Patriots

Fantasy football 2019: These stats show Josh Gordon makes Tom Brady's value much higher

Fantasy football 2019: These stats show Josh Gordon makes Tom Brady's value much higher

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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Tom Brady, Jamie Collins, Stephon Gilmore make PFF's Team of the Week

Tom Brady, Jamie Collins, Stephon Gilmore make PFF's Team of the Week

The New England Patriots were dominant against the Miami Dolphins in their 43-0 Week 2 victory. And they are getting quite a bit of recognition for their strong performance.

Three members of the Patriots were named to Pro Football Focus' Team of the Week for their strong effort against the Dolphins. They were quarterback Tom Brady, linebacker Jamie Collins, and defensive back Stephon Gilmore.

These players getting the nod is certainly not a surprise, especially Gilmore. Arguably the league's best cornerback, Gilmore earned a player rating of 92.6, good for the highest of any player on the Team of the Week. Per PFF, he allowed a passer rating of just 12.5 on throws his way and, of course, he had an excellent pick-6 during the contest.

Collins matched Gilmore's pick-6 and then some against the Dolphins. He led the team in tackles with 5, got 0.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss, and was able to log two interceptions including the pick-6. He looks rejuvenated in his second stint with the Patriots and should continue to serve as an athletic playmaker for their defense.

As for Brady, he led a steady offensive attack on Sunday, putting up a 124.7 passer rating while completing 20-of-28 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. While the offense didn't start clicking in full until the second half, Brady was still steady as ever and didn't make many, if any, mistakes outside of some disconnects with his new weapon, Antonio Brown.

The three Patriots on PFF's Team of the Week definitely deserved the nods for their solid play, but they won't think much about the accolade. They'll be more focused on their upcoming Week 3 meeting with the New York Jets as they look to start the season 3-0.

Phil Perry's Report Card: Pats D gets straight A's in win>>>

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This stat shows the early-season dominance of the Patriots cornerbacks

This stat shows the early-season dominance of the Patriots cornerbacks

So far during the 2019 NFL season, the New England Patriots defense has been elite. They made history on defense in their first two games by only allowing three points combined against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins and it seems that every unit on that defense is an upper-echelon group.

That said, of the defense in general, it appears that corner is the strongest position group. Armed with plenty of quality options in All-Pro Stephon Gilmore, solid veteran Jason McCourty, the recently-extended Jonathan Jones, and former undrafted free agent J.C. Jackson, the Patriots can match up with just about any team's receiving weapons. And so far, that has been the case.

In fact, the Patriots' corners have been so good that they have barely allowed opposing players to get catches on them. This mind-blowing stat about the cornerback group via Jeff Howe of the Athletic proves just how dominant the unit has been.

That's pretty incredible, and it translates to a combined completion percentage of about 30.1. Their stellar play at cornerback is a big part of the reason that the Patriots defense overall has yet to allow a touchdown and has allowed just 365 passing yards and four interceptions to opposing quarterbacks during their first two contests.

The Patriots' strength at cornerback is also part of the reason that they won't be likely to target Jalen Ramsey in a trade. The Jacksonville Jaguars' top corner has reportedly demanded a trade away from the club, but the Patriots' lack of need at cornerback coupled with the high cost of acquiring Ramsey would basically make any conversation surrounding the veteran a non-starter.

Phil Perry's Report Card: Pats D gets straight A's in win>>>

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