Week Fifteen Analysis:
Tom Brady will need to make due without star tight end Rob Gronkowski again. It'll hurt. We got a long look at the Gronkless Patriots in weeks 1-6, and Brady averaged 51 fewer yards and a half touchdown less in those games. Statistically, without Gronkowski, Brady is almost exactly Joe Flacco. Compounding matters, when Tom Brady last saw these Dolphins, in week eight, even with Gronk, he only put up 116 yards and one score. What's more, Brady has only scored five touchdowns in his last four games against Miami's solid secondary. Over Miami's last eight games, they've only allowed four passing touchdowns, so start Flacco-Brady with caution.
Week Fourteen Analysis:
The Browns secondary was an elite unit at the start of the season, but they've slipped dramatically over the past month. Even elite cover corner Joe Haden has been blown up in back to back games. They've allowed multiple passing touchdowns in seven straight games. And this is really damning: they let Chad Henne throw two touchdowns last week. Now they face Tom Brady, who has rebounded phenomenally from his slow start to the year. Over the last month, Brady has averaged 360 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game. The Browns have been especially vulnerable to tight ends, and the Gronkowski matchup alone makes Brady a great start.
Week Thirteen Analysis:
Tom Brady added to his legacy last Sunday night with his epic comeback victory. He'll need no such heroics this week as he faces a downtrodden Houston team that's lost nine in a row for the first time in franchise history. Houston's secondary started the season well, but has slumped along with the rest of the organization. Over the past six games, they've allowed big games to Sam Bradford, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer, and Matt McGloin, including three 3-touchdown games in that span. Needless to say, anything Matt McGloin can do, Tom Brady can do better. The only question is whether his pass count will be high enough to support a big statistical day.
Week Twelve Analysis:
Tom Brady played pretty well on Monday night, but he didn't generate many fantasy points. Again. Brady has now thrown zero or one touchdown in five of his last six games. And he's been held under 300 yards in five of his last six games. In his defense, he's mostly played against difficult opponents during that stretch of games. He won't this week. Denver ranks 30th against passing yards, and they've allowed a mediocre 17 passing touchdowns, including two to Alex Smith last week, a guy who is allergic to fantasy points. Brady certainly gets up for his Peyton Manning rivalry games, and I'm not counting him out of this matchup.
Week Eleven Analysis:
When we last saw Tom Brady he was carving up a very good Pittsburgh secondary for 400 and 4. He's now facing an even bigger challenge, Carolina. The Panthers rank No. 5 in passing yards allowed and No. 1 in passing touchdowns allowed. Every opposing quarterback has thrown for zero or one touchdown against the Panthers. Last week Colin Kaepernick threw for a scoreless 91 yards against Carolina. The ferocious Carolina front seven could easily end up dominating the banged-up Patriots offensive line. And, before you point back to Brady's four touchdown game before last week's bye, remind yourself of his previous month of games, in which he threw a total of two touchdowns.
Week Nine Analysis:
Yep, it's a near bench grade for Tom Brady as he continues to struggle, and now faces an elite pass defense. After another one-touchdown game last week, Brady has two total touchdowns since week four. And don't blame it all on his receivers. Brady is misfiring plenty. And here comes Pittsburgh, a pass defense that has been fantastic all year. The Steelers have allowed zero or one touchdown in every game but one. Only one quarterback has topped 250 yards all year. Even in a six-team bye week, there's a good chance you've got a better option than Brady on your roster.
Week Eight Analysis:
The Dolphins are allowing the sixth-most passing yards per game at 288 yards per game. However they've only yielded 8 touchdown passes, which is the eighth best total in the league. Normally I'd say this should lead to a high yardage game for Tom Brady, but by all accounts, this isn't your mother's Tom Brady. Let's count it down: Five times this year, Brady has been held under 230 yards. Four times this year, he's been held to one or fewer touchdown passes. He's thrown three interceptions in the last three games. And, he's been held without a touchdown pass in two of the last three weeks. You'd have been better off starting almost any other quarterback for most of this year. Fortunately, Rob Gronkowski is back in the lineup, which means that Brady is still worth a start in most leagues.
Week Seven Analysis:
With only one touchdown in the past two weeks, and only one 300-yard game all year, I can understand why people would be nervous about starting Tom Brady. Your concerns should be magnified by Brady's lousy effort against the Jets in week two, when he posted just 185 yards and one touchdown. While we're being pessimistic, let's add in the head injury to Danny Amendola and the always murky prospects of Rob Gronkowski. Working in Brady's favor is a pretty good historic track record against New York, the improvements of Aaron Dobson, and the acquisition of Austin Collie. And, the Jets secondary has been just okay this year. Put it all together and, Brady isn't a certain starter here.
