Tom Brady’s fantasy draft stock is losing air faster than those footballs he doesn’t know anything about. He’s been suspended for a quarter of the season and he’s being dismissed as a fantasy option for 2016. It’s time to buy low and cash in on the four time Super Bowl champion.
To QB1 or not to QB1
Tom Brady‘s will not finish among the top-12 quarterbacks in total fantasy points in 2016. It’s true. Brady will miss a total of five fantasy weeks in 2016 (when including his week 9 bye and barring injury) and that is far too many games to sit out and still find one self within the top twelve scorers at the QB position. There are two very simple criteria that QB’s need to meet to be a QB1; play in lots of games, and score lots of points. It seems very obvious, but sometimes these things need to be stated. In 2015, 92-percent of QB1’s played 16 games. That’s eleven out of twelve. The one who missed the boat was Drew Brees, and he played 15 games. In the same year, only 50-percent of QB2’s played all 16 games. So Brady, just based purely on games played, won’t be a QB1 this upcoming year. However, that does not mean that Brady will not be one of the most valuable fantasy quarterbacks this season.
Analyzing QB1 Points
Tom Brady was the second highest (standard) scoring QB in the league last year, behind only Cam Newton. He posted at least average QB1 numbers in nine out of his sixteen games. The table below shows that only five quarterbacks posted a similar percentage last year, and only three of them played all sixteen games. If Brady posts a similar percentage this year, he’ll put up at least average QB1 numbers in six games. That’s the same amount of QB1 games as Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning and Ryan Fitzpatrick had last year, and Brady will play five fewer games.
Tom Brady also had the second most games over 25 points in 2015, and the third highest percentage in that category. Of his nine QB1 games, 66-percent were over 25 points, something that other QB1’s rarely did. In fact, only quarterbacks who routinely accrue rushing yards outperformed Brady in that statistic. Brady an asset not only because he consistently scores with the best in the game, but also because he scores higher than those other QB’s on a regular basis.
What About All Those Games He Misses?
There are plenty of cheap, affordable options to plug in while Tom Brady sits on the bench. Just take a look at Andy Dalton. Dalton currently has an eleventh round ADP and he posted QB1 numbers in 61-percent of the games he played last year. Dalton’s efficiency metrics below show a quarterback with both potential and opportunity.
Which may bring up the question; why not just draft Andy Dalton? Well, because he doesn’t have the ceiling that Tom Brady does. Very few of his games are over the 25-point mark, and in fantasy, explosive players are key.
Another option? Draft Tyrod Taylor a round later (12th round ADP). Four of his six QB1 games last year were over 25 points, and he’s even more efficient in terms of production premium.
Streaming QB’s for five games is also a perfectly legitimate option. Sam Bradford plays the Browns and Bears his first two weeks and Jay Cutler plays the Cowboys and Lions weeks three and four. Those two will definitely be on the wire, and should put up respectable numbers for the four games Brady is suspended.
Tom Brady currently has an eighth round ADP, and its plummeting. He’s being drafted around Carson Palmer and Eli Manning now, two consistent, but low scoring options. Brady provides a higher upside, with a similar cost. If mid round QB is the strategy, Brady should be the selection.
The Patriots are simultaneously investing in the passing and divesting in the running game. New England added dynamic talents Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett, and Malcolm Mitchell during the offseason while steadfastly refusing ot upgrade their running back corps.
Even though Tom Brady is missing five games next year, he will still post QB1 numbers at a high rate during the eleven games that he plays, and many of those QB1 games will be over 25 points. Despite his missing time, Brady will provide a valuable asset at a discounted price. Armed with a passing game weapons upgrade, Tom Brady could lead the NFL in fantasy points per game upon his return from suspension and lead many fantasy football enthusiasts to league championships.