With the emergence of young stars like Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady is quickly falling down analysts’ rankings. I’m here to tell you Tom Brady is more than just a familiar name; in fact he could become a value pick with owners forgetting just how valuable this superstar is.
Brady finished last season as the third-best quarterback behind only Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. He passed for 5,235 yards, 39 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions and added three rushing touchdowns. Some would say this is a favorable outcome for Brady, as he’s only topped 5,000 passing yards once in his career. I would say it’s about average.
Brady has finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback in three of his past four full seasons, including two No. 1 finishes. Don’t forget the only year that he didn’t finish Top 3 was his first year back from tearing both his ACL and MCL ligaments. After recovering in 2009, Brady struggled at the beginning of the 2010 season when the New England Patriots traded Randy Moss and shifted to a dink-and-dunk passing offense. Since adapting to this new offensive style and his young tight ends (Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez), Brady has been on an absolute tear. To find out Brady’s average numbers with this new offensive style I took his stats from the second half of 2010, once he had adjusted to the new offense and established rapports with rookies Gronkowski and Hernandez, and last season’s numbers, which amounts to a sample size of 24 games. By finding his per-game average I was able to see Brady’s per-year average stats with their dink-and-dunk offense: 4,872.67 passing yards, 40.7 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions and 2.67 rushing touchdowns. Since the installation of the new offense, Brady has been as sharp as ever – don’t forget this is the same man who threw for 50 touchdowns in 2007.
These aren’t the only reasons to draft Brady this season. Out of the top five quarterbacks from last season, none have gained more than Brady. The Patriots resigned offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was the mastermind behind the Patriots’ record-breaking 2007 season and added Brandon Lloyd, who had the best season of his career in 2010 with McDaniels. Lloyd will provide the Patriots with the vertical, outside-the-numbers threat they have been looking for since losing Moss. His addition will prevent defenses from doubling both Gronkowski and Welker – a strategy that became popular during the end of last season and led to the emergence of Aaron Hernandez. With four pass-catchers (Welker, Gronkowski, Hernandez and Lloyd) who can beat single coverage, Brady will have an easy time picking apart opposing defenses. Don’t forget the Patriots also added Jabar Gaffney, who isn’t a special talent but is a proven outside-the-numbers threat that will feast on the single coverage he will be given because of the other dynamic playmakers on this team. Look for the Patriots offense to be among the best in the league in 2012.
With the emergence of other young quarterbacks, Brady has been getting less attention, and there are signs pointing to him sliding too far in drafts. In my opinion, the only comparable quarterbacks are Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Cam Newton. I would take Brady second behind Rodgers but can understand owners salivating over Newton’s potential. Personally, I’m staying away from Brees with the New Orleans Saints’ disastrous offseason and nightmare contract talks. Either way, 2012 is showing all the signs of a big season for Brady. Don’t miss out.