The New England Patriots spent a ton of money in free agency and a good chunk of it was allocated to the offense. More specifically, the Patriots threw money at the tight end spot when they signed Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.
While many have projected the Patriots to utilize a lot of two-tight-end sets, it appears Henry is seeing more opportunities through the first two weeks of the season than Smith.
At least one NFL analyst would like to see Smith’s snap count and usage increase.
Patriots Need to Use Jonnu Smith More Often, Says NFL Analyst
Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton recently penned an article identifying a player on every NFL roster who needs to be used more often. Smith was the guy for the Patriots. Moton offered this explanation.
The New England Patriots need to do everything possible to help rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Though the Patriots beat the New York Jets 25-6 last week, Jones finished with 186 passing yards and no touchdowns. With an accurate arm (74 percent completion rate), Jones can build a rapport with an athletic big-bodied target at tight end. Jonnu Smith fits the bill. In two games, Smith has caught nine of his 10 targets for 70 yards, but he played only 50 percent of the offensive snaps in Week 2 compared to 73 percent for Week 1. At tight end, Smith has to share time with Hunter Henry, who’s been on the field for at least 72 percent of the plays in each of the first two games. The Patriots can feature both pass-catchers in 12 personnel, but the former poses more of a threat against linebackers because of his quickness.
One thing to consider is Smith has been hobbled with nagging injuries since training camp. It is possible Smith wasn’t used more often against the Jets because he may have been battling some of the issues that limited his availability in training camp.
Fantasy Football Experts Are Not Predicting a Jonnu Smith Revival in Week 3
Kyle Yates of Fantasy Pros doesn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel for Smith–at least as it pertains to his individual production from a fantasy standpoint. This can be related to his usage, or perhaps he simply won’t find the end zone.
In any case, Smith wrote:
Through two weeks, Jonnu Smith has a 14.9% team target share, which is encouraging to see for fantasy managers. And while Jonnu is reeling in 90% of those targets, it’s not leading to much reliable fantasy production. Without Jones opening up the offense, Smith is going to have to live and die by his YAC ability off of a very low ADOT and that’s a risky game to play for fantasy managers. We know that Smith has the talent to be a dynamic receiving threat after the catch, but he shouldn’t have to rely solely on that to provide fantasy value. With very little receiving touchdown upside, Smith needs to be downgraded in our Rest-of-Season Rankings and just be viewed as a safe option each and every week. He can be viewed as a mid-range TE2 this week.
With all due respect to Yates, I’m expecting Smith to see a ton of targets and to even see some time at running back in the next few weeks. The Week 3 matchup with the Saints might be a spot where Smith could get touches out of the backfield. Starting running back Damien Harris is battling a hand injury and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson has seemingly been demoted after a tough Week 1 performance. If healthy, I like Smith to make some noise against the New Orleans Saints.
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