By Adam Harris-
(CBS) Since 2002, Tom Brady and the entire Patriots team have been excellent fantasy options.
Whether it be sneaky wide out Wes Welker, WR Randy Moss’s legendary season, subtle WR Deion Branch, and more obviously and recently tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, Patriots players have been a welcome sight for any fantasy owner, even sometimes taking the fantasy world by storm.
This year, however, seems to be a little different. With Gronkowski injury, Hernandez’s indictment and the absence of Wes Welker, fantasy owners are cautiously drafting Patriot players, thinking Tom Brady’s lack of options will affect his and the team’s numbers.
This must be where Rodney Dangerfield came up with his “I don’t get no respect” routine. You see Dangerfield, like me, understands the level of respect that the Patriots deserve every year in the fantasy world, and you should use the lack of respect given to them by other owners as your personal gain.
This is an opportunity for you to get great value out of this Patriot offense which is going to find a way to put up points. Below is a list of reasons why you should draft many Patriot options at a special, one-year, discounted rate.
This year, the Patriots have eight games against teams ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in points given up per game from 2012. They face the Bills twice, who gave up 27 points per game last year, and have an offense this year that could have a ton of three and outs, thus giving Brady the ball more and more.
The Patriots also face the Darrelle Revis-less Jets twice, along with the Saints (28 ppg in 2012) and the Buccaneers (24.6 ppg in 2012). I don’t care who is hurt, incarcerated, or gone, if you give Tom Brady the ball in a shootout, he will get all his teammates fantasy points.
Which leads me to perhaps my strongest argument in this article, Tom Brady is amazing. In Brady’s last five full seasons, he averaged 37.4 touchdown passes and 4,633 yards. Yes, he did that with the help of wide out Randy Moss in 2008, but when Moss was hurt in 2010, Brady “invented’ a new target in rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski who caught 10 touchdowns that year.
Oh, and Brady put up those numbers with virtually no running game. Brady has always brought out fantasy greatness in all his receivers. Just because he is limited in options this year, doesn’t mean you should shy away from him or any of his teammates. Tom Brady remains my fourth best quarterback in my rankings.
IT’S A SYSTEM THING
Ever wonder why the Patriots are able to remain a top-five offense every year? It’s the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady system that works so well and brings the most out of every piece. Currently the Patriots have Danny Amendola as their No. 1 option on the outside, followed by wide outs Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson (2012 2nd round pick), and tight end Zach Sudfeld (because of Rob Gronkowski’s injury).
Belichick and Brady will make these guys household, fantasy names, just like they did with Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Brandon Lloyd, etc. Tom Brady is going to throw 30 plus touchdowns this year. Someone needs to catch them.
MATT CASSEL IN 2008
Even without superman Tom Brady, the Patriots’ offense thrives.
For example, in 2008 Tom Brady went down for the season with a knee injury during Week 1. Insert Matt Cassel, who led the team to 25.6 points per game, ranking sixth in the NFL. 3,700 yards and 21 touchdowns were still distributed among the receivers, making for a nice fantasy year for all, except Tom Brady of course.
Stevan Ridley gives Tom Brady something he has lacked most of his career in New England: a running game. Only three Patriots’ running backs have rushed for at least 1,000 yards since Brady came into the league, and Stevan Ridley is one of them.
Last year, Ridley ran for 1,263 yard, putting him fourth all-time on the Patriots’ single season rushing list. When used correctly, the running game can only help Brady pile up touchdown numbers this year.
Tom Brady is going in the fourth and fifth round of a lot of fantasy drafts, Rob Gronkowski is injured and dropping, Danny Amendola is going a good seven rounds ahead of Kenbrell Thompkins or Aaron Dobson, and people are scared of what’s to become of this Patriots’ offense. Use that in your drafts and take as many Patriot options as you can. They will carry great value and great production.
Rob Gronkowski is worth having and holding until he is healthy, but in the meantime grab tight end Zach Sudfeld.
Draft Kenbrell Thompkins (WR) and Aaron Dobson (WR) late and you will be able to trade or play them by Week 3.
Ridley is going to do what he did last year, making him a great option at running back.
Tom Brady is going later in drafts because of the quarterback depth and the lack of targets. I would target Brady in the fourth round, and even third if you don’t want to risk losing him.
The 2013 SALE on Patriot players is going on now at a draft near you! Be ready.
Follow Adam Harris on Twitter @AHarris670 and ask him Fantasy Football questions. Also, listen to the Friday Fantasy Nerd Herd Hour on Friday nights/Saturday mornings with Joe Ostrowski.