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Patriots fantasy question: What impact will Brady make in 2009?

Patriots burning fantasy question:What sort of impact will Tom Brady make this season?

Tom Brady had the best fantasy season of all time in 2007.

Patriots top-5 fantasy players

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Randy Moss
  1. Wes Welker
  2. Fred Taylor

Sleeper: Laurence Maroney

The talented quarterback threw for 4,806 yards, an NFL-record 50 touchdowns and found the end zone a total of 52 times in leading countless owners to a fantasy league championship. That success led him to be the first overall selection in countless 2008 drafts.

Unfortunately, he went on to throw just 11 passes before suffering a torn ACL against the Chiefs in the regular-season opener.

Brady endured a reconstructive procedure to repair his damaged knee, after which point reports arose that he had setbacks in his rehab and could miss the start of the 2009 season.

However, the offseason trade of Matt Cassel showed faith in Brady's healthy return.

After marrying his long-time girlfriend and super model Gisele Bundchen (now that's a fantasy), Brady went back to his work as an NFL quarterback. He's participated in offseason programs without limitations and will be under center for the Pats in the opener against the Bills.

So if Brady is back to 100 percent (and all reports suggest that he is), how high should he be taken in fantasy drafts?

Well, it's hard to rank him ahead of Drew Brees. The Saints quarterback is coming off a season with 5,069 passing yards and 34 touchdown passes and will be worth as much as a late first-round selection. Aside from Brees, however, there isn't a field general in the league that should be taken ahead of Brady -- even Peyton Manning.

The Stetson man has some of the best weapons in the league in Randy Moss and Wes Welker, and the addition of veteran Joey Galloway gives him another receiver to utilize in the vertical pass attack. With what should be an improved defense, Brady should have plenty of time on the field and in the pocket to fill the stat sheets.

That's not to say that Brady will duplicate his incredible 2007 totals, because he most certainly won't reach that level of success again. However, coming off knee surgery shouldn't keep him from posting 4,200-plus yards and 30-35 total touchdowns. After all, it didn't seem to hurt Carson Palmer or Philip Rivers after similar procedures.

In a January postseason contest against the Steelers in 2006, Palmer was hit below the knee by Kimo von Oelhoffen and suffered torn knee ligaments. He endured a reconstructive procedure and was able to return for a full 16 games later that year, finishing with what was a career best in passing yards (4,035) and 28 touchdowns.

Rivers injured his knee late in the 2007 season and actually played with ligament damage in the postseason. He too needed a surgical procedure to repair the damage, but it didn't keep him from posting career bests across the board in 2008. So while coming off an ACL operation can hurt running backs and receivers who need to run and cut week in and week out, it doesn't seem to hinder quarterbacks.

That's a real positive for Brady, who should be confident enough in the knee to sit back in the pocket and let it rip in what should be one of the league's most productive offenses. If your league's scoring system favors quarterbacks, Brady will be worth as much as a second-round selection.

If he comes off the board past the third or fourth round, Mr. Bundchen will be an absolute steal.

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