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Tom Brady Announces Return: Fantasy Football Takeaways & Implications (2022)

Tom Brady Announces Return: Fantasy Football Takeaways & Implications (2022)

He’s baaaaack. That’s right, Tom Brady is back for another season. How does this impact the fantasy football landscape? Glad you asked. Our analysts are here with their take.

And don’t miss the rest of our takeaways from all of the recent news:

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How long can Tom Brady continue to play at a high level? The success he’s had in his 40s is unprecedented. The actuarial tables say we should be wary, but Brady has been flipping the bird at Father Time for years. Consider him a low-end QB1 in redraft leagues. Brady’s return restores the fantasy value of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (assuming Godwin is able to make a full recovery from a torn ACL). We’ll also want to pay careful attention to the Bucs’ RB situation, as Brady repeatedly checked down to RB Leonard Fournette last season. Fournette is headed for free agency, so there’s a potential windfall to be had if Fournette doesn’t sign and another RB takes his place.
– Pat Fitzmaurice


All it did was take Tom Brady two months of reflection to un-retire and return for his 23rd NFL season. This move sends massive ripples throughout the NFL as free agency approaches. It takes Tampa out of the running for any high-profile quarterbacks — they might be wise to invest in Brady’s successor — and guarantees that the Buccaneers will be a fantasy-friendly environment for all key contributors.

TB12 was playing at the top of his game in 2021 — PFF’s second-highest graded quarterback, third in fantasy points per game (22.7) — and there’s no reason to bet on him not playing at a high level in 2022. Especially with how pass-heavy the Buccaneers are with the GOAT under center. He’s QB6 in my early redraft quarterback rankings.

Mike Evans and the franchise-tagged Chris Godwin will recapture their WR1 fantasy status especially if Antonio Brown doesn’t return. Evans — WR8 in points per game and season-long – and Godwin — WR11 in points per game and WR17 in season-long — only saw their numbers dip with another capable WR in the offense.

Evans seems slated for his ninth consecutive season with 1,000-plus receiving yards in addition to a boosted target share depending on when Godwin returns from his ACL injury. Evans crested an elite 27% target share without Godwin or AB at the end of the 2021 season.
But once Godwin is healthy, it’s wheels up for him with Brady. He ranked second in receptions (92, career-high) and eighth in fantasy points per game (18.1) while leading Tampa Bay with a 21% target share through Week 14.

Both Evans and Godwin slide into top-12 wide receivers in my wide receiver rankings.

I was pretty sure that Rob Gronkowski would retire after Brady made his initial decision, but it seems more likely than not Gronk will also return to Tampa in 2022. The Buccaneers’ tight end was TE3 in points per game and was unstoppable after returning from his injury in Week 11.

From then onward, the big-bodied tight end averaged 8.4 targets and 77 receiving yards per game. He had just one game with fewer than eight targets. If and when he makes the announcement he is back in Tampa, he will be a top-6 tight end in fantasy football.
Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones are both free agents, so the Tampa Bay running back room is up for grabs. Whether it’s Fournette, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, another veteran, or a highly-drafted rookie, the running back in Tampa Bay will be highly-coveted for our fake football game.

Fournette ranked fifth in fantasy points and fourth in expected fantasy points per game before his Week 15 injury, leading all running in receptions (62). Upon his return to the lineup for the Buccaneers’ playoff matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, Fournette reclaimed bell-cow duties, playing 86% of the Tampa Bay’s offensive snaps to go with 22 touches for 107 yards from scrimmage.

I’d presume that whoever ends up leading the Buccaneers backfield will flirt with fantasy RB1 status if they boast any type of pass-catching props. Keep an eye out for David Johnson reuniting with Bruce Arians.
– Andrew Erickson

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