The NFL dropped the hammer on the New England Patriots and Tom Brady on Monday, suspending the star quarterback for the first four games of the season, fining the team $1 million and taking away a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017.
Not only could Brady's absence have a big effect on the AFC but it raises a lot of questions in the world of Fantasy Football.
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
Here are some answers to those issues about the Patriots offense and how the team will fare over the first four weeks.
1. Is Jimmy Garoppolo now worth drafting and what does this do for Brady's stock?
The former EIU standout is absolutely on the fantasy radar now. The best news for the Patriots was that this ruling came down in May and not August. Bill Belichick now has a lot of time to prepare Garoppolo for the first four games of the season. In garbage time in 2014, Garoppolo performed well against the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears. Obviously, garbage time and crunch time are much different. But the rookie signal caller didn't look rattled.
[MORE FANTASY: Top rookies to target in 2015]
Let's also take a look at who Garoppolo will be facing (Patriots have a Bye Week 4):
Week 1 - PIT
Week 2 - @ BUF
Week 3 - JAX
Week 5 - @ DAL
Three of those four matchups are enticing for Garoppolo. The Steelers, Jaguars and Cowboys all finished 22nd or worst in total passing yards allowed in 2014. The Steelers defense didn't improve that much this offseason with the departures of Troy Polamalu and Dick LeBeau while the Jaguars likely won't make a dramatic jump up the rankings. The Cowboys could be better if their pass rush improves with Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence. The Bills matchup will be one to avoid for sure with Rex Ryan now in control and a dominant unit still in tact.
Garoppolo will probably be overdrafted in some leagues but target him in the later rounds as a spot starter if you decide to not build your team around a stud quarterback. As for Brady, he's still a Top-10 quarterback for the 2015 season. It'll hurt having him out for a few favorable matchups but there's no doubt he will come back with a vengeance and light the league on fire. Hey, if you end up picking Brady, it wouldn't be a bad idea to also snatch Garoppolo later.
2. Does this affect Rob Gronkowski's stock?
No. He's a beast on the field and shouldn't have trouble developing a connection with Garoppolo, who knows throwing to Gronk is his best chance at succeeding. As we mentioned in the last answer, the Patriots aren't facing any stout pass defenses (except for the Bills) so Gronkowski's value shouldn't be altered at all by the news. Draft him as you normally would this August.
3. Does this mean the Patriots will run the ball more?
Potentially, but the Patriots have secretly become a running team over the past two years. They finished in the Top 10 in rushing yards in the league two out of the past three years. If Garoppolo struggles, New England could absolutely lean on a handful of running backs to carry the offense.
But there's always an issue with Patriots and running backs: It's impossible to guess who will be the lead back. Remember Jonas Gray? He disappeared after his 200-yard, four touchdown performance. Will Brandon Bolden step up? Can LeGarrette Blount shoulder the load after his suspension is done? There's no real answers at running back for the Patriots so don't go digging for a New England running back to draft or pick up during Brady's absence.