Tom Brady throwing
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I know it’s blasphemy for a Patriots fan like myself to not rank Tom Brady in the top five in fantasy quarterback rankings, but that’s how I roll. I try to look at things with an unbiased eye to give my most honest evaluations.
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In an actual game there aren’t many quarterbacks in the league, if any, that I would hand the ball to over Brady in a crucial spot, but you can’t play favorites when assembling your fantasy team.
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Brady is coming off a remarkable season that saw him toss 36 touchdowns to just four interceptions to lead all quarterbacks with a 111.0 passer rating. Oh, and he threw for 3900 yards to boot. Those numbers are sick.
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After averaging 38 touchdown passes over his past three full seasons I must be off my rocker to rank Brady sixth. Hear me out.
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The Patriots drafted a pair of running backs in the 2011 NFL Draft leading me to believe that Bill Belichick is looking to pound the ball on the ground more to take some of the pressure off of his defense.
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I know it didn’t affect him last year, but without Randy Moss, Brady does not have the means to stretch the field. Wes Welker and his young tight ends are nearly impossible to cover, but they aren’t deep threats. I think Brady has a hard time reaching 30 touchdown passes again.
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Brady owners also have to be concerned with Bill Belichick’s schemes. The only thing that matters to Belichick and Brady is the win. There were three games that Brady threw fewer than 250 yards with just one touchdown. There were five more games in which he threw for less than 250 yards and two touchdowns. In half of Brady’s games he was average or better. Three of his three touchdown games saw him pass for 258 yards or fewer.
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We all know he’s capable of putting up a huge game, but more often than not he’s not putting up the monster game.
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In my estimation there are six elite fantasy quarterbacks this year. Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Michael Vick, Peyton Manning, and Brady.  Tony Romo and Matt Schaub are right on the cusp, but a notch below. Ranking Brady sixth is less a knock on him than a testament to the number of top tier quarterbacks.
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What are your thoughts on Tom Brady heading into the 2011 season?
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We are still unsure if there will be a 2011 season or not, but fantasy football players need to start thinking about the season as we are approaching June.
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1.  Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers:  A concussion ended his 4000 yard streak at two, but 3922 is close enough. Add 28 passing touchdowns, a career high 356 rushing yards, and four rushing scores and you’re looking at the number one fantasy quarterback option once again.
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2.  Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints:  Brees puts up better passing numbers, but the rushing numbers distinguishes Rodgers as the premier fantasy quarterback.
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3.  Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers:  Three straight 4000 yard seasons. Like Brees it doesn’t really matter who he is throwing to.
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4.  Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles:  As explosive as they come. He easily could be the number one fantasy quarterback, but he comes with an injury risk. Not to mention a regression risk because Vick never had a season near last year’s monster campaign.
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5.  Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts:  Ho hum. Another epic season for Manning. The Colts added some pass protection, but it could take some time to gel without adequate OTA time.
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6.  Tom Brady, New England Patriots:  His overall numbers were great, but he is more likely to drop a dud than the top five, which is why I have him ranked at six. When all is said and done he will likely have another big year.
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7.  Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys:  He has the weapons and the ability. It’s a matter of staying healthy and mentally tough enough to deliver. Adding a solid backup is a must.
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8.  Matt Schaub, Houston Texans:  The Texans should have improved on defense, which means he’s more likely to repeat last year’s form than his 2009 production.
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9.  Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers:  Ben’s troubles could work in his favor this year as he has experience with getting up to speed quickly.
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10.   Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons:  Ryan got a shiny new toy when the Falcons traded up to grab Julio Jones. We know he is a talented quarterback in reality. This year he takes the next step on the fantasy side.
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11.  Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams:  Bradford set the rookie completion record and should only get better thanks to the experience he gained last year.
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12.  Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens:  The Ravens added Anquan Boldin last year and Torrey Smith this year to help Flacco continue to progress.
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13.  Eli Manning, New York Giants:  It’s easy to get on Eli for his 25 picks, but he reached 4000 yards for the second straight year and set a career high with 31 TD passes.
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14.  Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  Freeman’s numbers are bloated from a five-touchdown performance against Seattle. While I think he’ll throw more than the six interceptions he tossed last year, I think he finally collects a rushing touchdown.
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15.  Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs:   Cassel took a step forward throwing for 31 touchdown passes last year, forming a great bond with Dwayne Bowe. They added Jonathan Baldwin to keep the defenses honest.
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