Recently, I posted a column on SportsIllustrated.com that shared some facts you NEED to know and some facts you DON’T need to know. One of the highlights from that set of interesting facts is that Tom Brady faces a very tough Patriots 2012 schedule for a Fantasy quarterback. So I thought I’d do a quick breakdown of the defenses they face, so you know what you’ll face.
New England Patriots 2012 Schedule
(Pass defense rankings from 2011 season)
- Week 1 – at Tennessee (14)
- Week 2 – vs. Arizona (17)
- Week 3 – at Baltimore (4)
- Week 4 – at Buffalo (19)
- Week 5 – vs. Denver (18)
- Week 6 – at Seattle (11)
- Week 7 – vs. N.Y. Jets (5)
- Week 8 – at St. Louis (7)
- Week 9 – BYE
- Week 10 – vs. Buffalo (19)
- Week 11 – vs. Indianapolis (15)
- Week 12 – at N.Y. Jets (4)
- Week 13 – at Miami (25)
- Week 14 – vs. Houston (3)
- Week 15 – vs. San Francisco (16)
- Week 16 – vs. at Jacksonville (8)
- Week 17 – vs. Miami (25)
Patriots 2012 Schedule poses problems
The first things that stick out for me are the Patriots’ opponents during the Fantasy Football playoffs. The Texans, Niners and Jaguars rank among the upper half of pass defenses. And when you consider that Houston and San Francisco also rank in the top five in rushing defenses, you realize it’s going to be a tough time for the Patriots offenses altogether.
Six games against the AFC East hurts the Patriots also. The Bills had one of the better offseasons, adding the best free-agent pass rusher available in former No. 1 overall draft pick DE Mario Williams.
And the Jets have Darrelle Revis, considered by many to be the top cornerback in the game, and the Jets are one of the top defenses overall over the past three seasons.
The Patriots face passing defenses that ranked in the top 10, for the most part, with a few in the teens, and only one ranked after 20 (Dolphins).
Fantasy Fans of Stevan Ridley should also be concerned about the rushing defenses the Patriots face. They face the top four rushing defenses from a year ago, and they face the Dolphins (third) twice, including in the Week 17 finale. Fantasy owners with Brady should find some good news if they are in 17-week leagues, since the Dolphins are 25t h against the pass.
By no means should you avoid Brady just because of the Patriots 2012 schedule he faces (he has faced some tough ones in the past, too). But this is one of many variables that you should consider when weighing draft pick options. Even with such a stout schedule ahead of him, I still rank him among the top five quarterbacks in fantasy play, as do many mainstream experts, and many independent sites.