Patriots Sign Hunter Henry: 2021 Betting & Fantasy Football Outlook

Patriots Sign Hunter Henry: The New England Patriots signed free-agent tight end Hunter Henry to a three-year, $37.5 million deal ($25 million guaranteed).



Patriots Sign Hunter Henry

The Patriots continued their onslaught on free agency, upgrading their pass-catching corps by signing Hunter Henry.

This is a team that had quite possibly the worst skills group in football, so an infusion of talent was absolutely essential. Henry joins fellow tight end Jonnu Smith and wide receivers Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers (and maybe Julian Edelman, if his knee injury isn’t career-ending or he signs elsewhere) as well as running back Damien Harris in what should be an improved New England offense.

Henry is another athletic tight end who can get loose downfield and make a major impact in the red zone. He’s coming off a decent season, catching 60-of-93 targets for 613 yards and four touchdowns. He’ll be entering his age-27 season competing for targets with Smith and Agholor in an offense that should mostly line up with two tight ends and two wide receivers.

The Pats can now use Newton as the goal-line back or have him focus on firing play-action passes to Henry or Smith in the end-zone. Agholor will help take the top off the defense and Bourne will make an impact in run-blocking.


Patriots 2021 NFL Betting Outlook

Patriots to win AFC East (+450)

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With their skill-player additions, the Patriots should be a much-improved team in 2021. Cam Newton will have a full offseason to get more comfortable in this offense. He’ll also have a much more talented group of pass-catchers with these signings. Henry and Smith are going to give opposing defenses major headaches in the red-zone, bringing back memories of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Let’s also remember that Cam was significantly affected by COVID-19 in the 2020 season.

Patriots Sign Hunter Henry: 2021 Betting & Fantasy Football Outlook

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has completely reloaded, adding plenty of weapons to help the Patriots compete in the AFC East. (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

On defense, the Pats signed edge-rusher Matthew Judon, nose-tackle Davon Godchaux, and defensive-back Jalen Mills. They’ll also get back linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive-back Patrick Chung from the COVID reserve list. The Pats defense looks poised to return to form as one of the better units in the NFL.

The Patriots are absolutely worth a look as AFC East division winners in 2021. The team has already improved in each facet of the game on Day 1 of free agency. They have the pieces in place to challenge the Bills for a division title. I would also recommend putting a small bet on the Pats to win the Super Bowl. Don’t underestimate Bill Belichick with a chip on his shoulder.

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Hunter Henry 2021 Fantasy Football Outlook

Henry finished as TE10 in PPR points per game last season. He finished 11th among tight ends with a 17 percent target share, setting a career-high with 93 targets. Henry will fight for volume with Smith, which limits their weekly ceilings, but if any team can support two Top-12 tight ends, it’s the Patriots. If Newton can bounce back as I expect him to, both of these tight ends have a legitimate chance at TE1 production.

Newton gets even more of a bump in value with these additions, as he’ll now have a much-improved arsenal at his disposal. He finished as QB17 in fantasy points per game last season despite only throwing eight touchdown passes. This shows how his rushing upside really keeps him on the fantasy radar. Buy Cam as a late-round quarterback in your drafts.

It’s clear that Bill Belichick wanted to put Newton in a better position to succeed this season. This offense should be among the most efficient red-zone offenses in the NFL. Opposing defenses will have to deal with a Newton goal-line carry, pass to Smith or Henry or hand-off to running back Harris. It wouldn’t surprise me to Newton Cam double his passing touchdowns in 2021.

Fantasy players will likely be down on Henry and Smith because they will cut into each other’s production, which creates a buying opportunity in dynasty leagues. Both players will be targeted heavily in the red-zone, giving them high touchdown equity. I’d go with whoever comes at a cheaper price in your drafts. It also could be a good idea to target both tight ends in best-ball leagues because that way you avoid the potential unpredictable nature of their weekly production.


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