Tom Brady: Can the Stetson Man Repeat His MVP Performance in 2011?
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The 2010 season was a strange one for the Stetson Man, and when I say “strange,” I mean that in the best possible way.
As expected, Brady came out of the gates looking like the machine that he is throwing for eight touchdowns compared to just two interceptions over the first three weeks of the season.
However, the Patriots' next four games would not be nearly as kind to the 11-year veteran as Tommy would average a mere 211 yards per contest while tossing up just one TD in each of those four games (he also added two more interceptions to his total).
An uninspiring start such as this would force fantasy owners to question their faith in the 33-year-old QB, especially with WR Wes Welker playing at less than 100 percent and the shocking news that New England had decided to cut ties with one of fantasy’s surest bets over the past decade, WR Randy Moss, just four weeks into the regular season.
But despite what was shaping up to be a slightly disappointing fantasy year for Brady, help would soon be on the way in the form of one of the most unlikely candidates anyone could imagine; former Super Bowl MVP and Patriots favorite son, WR Deion Branch.
Brady and Branch immediately recaptured their rhythm hooking up for 98 yards and a TD on nine catches to defeat the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 in Deion’s first game back as a Patriot. And even though Branch would be relatively quiet over the next few weeks, his presence alone seemed to trigger a fire in Brady that the league had never before seen.
Starting in Week 9, with his team sitting pretty at 6-1, New England’s fearless leader launched a streak that would not only last the remainder of the regular season (and will continue into Week 1 of 2011), but set multiple records along the way.
He would add two more by season’s end and currently has not lost at home for the past three and a half years straight!!! Unreal. Just un-freakin-real.
The second record Brady set over those final nine weeks was consecutive pass attempts without throwing an interception, a streak that currently stands at 338 passes straight. The former record, held by Bernie Kosar, stood at 308 passes and was accomplished back in the 1990-91 season.
Brady’s third installment into the record books turned out to be the most prominent one for fantasy owners.
During his final nine games of the 2010 season, not only did Brady fail to toss up a single interception, but at the same time, he also managed to throw for multiple touchdowns in each and every one of those games.
That’s NINE straight games with at least two TD passes and zero interceptions. Again, it simply has to be said: Un-freakin-believable.
Now even though Brady’s unbeatable playoff stigma seems to have taken a hit as of late, his fantasy prowess remains intact after the MVP performance he put up last year.
He may not have the same unlimited potential as an Aaron Rodgers or Michael Vick at this point, but as long as Coach Bill Belichick continues to put him in a position to succeed (which he will), Brady should be considered a top-five QB in your fantasy league.
2011 Pros & Cons
(+) Brady still throws the best long-ball in the game and is now three years removed from his knee surgery
(+) Even with Randy Moss jettisoned from the team, The Stetson Man still won the league MVP
(+) One of Brady’s old favorites, WR Deion Branch, seems to have revived his career back in New England
(+) The “Slot Machine” (Wes Welker) is now a full year past his knee injury
(+) New England has been a pass-heavy team the past 5 years and Bill Belichick loves to run up the score
(+) The Patriots will likely be taking a wide receiver with one of their four first & second round picks
(+) After a couple of down-years, it looks like the Patriots are back in full force
(+) The solid RB combination of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead seems to be taking the pressure off the passing game
(+) Threw just FOUR interceptions on the entire year and broke the record for most consecutive pass attempts without an INT (338)
(–) New England has been in the top-sic in rushing TDs each of the past five years
(–) Hopefully that pseudo-soccer ponytail he’s been sporting doesn’t turn him into a coward.
(–) With Randy Moss gone, the Patriots don’t have a legitimate deep threat for Brady to throw to
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