April 25, 2016 Update: Tom Brady’s four-game suspension has been reinstated by a U.S. Court of Appeals.
—–ORIGINAL May 11, 2015 ARTICLE———
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Tom Brady has been suspended four games by the league for violating the NFL policy on the integrity of the game. From a fantasy football perspective, the loss of Tom Brady this September (pending appeal) will remind owners of his production last September. In case you forgot, Brady averaged less than 200 passing yards per game with four touchdown passes and two interceptions the first four weeks of 2014. He then proceeded to torch secondaries the next four weeks to the tune of 14 touchdowns with no interceptions in October. He finished the season ranked QB7 averaging more than 20 points per game over 17 weeks.
The assumed loss of Brady opens the door for fantasy owners and Patriots fans to learn what the next era of New England football could look like. Unless the Patriots make an unforeseen roster move, second-year trigger Jimmy Garoppolo will take the snaps for the Patriots. Here’s a brief overview of his college stats while leading the University of Tony Romo, a.k.a. Eastern Illinois of the FCS (Stats):
Now, it could just be me, but owning a completion percentage south of 63 percent within a 45-FCS-game sample size could be reason for us to worry. It could just be me or …
"Is a tad undersized with small hands and short arms. Uses a three-quarters delivery that could lead to batted balls. Works heavily out of the shotgun in a spread offense, and footwork could require adjustment to working from under center. Does not always feel pressure in the pocket. Does not rip the deep out or drive the ball with high RPMs. Undershoots and often hangs the deep ball. Makes receivers work for the ball downfield, and deep accuracy could stand to improve. Makes a lot of simple, one-look reads and was not heavily challenged by consistent pressure or complex looks in the Ohio Valley Conference."- Nolan Nawrocki, NFL.com Garoppolo draft scouting report
To be fair, all 32 teams scouted Garoppolo before the draft and any pre-draft analysis was before he had a chance to learn from Tom Brady and Bill Belichick for a season. For the sake of this exercise, we’ll refrain from low-hangingDeflategate snark that doesn’t truly impact your fantasy football thoughts on either player or coach.
Here’s what Jimmy G. has in front of him the first month of the 2015 season: