Tom Brady was 2018's fantasy QB11, a season he capped off with his sixth Super Bowl victory. This offseason, he lost his number one target in Rob Gronkowski to retirement, and his left tackle Trent Brown to free agency. Brown's replacement was already on the roster, as first-round pick Isaiah Wynn missed the 2018 season with an achilles injury that he's on track to return from. Brady also saw Bill Belichick draft a wide receiver in the first round for the first time ever, along with a talented running back in Damien Harris to add to a versatile corps.
Tom Brady putting up a dominant fantasy season in his age-42 season would be unprecedented. He just completed the best age-41 season ever statistically, resulting in a 15th-best 17.6 fantasy points per game. The loss of Gronkowski to the Patriots' offense is enormous, and while Brady's never had a rookie wide receiver with a first-round pedigree to throw to, both the New England offense and Brady's trust are notoriously difficult to crack for a rookie. Demaryius Thomas returning at full health and Josh Gordon being reinstated would certainly help, both are far from sure things. Good options could emerge from a wide-open field for the team's WR2, WR3, and lower-tier competition at TE, but it could also be a recipe for receiving mediocrity. Late in the season and throughout the playoffs, New England leaned on their running game to secure wins, and there's little reason to expect that to change drastically in 2019.
2019 Bottom Line
It's essential to separate Brady's real-life value to his team from his fantasy potential in 2019. Projected as 4for4's QB18 with an ADP in the 10th round (QB15), Brady is clearly not someone to target as your fantasy QB1. Relying on age-related outlier outcomes and everything coming together perfectly isn't a winning strategy. Given New England's tendencies as a game-plan offense, there will certainly be weeks in which Brady will put up QB1 numbers, potentially making him a very useful QB2 if his pass-friendly matchups line up well with your starter. He's also worth a target in bestball leagues where only his top-end weeks will be used, especially on Draft.com in the 12th round or later.