Through three games this season, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots has yet to crack the top 10 in fantasy scoring at his position during a single week. In a league with so many dual-threat options at his position, he is no longer a top-three fantasy option.
He doesn’t run the football (or, by extension, gain rushing yards that are 2.5 times more valuable than passing yards), but we knew that coming into the season.
What Brady hasn’t done during the first three weeks of the season—which he usually does—is throw the ball as dynamically as he can.
He’s actually on pace to throw 629 passes in 2012, which is 18 more than the 611 he amassed in 2011. What's more, Brady is completing 66.9 percent of his passes this season, compared to 65.6 percent in the previous campaign.
With that being said, through three games, Brady is averaging one yard less per attempt this year (7.52) than last year (8.57).
He’s projected to throw for 4,731 yards this season, which is obviously impressive, but almost 500 yards fewer than what he compiled in 2011 (5,235).
That’s especially concerning considering that Brady had his three biggest games in terms of passing yardage in the first three weeks of that season. He threw for 517 yards in Week 1 at the Miami Dolphins, 423 yards in Week 2 at home against the San Diego Chargers and 387 yards in Week 3 at the Buffalo Bills.
He had 11 touchdowns in those three games to go with five interceptions.
So far, Brady has thrown only one interception, but that's little more than a silver lining based on his lack of touchdown production.
Through three games this season, Brady has just four passing touchdowns. That includes two games in which he threw only one scoring strike.
He had two games in all of last year that fit that description.
The reason why Brady can no longer be considered a top-three option appears to be based on a few things.
It certainly isn’t because Brady regressed in the offseason. The emergence of Stevan Ridley (4.5 yards per carry in 2012) and an improved Patriots defense, on the other hand, are both factors.
Unlike 2011, when this team had a historically bad defense, the Patriots don’t have to rely on Brady to keep up with other offenses in 2012.