WATCH: WILL CHRIS HOGAN BE BOOSTED BY BRADY’S RETURN?
Not sure if you’ve heard, but Tom Brady is suiting up for the Patriots this Sunday and is set to make his season debut in Week 5 against the Browns.
Going forward, here are 10 things that TB12’s return will mean for the remainder of the fantasy football season.
10. Jimmy Garoppolo Becomes “Available”
While I’m not predicting a trade, it’s an interesting wrinkle to consider. Jimmy G was terrific in just a game and a half — completing over 71% of his passes for 496 yards and four touchdowns without throwing an interception. His shoulder injury should be just about healed and teams like the Bears and Browns (again) could be hungry for a QB. The offseason might make more sense for a trade, but with Garoppolo under contract for just one more season, a buyer might want to maximize value by getting a deal done now.
9. Patriots’ Defense Will Be More Frustrating
Although they have the talent to put together some monster performance like they did against Houston, New England’s D can already be frustrating at times. With Brady back, they’ll adopt even more of a classic Belichick “bend but don’t break” philosophy. While it may work for the Patriots when it comes to winning games, it’s bound to allow some late fantasy points in games that are wrapped up, and also less sacks/QB pressure with the defense sagging back.
8. Opposing Defenses Become Difficult To Play
Do I need to explain this one? Here’s my formula — Brady = best QB in NFL, therefor Brady > Garoppolo/Brissett. The Patriots won’t be getting shutout by the Bills anymore this season. Whenever Brady’s offense is at full strength it’s usually a bad call to target the team in charge of slowing down their offense.
7. Opposing WR’s Could See Value Boost
Going back to the Patriots on the defensive side, this concept is along the same lines as letting up late points. With Brady back, we might start to see some early leads causing the opposing team to come out firing in the second half. It’s tough to always pick when this will happen, but for example — If NE is up 24-7 at halftime against the Browns on Sunday, I’m a huge Terrelle Pryor fan (and obviously not much of an Isaiah Crowell fan). Essentially game script can become more important than the individual matchup.
6. A Passing Down RB Will Emerge
The question is who? Dion Lewis will be back, but not for another month (and remains extremely injury prone). James White started to heat up late in the passing game last year, even seeing a ridiculous 16 targets from Brady in the AFC Championship game. He’s the favorite to get a boost in value here, but pay attention to how it plays out. D.J. Foster has been a team favorite for a while now and may get a chance to show how he meshes with TB12.
5. Martellus Bennett Will Remain Studly
Bennett had two very strong games while Brady was suspended. The obvious question at TE for the Pats is Gronk, which we’ll get to. But I’d expect Bennett to be one of Brady’s favorite targets regardless of Gronk’s production. Bennett is the first legit pass-catching TE to join forces with Gronk since Aaron Hernandez (and a way better blocker), the Pats are going to take advantage of that. I’m not afraid of playing Bennett, even when New England has all its weapons healthy.
4. LeGarrette Blount’s Value Won’t Drop As Much As You Think
I’ve heard a lot of people mention, “Well, here’s the end of Blount’s hot streak.” Blount isn’t going to be the league-leading rusher he was in Weeks 1-3, but Brady slinging the ball won’t kill LB every week. Like picking opposing receivers, the key will be identifying games that Blount has the best chance to go off. There will be another 4-5 games worth rostering Blount when they use him to drain the clock in the second half. He’ll have some brutal weeks and his low floor is scary, but I won’t completely turn my head to the bruising back.
3. Every Patriots’ WR Gets A Value Bump
Hot take right here! But after some tough weeks with Brissett, a guy like Chris Hogan is about to bounce back in a big way. Now’s the time to use him. Going even deeper, a kid like Malcolm Mitchell could work his way into becoming a legit deep threat by season’s end.
2. But None More Than Julian Edelman
The biggest value boost will clearly come from Julian Edelman, who strives to live life as much like Tom Brady as he can. We won’t get into all the specifics, but TB12 and JE11 are tight (see he even copied his nickname). Edelman’s about to see a monster uptick in targets/receptions and it will last for as long as both are on the field.
1. We May Finally See GRONK!
We’re about to solve one of the world’s greatest mysteries on Sunday. Is Gronk really playing as banged up as he appears? Or are the Pats being sneaky and just keeping him in check until Brady’s return to let him run wild? If Gronk is indeed healthy, it obviously means he’s going to be an elite force, but it also does wonders for Brady’s value. If not, the rest of the pass catchers each get a slight bump until he is, but there’s truly nothing like a healthy No. 87 for the Pats. Whenever Gronk becomes Gronk, I think he and Brady will consistently become two of the top options on a weekly basis once again.
Find me on Twitter @julianedlow
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.