The NFL announced Monday that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s suspension will be for four games to start the 2015 NFL season for his part in #DeflateGate — the controversy surrounding the deflated balls in the 2014 AFC Championship Game.
It wasn’t as shocking as some of the NFL’s other recent announcements, including both Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice’s suspensions last season. We knew something like this was coming because of the NFL’s hard stances taken this past calendar year, the Patriots’ past transgression (SpyGate) and the fact they tried to cover up what they did. (That’s the gist, let’s not get into semantics.)
In reality, the only thing that matters to Fantasy Football players is – what does Tom Brady’s suspension mean for your 2015 Fantasy Football draft? We take a quick pass over the details, and offer up a kneejerk response to it all.
You know, just in case you’re drafting on May 15.
Tom Brady’s Suspension: The Garoppolo Situation
First, let’s talk about Brady’s expected replacement under center in Foxboro, sophomore quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Jack Delaney of SoCalledFantasyExperts.com did a great job breaking down Garoppolo’s profile for the coming season, by looking back at his college numbers at Eastern Illinois and his short 27-pass NFL career.
He likes Garoppolo as a Fantasy backup to start the season, and that makes sense to me, as we saw what Matt Cassel did in Brady’s stead back in 2008.
How Does Brady’s Suspension Affect the 2015 QB Rankings?
I had Brady’s suspension baked into my initial go-round on the 2015 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings, but I didn’t expect four games. I had Brady ranked fourth behind the big three of Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.
Drew Brees lost a lot this offseason, especially superstar tight end Jimmy Graham, as well as third-year wideout Kenny Stills. Brees was the only one I considered for the fourth spot above Brady, but I didn’t like it.
First off, the suspension is already being appealed, and I’ll bet deflated balls to practice session video cameras that the suspension gets appealed down to just two games.
Secondly, remember what happened the last time the NFL effed with the Patriots? They went out and scored a record number of points in 2007 after SpyGate happened in the offseason.Well, they don’t have a Randy Moss on their team like they did in 2007, but they will have a healthy Rob Gronkowski. While I don’t see a billion touchdown passes from Brady again, I do see this offense coming out with a vengeance, and making up for Brady’s missed games.
In the long run, I see Brady losing two games to suspension and making up those points quickly, earning top-five Fantasy points at the position.
But until they appeal that decision, I have to rank according to the news I have, and push Brady down to eighth.
Are there more than seven quarterbacks that will score more Fantasy points than Brady next season? Probably.
But are there more than seven quarterbacks that will score more Fantasy points than Brady and whoever you draft to start those first four games for you? Definitely not.
Brady was getting drafted at the back end of Round 5 on May 10. After this news, I see him dropping down to Round 7 in ADP. But really, I’d take him in Round 6 after I locked up three running backs and two star wide receivers. Then I’d take someone like Jay Cutler or Teddy Bridgewater later on to play in the first four weeks.
That replacement QB would then be my first cut once Brady is back and the bye weeks are in full effect.
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.