I'll probably become the least popular analyst in America for saying it, especially to all those owners that took him over Peyton Manning, but Tom Brady is not an elite fantasy quarterback. In fact, he's no better than average.
Through four games, Brady has thrown for 1,129 yards and just four touchdowns with two interceptions. Stretching those numbers out through simple math (we're a quarter of the way through the season), Brady will throw for roughly 4,500 yards and 16 touchdowns this year.
Are those the numbers of an elite fantasy quarterback?
Indeed, 2009 is serving as a reality check for everyone that jumped on the Brady Bandwagon after his ridiculous 2007 season and anointed him the sacred hybrid of Marino and Fouts and Tarkenton rolled into one, model-dating man.
Sorry, everyone, Brady's never been fantasy elite, and shouldn't have been treated as such.
I'll accept that Brady's yardage is solid this year, and that he's played two of his four games without Wes Welker. I'll also accept that Brady's played some tough defensive teams so far this season.
My counter arguments, though, are looking at one player Brady does have in the huddle, and a look at Brady's history.
The smaller reason I'm not as excited about Brady this year is that Fred Taylor has played well for the Pats. Though his carries have been limited, largely because he's not selling tickets like Randy Moss or Brady are, he's averaged 4.5 yards per rush this season. As the weather begins to play a bigger factor in the Northeastern region, Taylor's strong start and Bill Belichek caring more about winning than individual players could lead to Taylor getting more touches.
The bigger reason I'm running away from the Brady Bandwagon is a look back at his career statistics. If you take 2007 out fo the equation, Brady has average 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Put that into a context that shows Carson Palmer averaging 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions per (healthy) season. Philip Rivers has average 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his three full seasons as San Diego's starter as well.
Does that mean we're going to elevate Rivers and Palmer into that "elite" class of quarterback? Most leagues have 10 or 12 teams... are we going to have five quarterbacks being selected in the first round? I don't think so. But, if you look at Brady's career, he falls more into a mid-round quarterback selection that his 50 touchdown season would lead the Brady Bandwagon to believe.
In fact, if you take 2007 off his resume, Brady doesn't have a single season with a passer rating higher than 94 in his career.
If you're looking for a field general who's going to win championships, then I would absolutely recognize Brady as being in an elite class with only Peyton Manning. But in Fantasy Football, you don't get points for playoff wins or tough four-yard conversions in January. It's about production, and Brady's not an elite fantasy quarterback.