Tom Brady Fantasy Outlook 2022: Should you draft Brady amid concerns over when he’ll return to the Buccaneers?

Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady has been out of Buccaneers’ training camp since early August, and many fantasy football owners have started to get a little nervous about drafting him. With no one knowing exactly what prompted this unannounced preseason hiatus, the speculation is rife. The key question: should you include Tom Brady in your fantasy team?

Let’s dive into the logistics of this question, talk about what we know about this boot camp ghosting, and run through our predictions for Brady if and when he shows up in Tampa.

DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2022 Fantasy Cheat Sheet

Tom Brady Update: When Will Brady Return to Buccaneers Camp?

The official message from Tampa regarding Brady’s absence so far: personal reasons. Well, that can mean a number of different things – including a family member’s illness, running their business, or just spending time with their wife and kids. Apparently, according to coach Todd Bowles, that absence was planned, and Brady was always supposed to be absent until at least August 20.

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Bowles later added“Of course there will always be doubts, but I’m pretty confident” Brady will play in the Bucs’ season opener against the Cowboys in Dallas. This led to Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht stating that he is certain Brady will be at AT&T to lead Tampa’s Week 1 offense.

“Obviously we wanted to let him do what he has to do,” Licht assured WDAE Radio in Tampa. “He’s as focused as ever. He’ll come back even more focused. That is the least of our worries.”

So there might not be anything to worry about right now, but by the time Brady shows up, Fantasy owners will be rightly nervous.

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Tom Brady Fantasy Ranking and ADP

Should you design Brady anyway? In a word: yes. Fantasy football is all about value, and Brady’s odd preseason disappearance will boost his value immensely. Many fantasy owners avoid any risk and pass the GOAT on at its ADP of 87. The reigning yardage and touchdown champion, three-time MVP, and five-time Super Bowl MVP in rounds 8 or 9? He’s our #9 QB player and #81 player overall, so yes, sign us on.

We know the preseason drama can be unsettling, but something like this isn’t too surprising to people familiar with Brady. After all, he is the most successful QB in the history of professional football – he plays by different rules. From what we can tell, this may have been a planned vacation with Gisele and the kids since Brady retired for a month in February.

AUCTION VALUES 2022 (Standard & PPR):
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Brady is effectively running his own offensive at this point. He’s won championships in the past after doing “vital” off-season training – people get over it pretty quickly. Who are we to doubt the seven-time champion as long as he’s got stud receiver Mike Evans to tear down contested catches, Kyle Rudolph threatening the red zone, snapping TDs, and elite slot receiver Chris Godwin after his cruciate ligament tear on the right side returns to 100 percent (which seems likely at this point)? Whatever former All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones provides will be the icing on an already sweet cake.

Brady led the NFL in completions, yards and TDs in 20221 and played in every game of the season for the fifth straight season and the 18th time of his career. The 45-year-old is betting on himself year after year so there’s really no reason you should bet against him and let him slide into the 10th round to boost the value of one of your league mate’s squads.

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If you’re even a little worried about Brady retiring for the second time in six months, grab a good backup QB a few rounds after picking Brady. In single QB leagues, most fantasy owners will avoid designing a second signal caller so they can improve their depth on other skill positions. We’ve seen Trevor Lawrence up to lap 12, and both Jameis Winston and Ryan Tannehill can usually be found in lap 13 or 14. This would also open up the possibility of using one of your QBs as a trade asset if opponents get jammed due to injury or ineffectiveness at the position.

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Tom Brady 2022 Outlook, Predictions

Here’s what Sporting News Fantasy’s Jovan Alford said earlier this summer in his Brady ranking, which ranked him 9th among signal callers:

We thought Brady wouldn’t be playing this season, but he changed his mind after only 40 days of retirement. Brady is coming this season without his All-Pro tightend Rob Gronkowski and head coach Bruce Arians. However, he still has Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette, Cameron Brate, Chris Godwin (when he returns from a right knee injury earlier in the year) as well as Russell Gage and Julio Jones. Last season, Brady led the NFL in passing yards (5,316) and touchdowns (43), making him one of the top fantasy quarterbacks. It will likely be tough for Brady to throw 40 touchdowns this season, but he’s still one of the best and most consistent fantasy QBs.

It’s hard to disagree with that analysis — especially that last line, given the Buccaneers’ difficult preseason schedule. Of course, Brady has defied the odds for so long, scoring over 25 fantasy points per game as a Buccaneer — not to mention Tampa has reloaded its offensive weapons again. If six or seven non-Brady QBs go off the board, any time after the end of the sixth round seems like a good time to pick the GOAT.

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