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The Fantasy Loophole for Tom Brady and Le’Veon Bell

Brady and Bell are dropping in drafts, but are still top fantasy players. How do we approach drafting them knowing their suspensions leave them out for the first few weeks of the season? Brady is out 4 weeks and Bell is out 2 weeks. How do we draft them yet still get quality production while they are out?

Tom Brady (4 week suspension)

Currently, Brady is being drafted between the 5th-8th rounds. If he wasn’t suspended, he would be going in the first 4. Brady will be a top-5 QB between Weeks 5 through 17. The issue most draftees face is the fact that they feel they either…

A) they have to draft another QB high to take on the early weeks of the season, or

B) they don’t want to draft him and possibly start the season 0-4 with Brady not playing, and being unable to get a quality starter to produce the first 4 weeks of the season.

What if I told you that problems A and B can be solved?

Option A) Drafting another QB high in the Draft

This is an option with the idea that you can trade Brady or the other QB after Week 4. A solid QB is important to have on your team, and somebody in your league may be struggling with their QB by Week 5 and be looking to make a deal.

Option B) Drafting a QB later in the Draft to handle the first 4 weeks

You could just take Garoppolo. I’ve done some research and the quarterbacks below are available towards the end of your draft and have solid matchups in the first 4 weeks of the season. They can then be dropped or traded.

(Order of preference) Name (team): Week 1/Week 2/Week 3/Week 4

#1 Carson Palmer (Arizona): New Orleans/Chicago/San Francisco/St. Louis

  • 3 good matchups, 1 neutral

#2 Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota): San Francisco/Detroit/San Diego/Denver

  • 2 good matchups, 2 neutral

#3 Eli Manning (New York Giants): Dallas/Atlanta/Washington/Buffalo

  • 2 good matchups, 1 neutral, 1 bad

#4 Sam Bradford (St. Louis): Atlanta/Dallas/New York Jets/Washington

  • 2 good matchups, 1 neutral, 1 bad

#5 Joe Flacco (Baltimore): Denver/Oakland/Cincinnati/Pittsburgh

  • 1 good matchup, 3 neutral


Le’Veon Bell (2 game suspension)

Bell is a top-3 fantasy running back but it going to miss the first 2 weeks of the season. How do you replace his lost production? First of all, you draft his handcuff DeAngelo Williams later in the draft. I would advise to take his handcuff no matter what: see Lisa London’s article.

I’ve done some research and found 3 running back situations that have favorable matchups in the first 2 weeks and are being drafted in the middle rounds or later. These players can be traded later or used as flex plays throughout the season:

(Order of preference) Name (Team): Week 1/Week 2

#1 Andre Ellington (Cardinals): New Orleans/Chicago

  • 2 great match-ups and can easily see him as a RB2/Flex on your team throughout season, not just for 2 weeks

#2 Rashad Jennings/Shane Vereen (New York Giants): Dallas/Atlanta

  • 2 solid match-ups and can be seen as a flex for most of the season, especially if teams try to take away the pass with OBJ and Cruz. Watch the preseason to notice if the Giants favor one over the other for touches

#3 Bobby Rainey/Charles Sims/Doug Martin: Tennessee/New Orleans

  • 2 great match-ups especially with a rookie quarterback. The Bucs will want to establish the run early and often, watch the preseason and see who is the favorite for touches heading into the season

As long as you have a plan in place, you can be comfortable taking either Brady or Bell. Be prepared and go get ’em!

About Dan Collins

I have always been an avid football enthusiast. The NFL Draft and Fantasy Football is my passion in the realm of football. I write Mock Drafts and inform readers of what is happening during the critical stages of the NFL Draft. I spend way too much time working through Fantasy Football analysis, situations, and thoughts; it is an issue. Follow on Twitter @Dan_R_Collins for Football info and the occasional joke or wisecrack.