Fantasy Football Impact: Tom Brady Signs With Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It has finally happened. By all available reports, Tom Brady is leaving the New England Patriots and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Reportedly, the Los Angeles Chargers were also interested in Brady but were not able to get his signature. Per NFL.com ” Just hours after announcing he would not be returning to the New England Patriots, Tom Brady found his next destination. TB12 is on his way to T.B. Brady has finalized an agreement to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a deal worth roughly $30 million per year, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed. .Brady’s big move down south comes after a whirlwind day of speculation. Brady announced early Tuesday morning that he would not return to the Patriots in 2020 but a verbal decision on where the QB would land was not expected until Wednesday at the earliest.”
FOREVER A PATRIOT pic.twitter.com/QSBOJBs4uy
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) March 17, 2020
While many people feel many emotional things about Tom Brady leaving New England and Tampa Bay moving on from Jameis Winston, all we really care about is how this is going to impact our fantasy football teams.
Tom Brady And His Fantasy Football Impact On Tampa Bay
If you are going to be upset by math that shows that Tom Brady is not invincible or better for fantasy than Jameis Winston, I would suggest you stop reading. Jameis Winston was one of our favorite quarterbacks in our projections last season. We bet him to lead the league in passing yards (he did) and projected him for a career-high YPA (which he surpassed by leaps and bounds).
Tom Brady has topped 7.8 YPA six times in 19 seasons. His YPA over the last three seasons combined ranks 20th of all quarterbacks who attempted 300 or more passes in that time frame. Marcus Mariota, Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, and Ryan Fitzpatrick are all examples of QB’s who have been better than Brady in YPA over the last three seasons. We are not going through this exercise to trash Tom Terrific, but merely explaining where some of the math behind our projections are coming from.
Over the last three years, Jameis ranks seventh in the NFL in YPA. In 2019, he was the second-most aggressive quarterback in average intended air yards per throw. Winston was a natural fit for the Bruce Arians offense and make the life of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin much easier. This is not an argument that Winston or Brady is “better”, this is merely about the median outcomes for fantasy football.
Our initial projection has Tom Brady as the QB18 in fantasy football with this as his projected statline:
Those all seem like reasonable expectations given the environment. Tom Brady isn’t going to come close to Jameis’ league-leading interception tallies which continually forced the Buccaneers into pass-heavy game scripts. It is perhaps possible that we are slightly too low on the Buccaneers pace of play or pass-to-rush ratio but the fact is that last years’ Buccaneers were the perfect marriage of quarterback aggressiveness, play-calling system, wide receiver talent and lack of running back talent.
The Buccaneers are likely to add at least one veteran running back and possibly one in the draft. Brady has only finished as a top-12 quarterback once in the last four years (though in that season he was the third-highest scoring QB); the most likely scenario in Tampa Bay is not the fantasy-friendly bonanza that we had last season. That is going to disappoint a lot of people, that is going to be shocking to many people who believe Tom Brady is some unimpeachable deity but it is the fact of the matter.
Chris Godwin and Mike Evans’ are still projected as top 15 fantasy football wide receivers but if the team signs a pass-catching running back or Antonio Brown (as rumors are suggesting) then the pieces of a smaller pie are going to become smaller pieces which has a trickle-down effect of making everyone in the offense just a little bit worse for fantasy.
Are the Buccaneers going to be BAD? Of course not. Are they going to be topping their positions like they did last season for fantasy? Almost assuredly not.