The trials and tribulations of Tom Brady are well-documented and luckily for fantasy owners there are no longer any question marks as to whether or not he will be available to the New England Patriots during the first quarter of the season. Certainly Gronk will continue to GRONK (yes, I used “Gronk” as a verb) as long as he is healthy. On the other hand Julian Edelman or the likes of a Chris Hogan will be subject to a moderate depression of their fantasy value over the first month of the season. But as a shrewd and astute fantasy owner make certain to capitalize if you start to see those names slide a bit in your draft and don’t hesitate to add “Tom Terrific” and stash him because he consistently puts up QB1 numbers and when his suspension is over he’ll be back, middle fingers up!
TE Rob Gronkowski
Gronkowski is the best doing it right now and you’d get little argument otherwise no matter who you ask. Borderline WR1 fantasy numbers from the tight end position is sick and annually warrants first round consideration. Gronk has amassed double-digit touchdowns in six of his seven professional seasons (4 in an injury shortened 2013; only played seven games) and he’s only 27-years-old. There’s a distinct possibility Gronk plays all 16 games this season and DOES NOT finish as the #1 tight end in fantasy (if that happens he won’t be far off). That scenario is feasible because of Brady’s suspension. But it doesn’t matter. Gronkowski should be the first tight end off the board. Don’t overthink it. As CPGM Headley says, “They don’t just give out 99s in Madden.” End of discussion.
WR Julian Edelman
Many fail to realize that Julian Edelman is 30-years-old. A bit of a late bloomer but as good a slot receiver as there is in today’s NFL. Couple of things working against Edelman though; he has missed nine games over the past two seasons and as I mentioned before no Brady for a month. A healthy Julian Edelman is a PPR machine but he’s unlikely to give you the touchdown and yardage totals of a top fantasy option at the receiver position. Over the past couple of seasons I’ve considered Edelman a high end WR2 and as recently as last season (in nine games) Edelman was on pace to set career highs in receptions and yards; in fact he had already set a career high in touchdowns in a single season with seven. That being said I don’t recommend paying for what might have been considering the absence of Brady heading into 2016. Value and draft him as a WR3 with the potential of being a WR2.
QB Tom Brady
That damn Tom Brady. A few seasons ago I thought it was the beginning of the end. Nope. The 39-year-old continues to be remarkably consistent even at an advanced age (for NFLers) and with no true elite receiving threat outside of Gronkowski. Dream scenario is that you stock up on high end running backs and receivers and land a decent stop gap measure at QB (perhaps someone will a favorable schedule to start the season) late in your draft to stabilize your fantasy team until you can unleash what may very well be the best fantasy stash of your respective fantasy football careers. Coming off a season in which he threw for nearly 4800 yards, 36 touchdowns and only 7 INTs; entering a season where he has to serve a four-game suspension (caged lion syndrome) and outfitted with an improved complement of weapons and what is expected to be at least a marginally improved offensive line. I wouldn’t begrudge you if you select Brady where you typically would if he was NOT facing a suspension.
Other of note:
- RB Dion Lewis
- WR Chris Hogan
- TE Martellus Bennett