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Fantasy Football: Why drafting Tom Brady in your local league would be a huge mistake

Pete Davidson
August 16, 2018 - 11:22 am

If you play in a Boston area fantasy football league, then you should probably avoid drafting Tom Brady this year. Hear me out.

This is a Boston-specific thing, or perhaps a New England-specific thing. Here's the deal. If you play in a league that primarily comprises Patriots fans, the price for Brady will be too high. So much so that drafting him will greatly reduce your chances of making the playoffs and winning a league championship.

Trust me. I've been giving fantasy advice to Patriots fans for almost 10 years now. I've had this discussion one-on-one many times. In truth, it's probably fantasy malpractice on my part for not having written this article long ago. Granted, I do warn all my readers, on a yearly basis, about hometown bias, but sometimes a generic argument fails to stick. This year I'm being more direct.

Just for some context, here's an e-mail or message I have received more times than I can count over the years from many a Patriots fan.

"Hey Pete,

I have the (fill-in-the-blank) pick this year, I'm planning on taking Brady if he's there. Which running back do you like in the second round?


Pats Fan X"

It's not even, "hey Pete, is taking Brady in round one a good move?"

No, they are locked in.

Now consider where Brady is being taken in typical fantasy drafts. In data collected by FantasyPros, which they sourced from all of the most popular fantasy sites, Brady is being taken at No. 48 overall. That's the last pick of round four.

You don't care what the sheep are doing, you say? What would Brady's draft position look like in a room full of hardcore fantasy players? I was participating in an industry draft, just a few weeks back, with smart guys like PFF's Pat Thorman and Joey Cartolano, WEEI's Jim Hackett and DLF's Leo Paciga and Kevin O'Brien. The first quarterback was taken by me—in round six! Tom Brady went in round eight. He was the third QB taken.

The point is that most of you won't be drafting in industry leagues, where there's barely any hometown loyalty. You all will be drafting largely against hyped up Patriots fans, and fans tend to take the hometown guys early. This behavior only intensifies when you have an immortal like Brady on the board. You won't have the pleasure of getting Brady at a value—certainly not in round eight, and if you do, by all means, snatch him up. But the reality for most of you is that if you want Brady, you'll have to reach for him in round one. Bad idea.

Taking any quarterback in round one is a terrible move. It's a bad value proposition. End of story. It's been true for years. A million fantasy analysts have written countless articles on why it's good to avoid taking quarterbacks early. I'm writing one right now, and I'm writing another next week. It will be called The Rotobahn 2018 Draft Plan. One of the more popular fantasy analysts out there is J.J. Zachariason, who goes by the handle @lateroundQB on Twitter. J.J. has built a career around this concept—a good one. Waiting on quarterbacks can pay the bills.

I understand Brady is a hero—a football God. I don't have any clue what it's like to have a player that good on a team I root for in any sport. Never experienced it in my lifetime. I can imagine the desire to link my rooting interests and my fantasy team together, especially when my local team is so consistently great. And it's fun to have your favorite player on your fantasy team—leading the way. It's a feel-good move, and who doesn't want to feel good, right? The thing is, your life as a sports fan is already tethered to the Patriots. You are going to enjoy their successes and Brady's successes whether he's your fantasy QB or not. Marrying the two is only a good idea if you can get Brady at good value or at least a reasonable one. Otherwise, you'll have Brady and the Patriots winning while your fantasy team loses.

That said, allow me to close with some good news. You can draft Tom Brady without it being a blunder, just don't do it in your local Boston area league.

Have you tried daily fantasy? You can roster all your favorite Patriots on DraftKings or on whatever daily platform you enjoy. In that format, there is no added cost for drafting your local players. Brady's salary is the same in Boston as it is everywhere else.

Best ball leagues are another good option, because sites like Fanball, Fantrax and DRAFT pull their entrants from a national pool, not a local one. Consider joining a few of these leagues. They are fun, fair and you can draft Brady at a fair price, and sometimes at a value price.

In leagues that will have more typical average draft position that are not Boston-centric, you can hope to get Brady and some of your other Patriots at reasonable rates. Check out my article from last week on High Value Targets.

Chris Hogan, Rex Burkhead and Gronk are all values in leagues not dominated by local Patriots fans. Just know what kind of league you are in, and exploit your competition accordingly.

Finally, if you absolutely must take a Patriot with your first pick, go with Gronk instead of Brady. It makes a lot more sense and it doesn't put you behind the eight ball, like a first round quarterback does.

Related: Fantasy football: Targeting the NFL's best bargains