The Brady Quandary

Will Tom Brady be the dominating "puppet master" of
the most lethal offense the league has ever seen as in 2007?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - When healthy, Tom Brady is the best fantasy quarterback in the NFL - better than Drew Brees and better than Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner or Philip Rivers. But the No.1 question as we head into the 2009 NFL season will be if Brady is truly 100-percent healed from the nasty knee injury which sabotaged his 2008 season after just one quarter of play.

And as every fantasy owner already knows - he'll get no help whatsoever in answering that question from Head Coach Bill Belichick or any other member of the New England Patriots staff, who treat a football game like a cold war in which there are spies lurking in every doorstep.

This is the same Bill Belichick who listed Brady on his weekly injury report for more than four consecutive years with a "shoulder" injury despite the fact that Brady played 16 games every year from 2002-2007. So as we head into training camp and approach our Draft Day, we'll have little in the way of concrete information to go on.

If all goes as it usually does, you might see Brady in about 8-10 series during the preseason. Is that enough exposure to let you know whether Brady will be the dominating "puppet master" of the most lethal offense the league has ever seen as in 2007 (398-for-578 for 4,807 yards and 50 passing touchdowns) or a limping and less confident facsimile?

That's a pretty big gamble you'll have to take, because you know someone in your league will take a shot at him in the second part of the first round. I, for one, don't think I'm ready to take that gamble, particularly after having enjoyed my past season with Brees under center in two of my leagues. Brees was magnificent throwing for more than 5,000 yards and 34 TDs while leading my team to two titles.

Plus, I think this will be a strong year for quarterbacks in general and I don't believe I'll be taking a QB in the first round at all. Perhaps if I'm at the end of the first round of a snake draft and have two consecutive picks, and Brees is still available, I might show my loyalty by taking just one running back and Brees, but I think that's probably a mistake given the quality of the quarterbacks in 2009.

2008 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings
Rank Player Team Pts Yards TDs
1 Drew Brees NO 335 5,069 34
2 Jay Cutler DEN 288 4,526 25
3 Philip Rivers SD 275 4,009 34
4 Kurt Warner AZ 271 4,583 3
5 Aaron Rodgers GB 267 4,038 28
6 Peyton Manning IND 260 4,002 27
7 Donovan McNabb PHI 224 3,916 23
8 Tony Romo DAL 224 3,448 26
9 Chad Pennington MIA 206 3,653 19
10 Matt Cassel NE 206 3,693 21
11 Matt Ryan ATL 195 3,440 16
12 Tyler Thigpen KC 182 2,608 18
13 David Garrard JAC 170 3,620 15
14 Eli Manning NYG 167 3,238 21
15 Matt Schaub HOU 166 3,043 15

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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