Over his lengthy Patriots career, Tom Brady has accumulated numerous accolades. The Super Bowls, the MVP awards, the Super Bowl MVP awards (along with many other distinctions) are all part of the 42-year-old’s Hall of Fame resume.
In terms of fantasy football, Brady has been not merely viable but vital for most of his career. His 2007 numbers were record-setting, vaulting many fantasy teams to greatness along the way.
Brady is aware of his fantasy football status, acknowledging it in a recent joke on social media:
I know your drafts are coming up so I need to let all of you know I’m a PPR threat now. pic.twitter.com/RtNJFrzV3v
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) August 20, 2019
Yet in 2019, experts are increasingly dubious on his chances of making a major statistical impact.
“What happens to the No. 17 fantasy quarterback when you take away the best tight end of all-time? It’s not likely to make him any better,” wrote Mike Tagliere of FantasyPros. “The Patriots have added another running back to the stable, which hints that they’ll try to pound the ball a bit more. Yes, they added N’Keal Harry in the first-round, but rookie receivers tend to take time to develop. Brady is one of the greatest of all-time, but he shouldn’t be someone you’re drafting to your fantasy team.”
According to trained fantasy football eyes, Brady’s lower ranking is not derived from a prognostication of age-related decline (an annual tradition that Brady has enjoyed disproving). Most fantasy analysts preface their 2019 outlook with an admission of his place in history.
“Let’s be very clear right up front,” began ESPN expert Matthew Berry in his preseason “Love/Hate” column. “He is THE GOAT. Six rings, more than 70,000 yards and 500 touchdowns, a genetic freak to be playing at this level into his 40s and he will be an unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famer. He is truly the greatest to play the position.”
As Berry (and others) see it, it’s more down to Brady being consistently drafted ahead of where his actual statistical ranking places him. On a site like ESPN, Brady is being picked on average as the 10th quarterback in drafts. Yet he ranked well below that in points per-game in 2018.
The retirement of Rob Gronkowski is seen as a major factor in Brady’s declining fantasy value.
“During the course of Gronk’s career, Brady averaged 18.5 percent fewer fantasy points per-game when Gronk was not there,” wrote Berry.
So while Gronkowski’s exit is good news for fantasy teams that have Julian Edelman, it overall means fewer points in the passing game.
One positive note for those looking to possibly utilize Brady in fantasy lineups for the upcoming season is the NFL reinstatement of Josh Gordon. In games when Gordon played, Brady was measurably better. Gordon’s role in 2019 — a thing that remains very uncertain — could determine a lot for both the Patriots and fantasy players.
And should Demaryius Thomas also return to form after an Achilles injury, New England’s legendary quarterback could regain some fantasy value.