Life After Brady
Posted Sep. 09 at 06:29 AM
When I actually started writing this column, very little information had been confirmed about Tom Brady's injury. There was more speculation than certainty. The team wasn't saying much, so for all we knew it might have been overblown a bit. It didn't look good, but maybe he'd be okay after all.
But news travels fast in the Information Age. By the time I finished writing, the news was out: Brady is finished for the 2008 season.
Obviously, if you drafted him, you spent an early pick and now have to deal with your entire season without him. But before you lament your terrible luck as your title hopes hobble away, here are a few things to consider:
You're Not Alone. I don't mean that other people had Brady. We all know that somebody selected him in every league. I mean that many other fantasy owners are impacted as well. Don't think that the Randy Moss owners aren't worried right now; they are. Same with Wes Welker owners. Even those who selected the Patriots defense (probably earlier than most owners took a D) have to be concerned that it won't be the same unit. It's easier to make plays when the opponent gets desperate because they're way behind. Even Stephen Gostkowski will be affected. You could argue that he should get many more field-goal attempts...but what if he's not that good? He certainly can't hide behind a ton of extra points anymore. While the Brady injury hurts his owners the most, they definitely have company.
Quarterbacks are replaceable. Unless you're in a start-two league, you'll have options to replace him. You might already have a functional backup, someone could be available on the waiver wire or there could be some willing trading partners. The good news is that it's harder to get fleeced when trading for a quarterback. They don't have the fantasy allure of running backs or wide receivers.
You Lost 2008's numbers; not 2007's. You didn't lose out on 50 scores and record-setting performances when Brady got hurt. The truth is that a significant drop-off was expected. While most owners who selected him already knew that, and simply counted on a reliable quarterback whose numbers would make him much more valuable than his peers, it's hard not to think about what was lost on Sunday. Naturally, people think about the previous season, even if they know a repeat wasn't in the cards. Just remind yourself what you actually expected by drafting him, rather than what last year's owner received. The loss still tough to take, but you didn't lose as much as you think.
Quarterbacks rarely lead teams. I'm talking about fantasy football, of course. Although last year could be an exception, the quarterback isn't usually the guy who leads a fantasy team to a title. Owners need solid play and would benefit from having the best in the business, but often it's just a good quarterback who serves as a piece to a championship puzzle. You won't find the Tomlinson of quarterbacks available in your league (he doesn't exist), but you might get your hands on a good one. That might be good enough.
Other owners are panicking, too. You're not the only one with quarterback troubles. Owners of Carson Palmer are wondering what to expect the rest of the year. I'm sure those who started Derek Anderson were expecting more as well. Could one of those guys be "buy low" candidates?
It Could be Worse. You could actually be Tom Brady. Look, fantasy football is a hobby; it isn't your career. While Brady has already earned more than his share of accolades, this has been a tough year for him. Imagine winning every game on your schedule, only to lose when it mattered most. You can't even enjoy your nearly-perfect season. The TD record, the 16-0 season, the division and conference titles--all painful reminders of the one game you lost. He'll never think about those things without imagining Eli Manning and the rest of the Giants holding the Lombardi Trophy and celebrating.
So he endures the long off-season, thinking about getting out there and doing it all over again. He wants to avenge that one loss and get back to the Super Bowl. He has a tough start as he misses the entire preseason with an injury, but on Sunday the quest for the championship finally begins--and ends. In one quarter. Now he has another season and another off-season to think about getting back on the field. I know it's hard to have pity for Tom Brady, but come on. That's difficult for anyone who cares about their job. I'm sure you feel bad about the injury...but you don't feel that bad.
Week 1 didn't go the way Brady's owners planned. They might be 0-1 right now, they have a huge hole in their depth chart and they're probably the recipient of a few snickers from their league-mates. But really, your title hopes aren't dashed just yet. If you had a solid draft or auction, you can overcome losing a starting quarterback. Even Tom Brady. There's a whole season left. If you don't win this year, it won't be because of what happened Sunday. It will be because of what happened on all the other Sundays. Good luck this week.
Youtube Clip of the Week: As bad as Brady's injury looked on endless replays, this is still worse.
You can reach Michael Murillo at email@example.com.
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