Tom Brady might have not been very popular during season long fantasy league drafts, but his reinstatement in the NFL has made him very popular for those getting ready for daily fantasy football and those that haven’t had their season long league drafts yet.
Does this mean that Brady should be started in Week #1 in your daily league? Not necessarily. The New England Patriots are going up against the Pittsburgh Steelers the first week, and the Steelers have had more stability in their roster than the Pats have. Brady has some familiar weapons with Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, which will help his passing game immensely, but Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Reggie Wayne are off the team. Brandon LaFell won’t be back until at least Week #8. This won’t affect Brady’s passing game much, but the running game will be impacted a little bit, which could mean fewer points scored over the course of the season. This is something that could be overcome, but Week #1 probably isn’t the place where this will happen. In this respect, Brady might not be the steal that everyone now thinks that he is.
However, there are other players that will now have huge value. Edelman and Gronkowski, who were mentioned above, now have a ton of daily fantasy potential. Some daily leagues rolled out Week #1 signups before the Brady ruling last week, and that means that the top Patriot receivers are priced at a level that doesn’t take his accuracy and playmaking ability into account. Drafting either Edelman or Gronkowski onto your roster–or both–will create great value for you and help you stretch out your available salary.
So, while drafting Brady might not be the most productive choice in some leagues, drafting his teammates because of the benefits that they will see is very smart. The issue with drafting Brady isn’t that he’s not likely to play well, but that many people will draft him and there are better opportunities out there. Andrew Luck of the Colts should do well against the Buffalo Bills defense. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers should also post great stats against the Chicago Bears. The problem is that for the price Brady will be given his stats are not quite as likely to be as high as others in the same range.
The Steelers face a bigger problem for this game, though. Le’Veon Bell will be serving the first game of his suspension for this matchup. He was one of the top producing running backs last year, and will be sorely missed by QB Ben Roethlisberger. In addition to 1,300 plus yards rushing, he also had several catches for 854 yards last year. There are valid daily fantasy choices on the Steelers, but the top choice is out, and Roethlisberger will be limited as a result. Big Ben himself could be a good choice at QB on your roster, in fact. He’s likely to be cheaper than Brady, but has posted great stats the last several years. The Patriots have a stronger defense than the Steelers do, and this is one of the biggest reasons why the Patriots are the favorites in this game. Still Roethlisberger is talented and could put up decent numbers regardless. He had a better overall QB Rating than Brady did at the end of the regular season with his 103.3 (compared to Brady’s 97.4).
In the NFL, value is something that you need to have in mind when you are drafting a QB. Depending upon the weekend, the projected points are not always going to be highest for the quarterback. You should be trying to get points first and foremost, and if the QB isn’t the place where you will get the most, you need to be prepared to spend less, but still trying to get more. In this particular scenario, especially with so many great receivers in the league, Roethlisberger should be much higher on your list than Brady. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that you are maximizing your points, even if you have to spend more than you think to do so. As long as you don’t go up over your salary, this is completely fine.