New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady stepped up when it mattered most in 2018 and led his team to another Super Bowl championship, but he was not an elite fantasy football player last season.
Brady still threw for 4,355 yards with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. It was a down year (by his lofty standards) statistically for Brady, but he wasn't exactly in a great situation. Julian Edelman missed the first four games due to suspension. Rob Gronkowski missed multiple games because of injury and didn't look like his old dominant self when he did play. Chris Hogan was ineffective throughout the season, and Josh Gordon was suspended for the last month or so.
A better fantasy football season from Brady should be expected in 2019, and one reason for that is the return of Gordon. The veteran wideout has been reinstated by the NFL and is no longer suspended.
The Patriots, and Brady, in particular, were a much tougher offense to defend when Gordon was on the field last season. The 28-year-old wide receiver gives the Patriots offense a much-needed deep threat, and his excellent strength and hands allow him to make difficult contested catches in traffic. Gordon has tallied 40 receptions for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games with New England.
Here's a look at Brady's stats with and without Gordon last season. The difference is quite obvious.
With numbers like those, both Gordon and Brady should rise in fantasy football rankings ahead of your league's draft.
Here's another stat to consider: Since 2006, Gordon's 11.3 yards per attempt is the highest total by a Brady pass-catcher. This stat is from a small sample size, but it does show the impressive chemistry Brady and Gordon already have developed. It's clear Brady trusts Gordon to come down with the football, and last season's win over the Indianapolis Colts serves as one example.
The concern with Gordon is his ability to remain on the field. He was reinstated last year and got suspended again. He's been suspended multiple times in his career, so there's definitely a good amount of risk involved when drafting him or Brady in your fantasy league. But if Gordon is able to stay away from any more suspensions, the Patriots offense and Brady should benefit in a huge way.
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