In our first installment of the Fantasy Football Spotlight for 2017 we’re going to take a look at what the NFL season will have in store for one of its biggest stars, Tom Brady.
After starting the 2016 fantasy football campaign under a 4 game suspension, Brady quickly got his feet underneath him and proved once again that he is one of the most reliable options at his position every week. Over his last 5 games of the season, his average point total kept him in the top 5 quarterbacks and if you look at his average start total compared to the rest of the league, Brady came in at 4th overall and only one and a half points off of league leader, Aaron Rodgers.
How important are those starting averages? If you look at the drop from #4 to #8, there is a five point differential. That’s nearly the equivalent of one rushing touchdown and it is a full point more than one passing touchdown.
Now, fast forward to 2017 where Tom Brady will get a chance to work with one of the most talented groups of receivers he has had the chance to throw darts at since Randy Moss was on the roster (good article discussing it here by Tyler Pierce).
With an aggressive trading stance this off-season the Patriots were able to acquire a proven talent in former New Orleans Saints wide receiver, Brandin Cooks. This was a move that I am 100% in agreement with as it adds a proven 1,000 yard commodity to the receiving group in exchange for a late first round pick that, if spent on a receiver, would not have resulted in the same amount of threat at the position.
This addition of Cooks puts the Patriots in the enviable position of fielding dynamic play-makers across the entire pass catching unit. In a three wide receiver, one tight end set, New England will have the luxury of Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan on the outside, Julian Edelman in the slot and Rob Gronkowski at tight end. Now, factor in Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead coming out of the backfield in the aerial attack and you can see why there is a lot to look forward to in 2017 for Tom Brady’s fantasy football numbers.
Finally, looking at the schedule adds some more hype to the train as the Patriots will see both the Jets and Bills twice while getting to play some of the more difficult defenses they face at home rather than on the road. It’s not a cakewalk schedule to be sure, but it is laid out in a fashion that ups the odds on Tom being able to post consistent weekly numbers at a very high level.
Right now I am targeting Tom Brady as the #2 overall quarterback for 2017 in both Standard and Bonus style leagues. In dynasty formats, Brady can still be drafted within the top 10 quarterbacks but preferably no earlier than the 5th quarterback overall and with a handcuff of Jimmy Garoppolo taken sooner rather than too late at all.