I’ve completed numerous mock drafts so far in which I’ve saw several where Tom Brady was not selected in the top 5 quarterbacks taken. There are mixed opinions of if Tom Brady is still an elite quarterback this season. Brady’s favorite weapon over the past three years Wes Welker is now in Denver, Rob Gronkowski will open camp on the active/PUP list, and everyone knows what happened with the whole Aaron Hernandez situation as there’s no need to go into detail about that. With the New England Patriots organization up in the air to start the 2013 season, the question remains; is Tom Brady a top 5 quarterback in 2013? Let’s take a look at his career touchdowns, his top three wide receivers and tight end(s) by year;
Tom Brady’s Touchdowns, Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by Year
|2001||18||Troy Brown||David Patten||Terry Glenn/
|2002||28||Troy Brown||David Patten||Deion Branch||Christian Fauria|
|2003||23||Deion Branch||Troy Brown||David Givens||Daniel Graham|
|2004||28||David Patten||David Givens||Deion Branch||Daniel Graham|
|2005||26||Deion Branch||David Givens||Troy Brown||Ben Watson|
|2006||24||Reche Caldwell||Troy Brown||Doug Gabriel||Ben Watson|
|2007||50||Randy Moss||Wes Welker||Donte Stallworth||Ben Watson|
|2008*||0||Randy Moss||Wes Welker||Jabar Gaffney||Ben Watson|
|2009||28||Randy Moss||Wes Welker||Julian Edelman||Ben Watson|
|2010||36||Wes Welker||Deion Branch||Brandon Tate||Rob Gronkowski/
|2011||39||Wes Welker||Deion Branch||Chad Johnson||Rob Gronkowski/
|2012||34||Wes Welker||Brandon Lloyd||Julian Edelman||Rob Gronkowski/
|*Brady injured in game 1, missed season|
As you can see, over the past six seasons, Tom Brady had many more weapons than he did early on in his career. From 2001-2006, Brady averaged 258 fantasy points per season. Once the Patriots acquired Randy Moss, Brady’s numbers changed dramatically. From 2007-2012 (excluding 2008 in which he was injured in week 1), Brady had promising weapons and averaged 375 fantasy points per season making him an elite quarterback. So why shouldn’t Brady continue his top 5 QB status in 2013?
The Patriots signed Danny Amendola formally of the St. Louis Rams to a five-year, $28.5 million contact this past offseason. Many consider Amendola a clone of Brady’s favorite target the past three seasons, Wes Welker. He’s a quick slot receiver with good hands that can rack up a lot of receptions quickly. The main concern with Amendola is his durability. He’s missed a total of 20 games over the past two seasons alone, leaving some skepticism for fantasy owners. The thing owners don’t realize is these injuries were because of physical play rather than nagging injuries. In 2011, he missed the season after dislocating his elbow in the first game of the season. In 2012, he broke his collarbone in which he missed five games. The last time he played all 16 games was back in 2010 when he recorded 85 receptions, 689 receiving yards and three touchdowns. If Amendola can stay healthy, he should be able to put up 100+ receptions.
The next new target Brady will have to get accustom to in 2013 is rookie WR Aaron Dobson. The Marshall product recorded 106 receptions, 1,347 yards, and 15 touchdowns in his past two seasons for the Thundering Herd. He’s a longer wide receiver with above average hands. He’ll be more of a red zone target for Brady rather than a possession receiver like Amendola is. While his upside is limited, he should get all the opportunity in the world to produce better-than-projected numbers in his rookie campaign. He’s worth taking a gamble on in later rounds of fantasy drafts.
The biggest question that looms to start the season is the status of Rob Gronkowski. He’s said to be opening camp on the active/PUP list, as his is not news you want to hear if you’re a Tom Brady owner. When healthy, he’s the best tight end in football, which will only help Brady’s value. The Patriots have two tight ends that could make a difference early on if Gronkowski is to miss multiple games; Jake Ballard and rookie Zach Sudfeld. I have Sudfeld listed as one of my 5 sleeper tight ends as I think he could be a steal of a pick deep into fantasy drafts this season if he’s given the opportunity. Even when Gronkowski comes back, I could see Sudfeld still having a major role similar to what Aaron Hernandez had the past three seasons.
Tom Brady’s ADP May 7 – July 7
If Gronkowski is able to come back by week 7, I see Tom Brady as a top 5 quarterback in 2013. If not, I see him as the 7th-8th quarterback. As Brady’s ADP continues to drop (see chart above), I think he could continue to be a value pick if positive Gronkowski news is to arise. If you’re thinking about drafting Brady, I’d either wait to see what the prognosis is on Gronkowski, or I would pass on Brady for the time being. For the first time since 2006, there are a lot of question marks with not only Tom Brady, but also the Patriots as a whole.
Would you consider Tom Brady a steal at his current round 5 ADP?