Now that Tom Brady is certain to begin 2013 without four of his top five targets from last season, what can fantasy owners expect from him in 2013?
- Michael Fabiano NFL.com Fantasy Editor
Brady is still a top five option
If this were a "mortal" quarterback, I would have likely dropped him out of the top 10 -- but this is Tom Brady. The man has found success throwing the football to the likes of Deion Branch, David Givens, Troy Brown and Jabar Gaffney. That's not exactly a list of the who's-who among fantasy wide receivers. Sure, his chance of throwing for 5,000 yards has diminished, and a decline in touchdowns is possible (if not likely). But you can sign me up for Brady if I'm getting 4,500 yards and 30 total scores from him. With that being said, I did move Tom Terrific down from the No. 3 overall quarterback to No. 5 behind Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton. And with the depth at the quarterback position being what it is this season, I can see Brady falling into the fourth or fifth round.
- Marcas Grant NFL.com Fantasy Editor
Brady won't finish the year in the top five
Tom Brady has had plenty of career success throwing to less-than-name brand targets on the field. That hasn't necessarily translated to fantasy success. His numbers really took off after Randy Moss arrived in 2007. Yet it was the 2006 season which was most indicative of his early-career totals. By that measure, Brady struggles to be a top 12 option. As a much more seasoned QB, he'll find a way to make things work but it wouldn't be a surprise to see Brady finish the season outside of the top 10 among fantasy quarterbacks.
Tom Brady will still merit being selected in the first 10 quarterbacks, but the top five is a stretch. I expect New England to use Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen more, providing Ridley doesn't put the ball on the carpet too much. Bill Belichick has always been savvy at adapting his approach to the personnel he has. If you look at Brady's stats from the early 2000s, you'll see a noticeable dropoff in how much the Pats ran the football. I would expect 3-5 fewer attempts per game from Brady, given the current state of the team, and its dearth of talent in the passing game.
Tom Brady has won Super Bowl titles with a cast of anonymous receivers, but he didn't win you very many fantasy leagues until he got the big guns of Wes Welker and Randy Moss in 2007. Sure, he had that breakthrough year in 2005 when he did really well. But the early part of his career was not very conducive to fantasy scoring. So while I still expect Brady to again have the Patriots challenging for the AFC title, I don't find it very wise to draft him early in your fantasy leagues. I have him listed as the No. 5 quarterback right now, but I think I'd rather take a chance on one of the second-year starters like Andy Luck, RG3, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.