Tom Brady’s fantasy outlook and projection for 2021

    Tom Brady threw 4,633 passing yards and 40 TDs last season -- can he replicate this feat for fantasy managers in 2021, and what is his ADP?

    Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady had one of the statistical seasons of his career. What a difference a year makes! Last summer, many in the fantasy football community questioned Brady’s ability to perform at a high level. The Buccaneers prioritized retaining all of their key offensive playmakers after their Super Bowl victory. Can Brady replicate his 2020 fantasy production in 2021? This fantasy outlook will answer that question, review Brady’s ADP, and more.

    Tom Brady’s fantasy outlook for 2021

    Brady should be even better in his second NFL season under Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians. The 43-year-old quarterback generated 4,633 passing yards and 40 touchdowns in 2020. He averaged 288 passing yards and 24.1 fantasy points per game and finished as a QB1 in 62% of his 16 active games. Brady led all quarterbacks with 9.1 passing air yards per game (metric indicating how far a pass traveled in the air before it was caught).

    On the other hand, Brady only averaged 275.7 passing yards and 21.3 fantasy points per game from 2016 to 2019. He finished as a QB1 in just 50% of his 60 active games over that time frame. Arians’ vertical passing attack and the Buccaneers’ magnificent receiving weapons unlocked the best version of Brady we’ve seen since 2007.

    The Buccaneers’ group of wide receivers is the best in the NFL

    Brady’s success should continue in 2021. Receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown will return. Many have forgotten how dynamic these three receivers have been in their careers.

    Evans has had seven consecutive seasons with 1,000 or more receiving yards. He’s finished as a WR2 or better in 52% of his 106 career games. Godwin has averaged 8 targets, 83.6 receiving yards, and 18 PPR fantasy points per game over the last two seasons.

    Antonio Brown’s off-the-field antics have unfortunately overshadowed his dominance on the field over the last two years. As a reminder, Brown has averaged 22.2 PPR fantasy points per game from 2013 to 2018. He’s only 32 years old and still in his physical prime.

    Brady also has his buddy tight end Rob Gronkowski returning. This dynamic duo spent many years together in New England. Brady has a higher passer rating (124) when targeting Gronkowski during his career than any other player who has been targeted 100+ times.

    Additionally, the Bucs have tight end O.J. Howard returning from an Achilles tendon injury. He could make Tampa Bay’s offense even more potent in 2021.

    Tampa Bay is also blessed at running back

    A formidable backfield joins Brady in 2021 with Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and free-agent addition Giovani Bernard.

    Fournette was spectacular in the postseason. The 26-year-old running back averaged 21.7 fantasy points and a 73% snap share during the 2020 playoffs.

    On the other hand, Jones set a career-high in opportunities (rushing attempts plus targets) last season with 234. He was the clear starter for most of the regular season and finished as an RB2 or better in 43% of his games in PPR formats.

    Vaughn didn’t have much of an impact as a rookie. He was only active in seven contests and averaged 14 snaps per game. Bernard has the potential to become the Buccaneers’ version of James White.

    The Buccaneers’ offensive line is one of the best in the NFL

    The Buccaneers’ offensive line is projected to be one of the NFL’s top run-blocking/pass-blocking units. Tampa Bay has adequate depth to stabilize the unit should any injuries arise.

    It is worth mentioning that Brady was pressured on 17.8% of his dropbacks in 2020. He was also hit 58 times while passing — eighth-most among quarterbacks. I’m sure the Buccaneers’ offensive line would like to allow fewer hits in 2021.

    Should you be concerned about Brady’s offseason knee surgery?

    It was reported that Brady had offseason surgery on his left knee in February. The veteran quarterback described it as a “pretty serious surgery.” This operation took place in the same knee Brady suffered a torn ACL back in Week 1 of the 2008 season.

    Brady has defeated father time, but this is something to keep in mind. After all, he did turn 44 years old earlier this month.

    Fantasy projection

    Many fantasy players are intoxicated with the idea of a quarterback who has rushing upside. Despite Brady’s success in 2020, he only finished as the fantasy QB8.

    Brady has averaged 281 passing yards and 22.5 fantasy points per game since 2007. He’s finished as a QB1 in 59% of his games over that span — Brady projects for around 4,600 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.

    It is wise never to underestimate him. Brady’s extraordinary competitiveness combined with the offensive weapons in Tampa Bay and the super-soldier serum coursing in his veins bodes well for his fantasy outlook in 2021.

    Tom Brady’s ADP

    Brady’s age and the infatuation with dual-threat quarterbacks have kept his ADP down. This trend is similar in pay-to-play fantasy formats such as the National Fantasy Championship, where Brady has an ADP of 82.59.

    Furthermore, Brady’s ADP on Sleeper is 85.9. Meanwhile on Fleaflicker, he is a bit higher at 77.3.

    Should you draft Brady in 2021?

    I’m not going out of my way to select Brady at his ADP. He does provide you with a low-end QB1 ceiling, but I’d rather grab another quarterback a round or two later who could finish as a QB1. Joe Burrow and Ryan Tannehill are two quarterbacks who immediately come to mind with similar offensive weapons.

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