The legal battle behind “Deflategate” has finally ended. Tom Brady stopped the grueling 18-month ordeal after a Facebook post on Friday stated that he would, “no longer proceed with the legal process.” As a result, Brady will officially serve a 4-game ban during the beginning of the regular season.
All eyes are on the Patriots and how they will decide to move forward through these four weeks. Jimmy Garoppolo has been cast into the limelight as most likely to take over for Brady. Garoppolo, drafted in 2014, has only played in a handful of games and has never started an NFL game. However, with plenty of time to prepare, Belichick will no doubt have his team in the best position to win.
The Patriots play the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans, and Bills respectively to start the season.
Besides the Cardinals game, the Patriots are looking at winnable games, depending on how the latter three teams develop. If they could pull out at least 1 win in those 3 games, sitting at 1-3 is not the end of the world. Brady would get back in form against the Browns, easing themselves to 2-3 and prepared to face the rest of a moderately challenging schedule.
As for fantasy football value, Brady comes in at #8 in quarterbacks. Being only a 12-game player does drop his value, but not too severely. The biggest question becomes, do you draft him and save him for after his suspension, or do you completely forgo him?
As the second best fantasy QB of 2015, drafting Brady should be a no-brainer, probably as a mid-round pick. He will pay dividends in the long run and with decent depth at the QB position, you should have no problem picking up a reliable backup in the meantime.