Fantasy Football: The fallout from Tom Brady's suspension


Fantasy Football: The fallout from Tom Brady's suspension

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. 

[MORE: Four guys whose stock is falling after free agency, NFL Draft]

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. 

[RELATED: Four guys whose stock is on the rise after free agency, NFL Draft]

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. 

Under Center Podcast: Jarrett Payton "My dad's legacy is still alive!"

USA Today

Under Center Podcast: Jarrett Payton "My dad's legacy is still alive!"

Host Laurence Holmes is live in Miami from Radio row for Super Bowl Week. Laurence is joined by WGN's and the late great Chicago Bear Walter Payton's son, Jarrett Payton as they discuss his father's impact on the league, losing his father in comparison to the Kobe Bryant's tragic death, and how the current Bears can improve.

(3:10) - The impact of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award

(6:33) - Compares losing his father to the Kobe Bryant tragedy

(11:53) - Being back in Miami

(13:55) - How can the Bears improve?

(19:20) - Relives the last Bears Super Bowl appearance in Miami

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Under Center Podcast


Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari to host private event this Valentine’s Day in West Loop

USA Today

Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari to host private event this Valentine’s Day in West Loop

Former Bears QB and current reality TV husband Jay Cutler will be coming back to Chicago this Valentine’s Day. Cutler’s wife, long-time reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, will be hosting a private event at Uncommon James in West Loop and Cutler is coming along for the festivities. A must event for any fans of mid 2000’s football and MTV.

For $200 per guest, attendees will enjoy food and drink, a private shopping experience and a selfie station. The 3-hour event will also include a question and answer session with Cavallari and Cutler. There’s something for everyone!

Cavallarri is on the third season of her E! show “Very Cavallari” which follows her life and growing business. Uncommon James is a fashion, lifestyle and jewelry brand who opened their Chicago location last October. The flagship store is in Nashville, where Cavallari and Cutler reside with their children.

Cutler is seemingly less-interested in the spotlight than his wife. He isn’t particularly active on social media, with Cavallari posting pictures to an Instagram account for him, so any chance to hang out with the former Bears QB is a rare opportunity. According to Instagram, it looks like Cutler is becoming more involved with Cavallari’s business, designing and modelling a bracelet that doubles as a bottle opener. How very Cutler.

View this post on Instagram

Add jewelry designer to the resume @uncommonjames

A post shared by Jay Cutler (@ifjayhadinstagram) on

If you’re looking to convince skeptics to shell out for the event, here’s some incentive. According to, the average Bears ticket in 2014 during the middle of Cutler’s tenure on the team was $108 per person, not even including food and drink and access to whatever a selfie station is. So, you’re paying twice as much for a much closer look at Cutler (assuming the store is smaller than Soldier Field) and a chance to ask him and his wife a question! And food! Seems fair when you put it like that.

If you and the K-Cav to your J-Cut are looking for something to do together this Valentine’s Day, the event will be held at Uncommon James in the West Loop, 849 W Randolph St., from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on February 14th. 

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