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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Sources: Tom Brady and family preparing to leave New England

Sources: Tom Brady and family preparing to leave New England

Tom Brady doesn't officially become a free agent until the new league year begins on March 18, but the rumors are already flying about the New England Patriot quarterback's future.

A report surfaced earlier in the week that Brady and his family purchased a home in Greenwich, Connecticut. As NBC Sports Boston's own Tom E. Curran pointed out, that is false.

But that doesn't mean Brady isn't planning on making a move.

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Thursday night on "Arbella Early Edition," Gary Tanguay revealed that a source told him Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen are looking to leave New England.

"I was told today by a source the family is planning to leave the area," Tanguay said. "The priority this time is to let the kids finish school this year, then they're gone."

Tanguay's report doesn't mean Brady is definitely leaving New England, but talks of him and his family looking to live somewhere else continue to gain steam.

If Brady indeed is moving on from New England and looking to start a new chapter, some of that could do with his desire to finally make the money he's worth in free agency.

According to Tanguay, Brady is "embarrassed" by the number of quarterbacks in the league that make more than him and has been fed up about it dating back to the summer, before he signed his contract extension.

Thirteen quarterbacks, including Brady's former backups Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, make more on average annually than the six-time Super Bowl champion according to overthecap.com.

The truth is, we won't know for certain what's going through Brady's mind until the ink is on paper for the 42-year-old's new contract. Until then, it's going to be a stressful offseason for Patriots fans.

Curran: Is this newfound time a silver lining for Patriots?

Patriots Talk Podcast: What exactly are the Patriots up to right now?

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Patriots Talk Podcast: What exactly are the Patriots up to right now?

Needless to say, it's unusual for the New England Patriots to have so much down time in January. Typically, they're playing in the AFC Divisional Round. And the AFC Championship Game. And often, the Super Bowl.

But this year, they were eliminated in the Wild Card Round for the first time since 2009. And now, they have a lot of time on their hands.

And while their early playoff exit was surely discouraging, the Patriots could stand to benefit from this extra time.

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On the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed how the Patriots could utilize the extra time and the positive impact it could have on the organization.

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Curran pointed out that because the team has so often been playing into February, their already thin staff has been stretched thin come draft season, which explains why the team has had some draft misses in recent seasons.

Really, it comes down to 312 days of prepreparation were sacrifice. And so for a bare bones organization in terms of both front office and coaching staff -- these guys have had shorter offseasons by a month on average than any other team in the NFL.

So on one hand, it's remarkable and it's a high-class problem. On the other hand, isn't it somewhat inevitable that you might have some draft swings and misses?

Perry agreed with Curran and brought up that the fact that the extra time off will give Belichick a real chance to thoroughly evaluate his roster.

I think for a team that is looking at a reboot, one of the sort of ironic things about that is that now you have time to really think that through in more detail and not to say that Bill Belichick isn't planning or looking at his roster, how it's constructed, how the contracts set up and trying to plan ahead. I'm sure he is doing that to a certain extent.

But you can only spend so much time on those things when you're getting ready for the divisional round, the AFC Championship Game every year, the Super Bowl every other year.

This surely makes sense and is definitely a positive for the Patriots. Perhaps with that extra time, Belichick can find a way to retain Tom Brady while significantly upgrading his supporting cast.

For more on the Patriots offseason plans, potential changes in their front office, and predictions for the AFC and NFC Championship Games, check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, which drops every Tuesday and Thursday as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.