Deflategate: Implied Fantasy Impact
It’s official, Dr. Ted Wells has released a doozy of a report outlining his evidence for why the Patriots likely knew the footballs in the AFC championship game were deflated. 243 pages of blurry “facts” that prove nothing but heap a whole bunch of blame on QB Tom Brady as being more likely to have known than not…
I won’t get into why this concept of “probably” guilty is a bogus angle to take, that’s not what this blog is for. If you hate the Patriots organization or Tom Brady in particular, you didn’t need talk of soft balls to keep your vitrol rolling. What’s at stake here is playing time for Brady, and in particular the distraction this may cause in the Patriots locker room.
If you believe that “probably” and “likely” are enough proof to find someone guilty of a crime, feel free to accept that Brady will likely find himself at home on game day for a few weeks to start the 2015 season. What does that mean? Well it could mean any number of things.
1. The league views this as a “last straw” with the Patriots due to it’s high profile after spy gate, and they drop the hammer, suspending Brady for 4-8 games. This scenario is extremely unlikely as the rule book clearly states the punishment for doctoring a football is a $25,000 fine.
2. The league follows the rule book to the letter and Brady faces no suspension, and a $25,000 fine. Again, this is unlikely as the league is attempting to recoup it’s image after bungling the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson issues and should be willing to take a bite out of it’s most controversial franchise.
3. The league sends a message with a 1-3 game suspension of Brady and a fine to someone in the organization of a hefty amount. This is the most likely scenario as the league has shown teeth with this issue just by having Ted Wells prepare this farce of a report.
Despite that the league has a history of quarterbacks doctoring the PSI of the footballs (http://yourteamcheats.com) I fully expect Roger Goodell to come down on the Patriots and levy some kind of suspension. I’d be surprised if the suspension is more than 3 games, and fully expect a fine to follow.
What does this mean for Fantasy purposes? There’s two angles to this. The first being if a longer suspension comes down, is Jimmy Garopollo a viable fantasy option under center? We’ve seen Belichick stick with his young rookie QB before when incumbent starter Drew Bledsoe missed time with an injury. He may be worth looking at in this case.
The second angle is that if Brady only misses a game or two, he’s the type of player that plays best when he feels the proverbial “chip on his shoulder”. He seems to bounce back in terms of statistics when these kind of things happen to him. Remember Spygate? Caught in week 1 of the season NOT breaking any NFL rules, the Pats were thrown into a media firestorm and Brady only came out and won 17 games amassing at the time the finest season EVER by a QB. I expect Brady to have another resurgence even at age 38.
This is compounded by the likelyhood of fantasy owners passing on Brady due to his missing time, his value come fantasy playoffs will FAR outweigh his draft position.