Week Six Analysis:
Meet the new Tom Brady, the guy whose fantasy points rank somewhere in the Andy Dalton/Sam Bradford territory in you league. The guy whose consecutive game touchdown streak was just halted, and who is averaging a pedestrian 242 yards and 1.4 touchdowns per game. And, to be clear, it's not all his receivers' fault. Last week, Brady was misfiring. There's legitimate reason to worry about Tom Brady's fantasy production. Boy, that feels weird to say. The two solid quarterbacks to face the Saints have had a lot of fantasy success. Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler threw for 304 and 358 yards and two touchdowns apiece. Meanwhile, Josh Freeman, Carson Palmer, and Ryan Tannehill did absolutely nothing. Presumably, Tom Brady is in the first category, even though he hasn't played like it.
Week Five Analysis:
Statistically speaking, this year's 4-0 start by the Patriots has come on the heels of Tom Brady's least accurate season in his career. That's right, Brady's 58.9% completion percentage is the first time that number has ever dipped below 60 this late into the season. But much of that has to do with his rag-tag group of misfit receivers. They're starting to improve though, Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman have shown brilliance in small flashes and we're possibly looking at the return of both Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola. As for his opponent, when healthy, this is a really good Cincinnati secondary. Cincinnati has not allowed a 300-yard passing game to an opponent since Week 2 of last season and only two quarterbacks have thrown multiple touchdown passes against the Bengals in their last 12 games. But be sure to watch the health of Leon Hall, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Terrance Newman, and bump Brady accordingly.
Week Four Analysis:
Tom Brady's shaky receiver corps looked a little better last week, and the Falcons secondary doesn't appear to be the same dominating unit it was last year. So, Brady feels like a fairly solid play. But, let's be honest here, there's a reason Brady ranks in the mid-20s in your league's scoring system. His three games have been pedestrian: 5 touchdowns and 232 yards per game. Fortunately, the Falcons secondary has struggled, allowing 315 passing yards per game and 2 and 1/3 touchdowns per game, including a couple scores to Ryan Tannehill last week. I'm hoping Rob Gronkowski is available for this game, as the Falcons have already allowed two tight end scores in just three games. Nudge Brady up a few spots if Gronk goes.
Week Three Analysis:
Last year, this would have been a primo matchup for Tom Brady, facing off against a horrific secondary. But, just two games later, there's a lot of reason for doubt. Brady's new receivers have been awful. Brady looked like he was ready to decapitate Aaron Dobson last Thursday. And the Bucs new secondary, featuring Darrelle Revis has looked pretty good. They frustrated Drew Brees last week, and have allowed just two passing touchdowns all year. I'll note, though, that the Bucs may be without suspended safety Dashon Goldson. Check his appeal status, and nudge Brady up or down a few spots accordingly. Unless Rob Gronkowski surprises me and plays this week, Brady gets one of his lowest rankings in the history of FantasyVictory.
Week Two Analysis:
The New England passing game is in great flux. And despite a preseason in which it appeared that Brady wouldn't skip a beat, a makeshift Bills secondary frustrated him. He's got a much tougher matchup this week. The Jets secondary was very good last year, even without Darelle Revis. And last week, they held Josh Freeman to a miserable 48% completion rate, 210 yards, and just one score. Tom Brady was not in sync with his new receivers last week, and it's not clear how long Brady will need, but until then, this matchup looks potentially dangerous. Brady threw two and three touchdowns in last year's matchups, so he's still a good start. But I don't see his usual high ceiling.
Week One Analysis:
Tom Brady owns the Bills like no other team. He's thrown multiple touchdowns in 12 of his last 13 games against Buffalo. He's thrown three or four touchdowns in five of his past six games against Buffalo. Meanwhile, the Buffalo secondary is a wreck. Their best cover corner, Stephen Gilmore, is out for the first half of the season. And the team's second-leading tackler last year, strong safety George Wilson was an offseason cap casualty. Elite safety Jarius Byrd refused to report to the Bills until last week, due to a contract dispute. No matter which receivers are lined up around him, Tom Brady is in for another monster game against his biggest whipping boys.
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I'm of the opinion that Tom Brady is the best quarterback ever. But, he'll need to validate my faith in him this year like never before. 84% of last year's receptions went to players who are currently either A) on other teams, B) significantly injured, or C) brushing up on Massachusetts death penalty laws. That only leaves 16% of last year's passes going to guys who are on roster this year, and mostly that's running back Shane Vereen. And, the issue isn't just familiarity, it's talent and health. Danny Amendola needs to stay healthy for the first time in his career. Rookie Aaron Dobson needs to prove he's NFL ready. Michael Jenkins is just a warm body. Hopefully Rob Gronkowski doesn't start the season on the PUP list. There's a ton of question marks here, and for the first time a decade, it's fair to wonder if Brady will return to his usually predictable numbers.