End to Brady suspension a game-changer for NFL fantasy football

Tue Sep 8, 2015 12:56pm EDT
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By Amy Tennery

(Reuters) - Tom Brady is back, and for plenty of fantasy football fans his return marks a dramatic shift in strategy. The New England Patriots star quarterback will suit up this Thursday for his team’s season opener, after U.S. District Judge Richard Berman threw out the National Football League’s four-game suspension against him in the now notorious “Deflategate” case.

The development is a game-changer in the league – and for the millions of fantasy football fanatics across the country, especially those who put their money behind Brady in early drafts.

Last year an estimated 41 million people played in fantasy football leagues, most wagering upwards of $100 for the season. In fantasy football, participants create virtual teams by “drafting” existing players from the NFL. Each week a fan's team goes head-to-head with another in the league, and the score is based on the real-life, statistical performance of the people on the fan's squad.

For many leagues, drafting wraps up this week, although, depending on a league’s rules, a fan may be able to trade players throughout the season.

In general, fantasy football team owners receive points each week when their players do something right (for instance, a wide receiver catching a pass for a touchdown) and lose points when they do something wrong (such as a quarterback throwing an interception).

For some fantasy football fans, the allure of drafting Brady, the Super Bowl XLIX most valuable player, outweighed concerns about his potential four-game suspension. LONG SHOT

“There’s always your stats guy; there’s always your fan guy,” said Zack Jones, editor in chief of SportsbookReview.com, a sports analytics and commentary site. “And there’s always the guy who wants to go for the long shot.”

Stuart Green, a 10-year fantasy veteran, said he did not pick up Brady - but his 13-year-old son grabbed him in the seventh round of one of the numerous leagues he participates in, in a draft held prior to the Berman ruling.   Continued...

Sep 3, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots fans show their support for quarterback Tom Brady during the first quarter against the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports