chances are around week four people will start getting that Tom Brady fever and may get excited when they see a Patriots pass catcher on the wire. Grabbing him before the week three games may allow you to scoop him before your league mates even have a chance to catch the fever. This is all with the idea that you have an available spot to claim him and are willing to part with one of your guys of course.
Let’s not forget that all important fact that fantasy championships are not won at the draft but throughout the season with waiver claims and trades. I think from week 5 against Cleveland and going forward Chris Hogan could be a possible bye week fill in or some depth on your bench. According to Fantasy Pros Chris Hogan finished 77th among his position (PPR formats) and I like for him to improve on that and I think his reception total (59) in 2016 will rival his 2015 target total if not surpass it.