New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has never had a receiver like Steve Young had Jerry Rice or like Peyton Manning had Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. It was always whoever Brady felt like throwing to. In this regard he’s similar to Aaron Rodgers. They make their make their receivers.
Granted Brady had Randy Moss for a couple years, but he never built that rapport with him through five, ten years of chemistry. We saw what he did with Moss — 50 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. But even when Moss left, Brady hardly lost a step. Here’s some stats to prove it:
First year with Moss: 4,806 yards, 50 touchdowns, eight interceptions
Next year with Moss: 4398 yards, 28 touchdowns, 13 interceptions
First year without Moss: 3900 yards, 36 touchdowns, four interceptions
The yardage was a downfall upon losing Moss, but after his first immaculate season with Moss, Brady went back to being Brady.
Now, Brady is falling in the quarterback pecking order to around seven or eight, just because he lost his top four receiving targets from last year. Why does this worry fantasy owners? Brady has encountered this situation before.
In 2009, Moss, Kevin Faulk, Julian Edelman, Ben Watson, and of course Wes Welker were Brady’s top five targets. He threw for 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
In 2010, all but Welker were either gone or no longer in the top five targeted receivers. Yet in 2010 Brady threw for 36 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Clearly it’s Brady, not the receivers, that contribute to his fantasy success.
But what about Wes Welker?
Valid question, since he was the common denominator each year.
Welker was a Miami Dolphin from 2004-2006. In 2005, he was fifth in team receptions, and in 2006 he was first. Welker is a good receiver who will rack up receptions, and Tom Brady took advantage of that.
Replace Wes Welker with Danny Amendola and what does Brady lose?
If Welker went from leading the Dolphins in receptions to leading the Patriots in receptions, why can’t Amendola go from leading the St. Louis Rams in receptions to leading the Patriots in receptions? It’s a logical progression, and with Brady at the helm, it can only be assumed that that’s what will happen.
And don’t forget, all signs point to Rob Gronkowski coming back at some point this year.
Amendola was a safety blanket for a Rams team that was just average in the passing attack. The Patriots are outstanding in the passing attack because of Brady. There’s no reason why there would be a dip in Brady’s fantasy output, but do look for a spike in Amendola’s output.