New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard somehow managed to play in last week’s big game against the Denver Broncos, as he returned almost dangerously early from a knee injury that required surgery. Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise to see Dennard suffer a setback in the second quarter of that game, but it was also saddening to see him injured again all the same.
According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, the New England Patriots have officially ruled Dennard out for today’s game against the Houston Texans, as Dennard was unable to make the trip to Houston with the rest of the team. There was some hope that Dennard could play today after getting in a limited practice on Friday, but it was too little, too late on the practice front for Dennard.
His absence means that DeAndre Hopkins is a major fantasy sleeper, because the Patriots are very vulnerable against No. 2 receivers when Dennard isn’t playing. Andre Johnson shouldn’t be a big factor, as Aqib Talib will be covering him. Talib excels against possession-based receivers like Johnson, and we’ll also likely see Devin McCourty bracketing the Texans superstar WR. That leaves Hopkins in a favorable position, and he should be able to exploit the fact that the Patriots love to try and take out the opposition’s best weapon in the passing game. For Johnson, it would take an elite performance to put up solid numbers against New England today.