Where to draft Tom Brady in fantasy this year
News broke on Thursday morning via the Associated Press that Tom Brady’s four-game suspension has been vacated, meaning he’ll be available for the New England Patriots beginning Week 1 and, presumably, the entire 2015 season – though the NFL reportedly plans to appeal the ruling, so a cloud of uncertainly still swirls.
However, it appears Brady is a “go” for the 2015 season – so what does it mean for your fantasy football squad?
With the start of the season just one week away, most fantasy drafts are already in the books. However, plenty of drafts will still take place this weekend and in the days leading up to the Thursday night opener (Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers).
According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Brady’s average draft position (ADP) is currently toward the end of the seventh round. That will undoubtedly jump now that he’s been freed for the first four games of the season – essentially making him 25 percent more valuable.
In fact, once the entire “Deflategate” case was in front of Judge Richard Berman, fantasy football players got optimistic about Brady’s chances of winning the case. This was especially true after the Aug. 12 and Aug. 19 hearings in which all of the news coming out of the court room was positive for Brady. You can see this in the chart below (the big jump came immediately after the Aug. 19 hearing).
If pure optimism was enough to bump Brady’s ADP by nearly a full round, then the official nullification of his suspension will surely raise his ADP by another round or even two, putting Brady’s ADP in the middle or later stages of Round 5. Those that were able to snag him for a Round 7 (or later) pick have ended up with a steal.
Brady should be viewed as a QB1 heading into the 2015. Our updated projections have Brady finishing the season as the fifth highest-scoring quarterback this season, but there is only a projected 35-point difference (about two points per game) between QB2 and QB10, so it’s reasonable to think Brady could finish anywhere in that range.
In any event, that makes him a solid QB1 option.
|Comp.||Att.||Yards||Pass TDs||INTs||Rush TDs||Fantasy Pts.||PPG||Rank|
Brady has one of the greatest weapons in the NFL in Rob Gronkowski, who through five years in the league has proven uncoverable, especially in the red zone. Additionally, Julian Edelman is now considered an old reliable and will be leaned on to move the chains. Edelman is one of the most underrated fantasy assets, but he’s also a huge boon to Brady’s value.
Brady also has Brandon LaFell at his disposal, but LaFell’s health remains a question mark and even when healthy, LaFell is more serviceable than spectacular. New England’s offense is always evolving, but they head into 2015 with key offensive players still in place from the season before, which is a big plus for Brady.
Of course, at 38 years old, Brady doesn’t come without risk. He was a streaky quarterback last season from a fantasy perceptive. He laid an egg during the first four weeks, lit the league on fire for the next eight weeks, and then slowed down for the final five weeks of the regular season before regaining during the playoffs.
|Tom Brady – 2014|
Which Brady will you get in 2015? Odds are you’ll get a mixture of both.
This somewhat steps away from PFF’s unwavering focus on statistics — because this topic steps into “narrative” territory — so I won’t spend much time on it. But in the case of Brady, there’s no denying it has some merit. His 2007 season stands on its own, but more recently, we saw that a motivated Brady is still capable of kicking it into a new gear.
His eight-week tear through the league last season (shown in the chart above) came after the Patriots were dismantled on Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs. Additionally, in the Super Bowl — following two weeks of Deflategate chatter and “cheater” talk — Brady tossed four touchdowns against the best defense of the decade. In fact, he was the first quarterback to throw four touchdowns against the vaunted “Legion of Boom.” (Though it should be noted that several Seahawks defenders were injured during that game.)
Is Brady in line for another 50-touchdown season? No. But there is a significant trail of evidence that shows that his game on the field responds well to criticism off the field.
If you have yet to draft, you can scoop up Brady as your starting quarterback with confidence.
If you’ve already drafted and landed Brady, rest easy knowing you don’t have to build a bridge of backup quarterbacks for the first five weeks of the season.
If you’ve already drafted and landed Brady as a backup, you now have an extremely valuable trade chip in your pocket.