Tom Brady is one of (if not the) best NFL quarterbacks of this generation and there is no denying that. He’s got the resume to back up the claim and saw his greatness translate into our Fantasy world when he was paired with Randy Moss in 2007. But that was six seasons ago, and while age hasn’t exactly slowed him down, the New England Patriots team first philosophy has resulted in a gradual gutting of the roster, trusting Tommy Terrific to mask any and all flaws in not only the offense, but the entire organization.
He’s had an elite receiving-core only a few times, but the wide-outs he is currently passing the ball to rank as far below “elite” status as we have ever seen. This has left Fantasy Football owners in a very difficult spot: where to draw the line between faith in Brady and lack of talent around him?
The answer lies somewhere in the middle and the past has taught us that we need to consider both arguments. He’s an elite talent, and that skill doesn’t disappear overnight. But, he’s also getting older and the team is relying as heavily on his right arm as ever. My Fantasy solution is as follows: he’s a matchup play that can rank as high as fifth and as low as 13th.
I don’t care how juicy the matchup is, I cannot justify ranking Brady ahead of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning or Matt Ryan under any circumstance. Those four are all obviously very talented quarterbacks who have far superior weapons at their disposals. It’s not that Brady can’t play at that level (especially when Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola return from injury), but the chances of him out-producing those players are slim, and when you’re dealing with high end Fantasy talent, eliminating risk is a big deal. His ceiling is nowhere near those four signal-callers, while his floor is considerably lower.
That being said, the “yea, but he’s Tom Brady” argument does hold some weight. After all, he did record an elite Fantasy season in 2010 (3,900 passing yards with a nine to one touchdown to interception ratio and a 65.9 percent completion) without a receiver totaling over 850 yards. That logic alone means that it is going to take an awful lot for me to rank him lower than the 13th best Fantasy option in a given week (sorry Carson Palmer, Alex Smith, Terrelle Pryor and Matt Schaub owners).
So what should you do with the struggling three-time Super Bowl Champion? I’m probably not trading him right now, as his value could well be at its lowest point after a tough game against the New York Jets and without his primary targets ready to return. While his receivers aren’t proven, they are young and learning, indicating that their best days are in front of them. I’m much more comfortable with an undrafted rookie (and current top option) in Kenbrell Thompkins playing a complementary role than being targeted 10-plus times, and that’ll be the case sooner rather than later.
While I wouldn’t shop Brady quite yet, I would not rule it out in a month or two. The Patriots schedule gets very tough when the games count the most for Fantasy owners (Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens in Weeks 12-16). I’m holding onto the future Hall of Famer for now, but highly considering a package deal (assuming his value rises over the next two months) where I acquire Joe Flacco and David Wilson.