Entering his 20th season in the NFL, Tom Brady is still proving his doubters wrong. He’s gone from sixth-round pick to best ever over the past two decades.
While many NFL franchises passed on him in the early rounds of the NFL Draft, fantasy owners should not wait too long to take him in their drafts.
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The New England Patriots have built up their receiving corps to the level of, dare we say, Randy Moss and Donte Stallworth from 2007. With targets like Josh Gordon, if he stays on the field, Demaryius Thomas, Julian Edelman, and check-downs like James White and Rex Burkhead in the flat, Brady is well equipped this season.
But just how effective will Brady be in the fantasy game given his penchant to pass first?
Last year, Brady didn’t have a consistent set of receivers for the entire year, and drops cost him a bunch of interceptions. Most of his passing came in the window where Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman were available targets.
In those 10 games, Brady threw for 3,061 yards and only five interceptions. That’s on pace for 4898 yards which would have been his highest career total. With shades of his prime during that 10-game stretch, Brady was downright dominant.
His completion percentage sat in the 65-75 range except for the loss to Tennessee. Now, imagine a full season of that with the addition of Demaryius Thomas, N’Keal Harry, and Jakobi Meyers?
Sure, there’s a ton of targets so it will be tough to peg which Patriots’ receivers to take. But why not take Brady whose total completions and attempts have consistently been in the top 10 of the league.
As for those receiving targets, Brady will have some his most reliable targets in his career in 2019. Here are his top receiving options by completion percent:
- Rex Burkhead – 77.2
- Phillip Dorsett – 73.2 in 2018 (career-high)
- James White – 72.9
- Cameron Meredith – 69.9
- Julian Edelman – 66.6
- Demaryius Thomas – 66.3 in 2018 (career-high)
- Matt LaCosse – 65.9
- Josh Gordon – 58.8
For comparison, over the years, some of Brady’s best targets have had lower catch rates. Moss and Stallworth in 2007 were both only 61.3 percent. Deion Branch had a career 60.6 percent catch rate with the Patriots. Troy Brown between 2001-06 had a 64.8 percent catch rate. And Gronk? He posted just a 65.6 percent catch rate.
The group of targets in 2019 are some of his top pass-catching teammates in two decades.
When Should You Draft Brady?
Brady’s offensive line will give him time to throw and has shown signs of being impenetrable at times. With the slew of receivers, he has, this is an incredible advantage, even for a 42-year-old quarterback.
We got our first look of Brady in game action on Thursday, and he did not disappoint. He went 8 for 12 with 75 yards and led the game’s only touchdown drive.
It’s a small sample size, but his numbers in joint practices have also been consistent with this type of performance. With this in mind, drafting Brady as early as possible might be the best plan for your fantasy team.