Rapid React: Air let out of Tom Brady's fantasy value ... somewhat
The Buzz: As anticipated, the NFL levied a weighty four-game suspension on Tom Brady in wake of the deflate-gate scandal and subsequent obstructions described in the Wells Report. That's double what Ray Rice received for a far more heinous offense. "Logical." To no one's surprise, Brady is expected to appeal, which could reduce missed time to a measly two games.
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The Spin: In what should amount to a slap on the wrist, a consequence that would cost Brady only 15 percent of the fantasy regular season, the Super Bowl MVP shouldn't be moved down cheat sheets significantly. If, however, his appeal is denied, that's an entirely different ball game. Owners, working under the previous assumption, should demote him slightly. Still, no person wants to start off the season 0-2 (or 0-4) and given the incredible depth at QB many will bypass Tom Terrific (39.3 Yahoo ADP, QB6) for a Ben Roethlisberger (62.2, QB9), Tony Romo (66.7, QB11), Eli Manning (95.9, QB12) or Ryan Tannehill (110.9, QB14), which is understandable. After all, thanks in large part to a rocky start, Brady finished behind each of them in standard per game average last year. Those tied to Brady also deserve minimal reductions, if any. Gronk will still Gronk and Julian Edelman will still thrive in PPR even with Jimmy Garoppolo under center.
The Bottom Line: Aside from the small devaluation, there's not much to see here for the shallow leaguer. Brady, who went nuts after Spy Gate, will be highly motivated upon his reinstatement. The Pats are blessed with a number of weapons including the likes of Gronk, Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola. Combine that with a suspect run game and the ninth-easiest fantasy schedule for QBs and it's possible he averages some 38 pass attempts per game in a top-10 campaign this fall. Off a 4,109-yard, 33:9 TD:INT effort, he remains a safe investment anytime after Round 6 in 12-team drafts.
On a side note, Garoppolo becomes an instant player of interest in two-QB and daily formats. His likely affordable price and matchup against a very young Pittsburgh D that surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to QBs last year are enticing. Also keep in mind, the Pats will be without LeGarrette Blount opening night as the rusher serves a one-game suspension stemming from his smoke-out with Le'Veon Bell last year. Garoppolo's quick release, pocket poise and system experience could lead to a surprising out-of-the-gate performance. Remember him.
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