2020 NFL Free Agency: Tom Brady Analysis and Fantasy Impact
How will signing with Tampa Bay affect Tom Brady and his Bucs teammates from a fantasy football perspective?
The day has come; an apocalypse is upon us. I am not talking about current events in the world, I am referring to the chaotic and unpredictable start to the NFL league year. Tom Brady, the G.O.A.T., left the team that he started his career with to head to the beaches of Tampa Bay. This is not just any free-agent player leaving their team; THIS IS ****ing TOM BRADY! The 20-year veteran, six-time champion, three-time NFL MVP, four-time Super Bowl MVP who is not just synonymous with the New England Patriots, he was the New England Patriots.
Only time will tell if Brady, at this stage of his career, can be successful apart from Bill Belichick and if Belichick can win without Brady. I would not bet against either G.O.A.T., Brady or Belichick, being successful. After all, both of their legacies depend on it. After hearing the news of Brady signing with Tampa Bay and finally picking my jaw up off of the ground, I began to look at how this would impact the upcoming fantasy football season.
Tampa Bay/Tom Brady Impact
Bill Belichick and New England had the perfect system for Brady. It was one that accentuated the quarterback’s strengths and Tom Brady almost always executed it flawlessly. Brady going to the Buccaneers means moving to a new team with a coach and a system that strives to be a downfield explosive passing offense. For a 42-year-old QB with what most people would say are declining physical tools, the fit seems peculiar. However, upon closer examination, Tampa Bay has a lot to offer Brady as long as the team and his new teammates adapt and buy into the Brady way. Brady not only has the intelligence to utilize the skills of everyone around him, but he also possesses the required leadership skills and credentials to get everyone to buy in.
Tom Brady Prediction: Top-Ten Fantasy Quarterback
With the help of the G.O.A.T., Mike Evans might finally be able to elevate out of the maddening inconsistencies that have defined his last few fantasy seasons. The 6-foot-5 uber-productive receiver could play more of a “tight end” role in Brady’s offense. That means Evans playing the “Gronk” role in this offense as the big-bodied, reliable pass-catching threat. There is evidence that Evans could succeed in this role, as he ranked third in contested catch rate in the NFL in 2018. Evans has posted over 1,000 yards every year of his career, so if he can gain Tom Brady’s trust, then Brady could elevate Evans into one of the most potent receivers in the NFL.
Mike Evans Prediction: Top-Five Fantasy Wide Receiver
Chris Godwin saw a breakout season with Jameis Winston, mainly, at the helm of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense. Godwin’s receiving yards jumped from 842 in 2018 to 1,333 yards in 2019. Godwin could fit the role of go-to receiver for Brady. Tampa Bay could move Godwin around and create mismatches for Brady to exploit. This would be a role similar to what Wes Welker/Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola played for the Patriots for so long. Although Godwin might not see as many targets as he got from Winston, who appeared to drop back and chuck the ball in a random direction 40 times a game, he can be just as productive with Brady putting him in positions to succeed.
Chris Godwin Fantasy Prediction: Top- Five Fantasy Wide Receiver
At the age of 42, can Tom Brady elevate the rest of the talent on the roster besides Evans and Godwin? His tight ends, Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard, could see a bigger role in the offense. Brate is the reliable target and steady presence that Brady likes to lean on, while Howard has the physical tools to be a top-tier tight end in the league. If anyone in the league can help Howard translate his raw potential into on-field production, it is the greatest QB the league has seen. The running backs currently with Tampa Bay should see an increased target share with TB12 leading the offense. This could mean that the Bucs’ running backs would be viable fantasy players week-to-week. Ronald Jones was the most productive running back on the roster, but the Bucs could feature other emerging running backs that play key roles in the offense going forward.
- Cameron Brate Fantasy Prediction: TE 2 on a roster/week-to-week streaming option
- OJ Howard Fantasy Prediction: low-end TE1 with upside, high-risk, high-reward flier
- Ronald Jones Fantasy Prediction: week-to-week streaming option/ upside bench player