Should you draft Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers? Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time, and Rodgers, a great quarterback who does not elevate the players around him to a championship caliber level both will be at the top of their position once again this season.
After that hot take, I will see you all for the next Fantasy dilemma. Ok, fine, yes NFL perception does not always equate to Fantasy Football reality but owners should be deciding between Rodgers and Brady as their top quarterbacks.
In 2016, Brady set an NFL record after throwing for 28 touchdowns against only two interceptions, but he did actually benefit from a four game suspension. When he came back against the Cleveland Browns he was fresh and that benefited him immensely for the season.
Rodgers, on the other hand, had an average season. Well, average for his standards. His 40 passing touchdowns and seven interceptions show why he is the best pure passer in the game.
After a spectacular 2016 season for both players, this should be a difficult decision for owners. Or is it?
Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers?
- 12 GP: 3,554 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns, two interceptions and 64 rushing yards
- 16 GP: 4,428 passing yards, 40 passing touchdowns, seven interceptions, 369 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns
The numbers do not lie, Rodgers is the most dangerous passer in the game. He can rack up yards quickly and can light up the stat sheet with ease. His dismantling of the Minnesota Vikings’ defense in their second meeting was a thing of beauty.
Rodgers also gets major bonus points for his ability to move outside the pocket, extend plays, and use his legs to gain yards.
Brady’s season must be understood within the context of the scenarios around him. He had a very impressive season but looking deeper into the numbers and opponents show a fatal attraction to his season.
Eye test goes to Rodgers here.
Is Brady a great quarterback? Absolutely. Will he have yet another great season? Absolutely. Should owners look at his 2016 season as a comparison for his 2017 season? Absolutely not.
Brady’s 2016 season though needs to be seen in the right context. He missed the first four regular season games due to a suspension and when he came back he was fresh. For a player that is almost 40, those extra weeks of rest was a huge lift to his game.
Then there was his competition or lack thereof. He rarely faced elite defenses or a team with a serviceable quarterback. The whole AFC East was, well, awful. The NFC West was not a great division either. He did have 316 yards against the Seattle Seahawks but failed to throw for a touchdown.
The majority of the Patriots’ opponents had defenses that were bad or making changes and still maturing. When he did play great defenses he struggled. He had very subpar games against the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans (he played Houston in the playoffs).
I do not mean to take away from what he did in 2016 but rather highlight that this type of production was an outlier and he will return to the median in 2017. Games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Texans, L.A. Chargers, and Broncos will make for a harder schedule. The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets will not pose a threat, but Brady can struggle against the Miami Dolphins.
Not a tough schedule by any means for his production, but owners need to temper their expectations as Brady will more than likely be the fourth best quarterback instead of a 1B to Aaron Rodgers.
Owners will expect great production from newly acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks, but owners will be disappointed. In New England, the sum of the parts makes the machine go, not just one piece. That means Brady will throw to everyone and anyone as long as they are open.
Cooks was a primary target for Drew Brees and it may be a tad harsh to call Cooks just another guy for the Pats, but in this offense, there are too many mouths to feed. Cooks will have a vertical impact on the offense but not to the degree owners will be hoping.
Looking at Rodgers, his numbers over the past five seasons speak for his consistency. He has only thrown for less than 31 touchdowns once since 2011, in his injury-shortened 2013 season, and has one of the deepest receiving corps in the game.
Brady has an equally impressive array of weapons to utilize, but in Fantasy Football understanding schemes make for better analysis. Rodgers operates in a pass heavy offense, where his defense will also allow a lot of points. Simply put, Rodgers will pass early and often.
Yes, Ty Montgomery showed everyone he could be a good running back in 2016, posting nearly six yards per carry (77 attempts). With such a small sample size it is unknown if he will be used as a utility player or a true running back.
This all leads to Aaron Rodgers once again having to put the team on his right arm and throw the Green Bay Packers to victory. The Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, and Seahawks will give Rodgers issues but given the majority of the Packers game against great defenses are in Lambeau, I do not see those games affecting his overall stat line.
Owners can think Brady has a chance to absorb some of the touchdowns that were lost from LeGarrette Blount’s departure, but those 18 touchdowns will go to the running back stable.
Brady may be the GOAT, but Rodgers has him bested in pure production. Rodgers has been far too consistent for far too long to bet against him. He has the arm to throw for 300 yards every week and has the added dimension of running for yards. Brady is a one-trick pony in Fantasy Football, you live and die by his arm.
Rodgers can salvage a bad game, with his legs. Look away from Brady’s 2016 season and go with the easy money. Rodgers is your man.
- 16 GP: 4,300 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, six interceptions, 50 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown
- 16 GP: 4,200 yards, 35 passing touchdowns, seven interceptions, 300 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns
Side Note: I will rarely, if ever, make a ceiling prediction. I do believe that Brady will be the fourth fantasy quarterback this season. For owners who miss out on Rodgers and want to bet on Brady’s upside for this season, he has the ability to produce like he did in 2007.
Personally, I never bet on upside potential for such a veteran player, but some owners do. Rodgers is the safer bet to produce better numbers, which I think will happen. This season, Brady has the higher “upside.”
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