Fantasy Football: Should Tom Brady Owners Panic?

Ryan LesterSenior Writer ISeptember 13, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after an incomplete pass in the second quarter while taking on the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is clearly frustrated with the way the 2013 season has started for the Patriots despite their 2-0 record. While it’s true that a win is a win, especially against divisional foes, it doesn’t help fantasy owners avoid similar frustration.

Through two games Brady has thrown for 473 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Per game averages of 236.5 yards and 1.5 touchdowns might cut it for Andy Dalton owners, but not for one of fantasy football’s elite quarterback options.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Rob Gronkowski has yet to play, Wes Welker is catching balls from Peyton Manning, Aaron Hernandez is working on a criminal defense and Brandon Lloyd has moved on from football.

The Patriots brought in Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins to restock the shelves, but there have been some bumps along the way.

Amendola got off to a terrific start, catching 10 passes for 104 yards in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills. In typical Amendola fashion he is already injured, having missed this week’s game against the New York Jets with a groin injury. Share Vereen had seven receptions for 58 yards, but a broken wrist will sideline him until at least Week 11.

Meanwhile, it’s been a bumpy road littered with drops and gaffes for rookies Dobson and Thompkins.

After two games Thompkins has caught just six of his 21 targets for 89 yards. Catching 28 percent of passes thrown by Christian Ponder wouldn’t raise many eyebrows. Catching that percentage from Tom Brady is a different story.

Dobson isn’t much better having caught three of 10 passes (30 percent) for 56 yards and a touchdown. They are still green. Getting their routes down to be where Tom Brady expects them to be will come with practice. The drops can be fixed with better concentration.

Tom Brady is not used to these issues, so they better be resolved quickly.

The lone bright spot has been Julian Edelman.

He has corralled 20-of-27 targets (74 percent) for 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He has averaged just 7.9 yards per catch, but at least he’s securing the ball and moving the chains. Brady can dink and dunk down the field, but Edelman gets doubled in the red zone, the Patriots will have to settle for field goals unless somebody emerges.

Thanks to his rookie receivers Brady is completing just 52.7 percent of his passes. He has a career completion percentage of 63.6 percent and has never dipped below 60 percent in any given season.

His passer rating is 74.1, which is more than 20 points off his 96.3 career mark. His completion percentage to Dobson and Thompkins is 29 percent versus 65 percent for the rest of the team. Once they get on the same page as Brady, expect things to turn around.

It seems likely that Brady won’t achieve the numbers that we’ve grown accustomed to from him. Then again, he’s set the bar so high in recent years that even some regression will still provide a quality fantasy option.

Things should get better. Gronk and Amendola will get healthy. Dobson and/or Thompkins will figure things out. Come season end, you’ll be looking at another 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns from Brady.

Don’t settle for a low-ball offer because he is off to a slow start. On the flip side, if you are looking to buy low on Brady, now’s the time.

If you own Brady, now is not the time to panic.

Also check out Lester's Legends Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings.