Tom Brady is currently being drafted in the fourth round of most 12-team standard format leagues. Let that sink in for a minute.
His current ADP is 50, meaning somewhere out there fantasy owners are drafting 49 other NFL skill positions players ahead of one of the greatest and most consistently successful quarterbacks of all time. Guys like Darren Sproles, Pierre Garcon, Montee Ball and Eddie Lacy are being drafted ahead of him. Why can’t I be in a league where Tom Brady falls to me in the fourth round?
For the last five years, I’ve heard bar stool experts and cubicle analysts try to convince themselves (and each other) that Tom Brady’s reign as an elite NFL quarterback is coming to an end. That nonsense has seemed to reach an all-time high in 2013 with all of the turnover in Foxboro this off season. It’s well documented how some of Brady’s top targets over the past couple of seasons are on new teams, nursing injuries, not on rosters or awaiting a murder trial. What’s not getting attention is the fact that New England won five of six games to finish off the 2012 season without Rob Gronkowski.
During that stretch, Tom Brady piled up 1,851 passing yards (308.5 per game) and 13 touchdowns. Also during that stretch, he only had two receivers hit the 100 yard mark in any of those games – Brandon Lloyd in a loss against the 49ers and Wes Welker in a win over Miami. The other four games – all wins – never had a receiver total more than 94 yards. Quite simply, Tom Brady’s production is not dependent on any one, two or three elite pass-catchers. He spreads the ball as well as any quarterback in the league and has done so his entire career. His favorite target is and has always been the open receiver.
I don’t see any of that changing in 2013. Despite the roster turnover, it appears New England has quietly stockpiled a young arsenal of new targets for Brady. Rookie third round pick Aaron Dobson seems to have shown enough in camp for New England to cut ties with veteran Michael Jenkins. Undrafted rookie free agents Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld are making waves as well. Each has become a favorite target of Brady throughout camp. Thompkins is being compared to Lloyd, while Sudfeld has been taking first team reps at tight end and having success. Don’t forget about the addition of Danny Amendola. Though labeled as injury prone, his two injuries (both arm-related) didn’t happen while he was tying his shoes. They both occurred while he was going all-out after a pass. When he is healthy, Amendola is capable of everything Wes Welker did and more. He has straight-line speed to stretch the field like no one else New England has had since the days of Randy Moss.
Tom Brady is still Tom Brady regardless of who he’s throwing to. He’ll still attempt over 500 passes in an offense designed to do the bulk of its damage through the air. New England’s improved running game will only command more respect and provide more room in the secondary for Brady to carve up opposing defenses.
Let’s not forget about the quarterbacks Tom Brady’s Patriots will face in 2013. He’ll be involved in shootouts with Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub and Joe Flacco throughout the season. Brady will likely need to air it out to keep pace in these games.
If you want to compete for a title in your league, believe me when I say you won’t be doing so without an elite quarterback churning out consistent numbers every week. Few are as consistent as Brady and there is no way, despite all of the new targets, that I’d let him get past the third round.