Tom Brady has meant a lot to a lot of people during his career, and most of them were not fans of the New England Patriots. They were fantasy football players. They were the armchair general managers of the world that picked Brady to lead their fantasy team to victory.
But with all the turmoil and roster changes the team has undergone this offseason, can fantasy football players count on Brady once again?
Is he still fantasy football gold?
According to the NFL.com’s fantasy statistics (which only go back nine years), he finished with the second highest point total for a quarterback four times, in the top five six times, and has never finished outside of the top ten.
Technically, he finished the 2016 season ranked 15th, but he also missed four games. Factor in his per game average for those four and he had the third highest total.
But what about this coming season? Can he be counted on again? He is going to be 41 years old when the season starts. Kickers are typically the only guys that play into their 40s—or at least the only ones that perform well.
Last season, Brady set a new mark for the most yards thrown by a 40-year old quarterback with 4,577. That would make it seem as if age is just a number, and counting on him to perform just as well next season is a no-brainer.
However, his roster is not going to be the same. Nate Solder will no longer be protecting him. Dion Lewis has moved on. Brandin Cooks is now with the Rams. Danny Amendola has found a new home. Martellus Bennett has retired and, technically, we still don’t know if Rob Gronkowski is coming back.
His offensive line will not be nearly as good this season as it has been in the past. He will be without two of last season’s top three pass catchers (and maybe the top three if Gronkowski doesn’t come back).
With all these losses in mind, can we say the end is near? Will Brady be fantasy fool’s gold next season rather than gold?
As one of Brady’s former teammates, Chad Johnson (aka Ochocinco) would say—child, please.
If there is one thing that the Patriots do better than any other team in the NFL it is reload. No one knows how to get on the same page with new receivers quite like Brady does. He’s had to so often during his career he should be good at it by now.
The guys he’ll get to work with next season aren’t bad either. Julian Edelman will be back. Chris Hogan will likely have a more significant role. They may try to get more out of Phillip Dorsett. If anyone can turn tight end Troy Niklas into a weapon, it is Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
They’ll try to work their magic on Cordarrelle Patterson and Jordan Mathews as well.
Will Brady be fantasy gold once again? Probably. He may look more like copper, bronze, or maybe silver for the first week or two as the Patriots work out the kinks on offense. But once everyone gets on the same page, he’ll be as deadly as ever.