Pumped Up: Tom Brady’s Suspension Lifted

Nick Whalen


Did you know Tom Brady was a magician? We don’t know if he deflated any footballs. However, he just put a four-game suspension in his hand, placed a white cloth over it, then POOF it disappeared. The “Deflategate” saga is far from over as the case will continue on. However, the legal process takes time and I’m not going to assume any further suspension for Brady will happen in 2015. Everything I’ve read today has indicated  any likely suspension would likely happen in 2016. This article is not going to cover the court’s decision or the appeal process moving forward, but rather football and the impact it has in dynasty leagues.

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One week from today, Brady will be playing in the regular season opener at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I honestly have my doubts about how well Brady will perform in week one, even though he plays a weak Steelers defense. He took a lot of time away from football to be in court and meeting with his lawyers. This valuable time will make Brady more prone to being rusty and not being in sync with his receivers. Injuries have depleted the weapons on offense this preseason. Brandon Gibson and Brian Tyms have been placed on injured reserve with Josh Boyce and Jonathan Krause being released. Edelman hasn’t participated in team drills since August 2nd due to an ankle injury as well. Most beat reporters believe Brandon Lafell will also start the season on the PUP list, making him unavailable for the start of the season. Aaron Dobson had a hamstring injury in camp and hasn’t performed well in preseason action. Danny Amendola has been the main healthy receiver in camp, which has forced the Patriots to look elsewhere. They signed 36-year old Reggie Wayne and traded for Jalen Saunders just a few days ago. We don’t know which receivers will even play in week one, much less which will have chemistry with Brady.

On the flip side, the third down running back role is still up in the air. James White, Travaris Cadet and Dion Lewis have been battling for the crucial role in the Patriots offense. However, in late August, Brandon Bolden was getting first team reps as the third down back. With four players splitting the reps, it hurts the short-term impact of the position. It hurts even more that Brady has been used to a much better player at the position in Shane Vereen the past few seasons. LeGarrette Blount is suspended for week one, which already created uncertainty in the backfield. Combine all of the injuries at receiver and competition at running back and I have low expectations in week one for this offense.

Brady had a slow start to the 2014 season and some even called him “washed up.” He averaged 13.8 fantasy points per game through four games. However, he turned it around and averaged 27.9 over the next 11 contests. I fully expect Brady and company to take on an “Us vs The World(Goodell/League)” mentality for the 2015 season. However, I don’t expect the same result as the 2007 Spygate season. Brady torched the NFL for 50 touchdowns and led the Patriots to an undefeated regular season that year. However, the talent pool was much deeper in 2007 with Wes Welker, Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, Kevin Faulk, and Ben Watson. Even though I don’t expect records to be set, I do think he will have a solid season. The Patriots 2015 schedule is about even in regards to facing seven bottom half pass defenses and nine top half. However, I do expect them to be in more shootouts in 2015. The defense was eighth in the NFL in points per game, but they suffered heavy losses in the off-season – they lost both starting cornerbacks in Brandon Browner and superstar Darrelle Revis and an anchor in the middle of that defense for the past decade in Vince Wilfork.

2015 Prediction

405 completions on 632 attempts (64%) for 4,400 yards 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions  

Despite the injuries at receiver and the rust he’ll have to shake off from his off the field distractions, Tom Brady will have a very good 2015 season. He still has the best TE in the world in Rob Gronkowski and Edelman will heal up before the season. The Patriots will piece together the rest of that offense and be a top 10 NFL offense. Owners of Jimmy Garoppolo will just have to wait to see how well he’d fare in live actions. At this point, he’s shown more than enough to be a “hold” in dynasty leagues.

Long Term Projection

Brady is 38 years old and has a three-year contract for $27 million with $18 million guaranteed. Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Brandon Lafell, Danny Amendola and LeGarrette Blount are all under contract for the next two seasons.

Takeaway: With the way Brady fought this suspension, it reveals the competitor in him and how much he still wants to continue to play football. His contract is very reasonable for the next three years, so the Patriots would be glad to have him. It also leaves the door open for the Patriots to spend some money to surround him with better talent. However, I think Brady could fall off very quickly and wouldn’t trust him as a QB1 beyond the 2015 season.


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