Tom Brady had one of the best 12-game stretches in NFL history for the New England Patriots last season upon returning from his suspension. But will he be a top fantasy football quarterback in 2017, and what other Patriots are draft-worthy?
Fantasy football owners who invested in Tom Brady last year were rewarded handsomely for drafting him. This despite knowing he would miss the first four games for the New England Patriots. In hindsight, sitting out those games probably helped Brady since he was able to avoid additional wear and tear.
The suspension obviously served as great motivation for Brady as well, from the first snap he took against the Cleveland Browns until the last handoff to James White to win Super Bowl 51. But the chip is gone from his shoulder in 2017. And there should be a higher priority on preserving his health for a run at a sixth Super Bowl ring.
So what does that mean for Brady’s fantasy football value? Don’t expect prorated numbers from last year over the course of 16 games this season. It’s not going to happen. Brady’s 3,554 passing yards and 28 touchdowns with only two interceptions in 2016 were exceptional indeed. His passer rating of 112.2 was the second-highest of his career. However, he has never posted three consecutive campaigns with a passer rating over 100 in the previous 17 years of his career.
Brady’s best statistical season was 2007 when he threw for 4,806 yards with 50 touchdowns and just eight picks as the Patriots went a perfect 16-0. The following year, he blew out his knee in the regular-season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. Whether or not the “Madden Curse” proves to be real in 2017 remains to be seen. But don’t bet on Brady being a Top 5 QB statistically.
Other Patriots Worth Considering
While New England definitely has a few top prospects for fantasy football, the best of the bunch may surprise you. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski is coming off a disappointing year by his standards and the team’s with three missed extra points. There has been some speculation that trick-shot kicker Josh Gable was brought in to challenge Gostkowski for his job. Don’t believe it. Gostkowski will be just fine in 2017 and rebound to be among the league leaders in kicking.
Other more popular Patriots that will be mentioned in fantasy football circles include tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receivers Julian Edelman and Brandin Cooks and running backs White and Mike Gillislee. Most of them are riskier propositions because New England’s offense is so balanced while Gronkowski’s injury-riddled past makes him a gamble. One player to avoid altogether is running back Dion Lewis, who may be a surprise cut. We will re-visit this topic in a few months when training camp battles have been decided, so stay tuned to MusketFire.com.