48-for-91 for 473 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Certainly not great numbers for any quarterback through the first two games, but that is what Tom Brady of the New England Patriots has done to this point. That kind of production is surely not what fantasy football owners have come to expect from Brady over the last decade, even considering how injuries and departures have thinned his group of pass catchers early in the season.
Many owners that have Brady may be considering benching him, but is that the right move?
Lack of familiarity with his receivers has hurt Brady through the first two games, helping yield a completion percentage (53 percent) that would be by far his career-low over a full season and a yards per-game average (236.5) that is his lowest since 2006 in a season in which he played more than one game. One positive sign in that regard is the looming return of tight end Rob Gronkowski, who may be able to make his 2013 debut Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .
Brady does have two favorable-looking matchups coming, so he may be able to re-establish his fantasy value even if Gronkowski continues to be sidelined. Tampa Bay has not been generous to opposing quarterbacks so far this season, allowing just two total touchdown passes and ranking in the top half of the league against the position (13.0 fantasy points per game; ESPN standard scoring), but safety Dashon Goldson has been suspended one game for his second illegal hit in as many weeks. Goldson will appeal and may have his hearing expedited to as early as Tuesday, but for now expect him to miss Sunday’s game.
In Week 4 things get even better for Brady against the Atlanta Falcons, who have allowed over 350 passing yards to both quarterbacks they have faced this season (Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams) and multiple passing touchdowns in each game.
If Brady doesn’t show signs of a turnaround over the next two games, then fantasy owners can be concerned about his status as an automatic weekly starter heading into a tough matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5. For now though, those that don’t have an obvious better option to replace him should keep Brady in their lineups.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.