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Brady is playoff gold
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - This is why you draft New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Because as good as he is in the real NFL postseason -- with a 16-6 career record and three Super Bowl titles, he's one of the all-time greats -- he's equally as game-changing once the fantasy playoffs start in Week 14.

Playing with tight end Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, Brady was slightly undermanned going into Monday's showdown with 11-1 Houston, but it didn't matter one bit.

Using his other weapons -- and taking away Brandon Lloyd's invisibility cloak for the first time in five games, Brady sliced and diced Houston for 296 yards on 21-of-35 passing with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Brady could have had more if Danny Woodhead hadn't fumbled inside the red zone at the end of a 16-yard completion. For once Monday night, the Patriots' good fortune worked against Brady owners as the ball was launched 10 yards forward into the end zone where it was recovered by Lloyd for a touchdown, his second of the game.

While Brady may have had some games during the first half of the season that made you question whether he was the correct choice as a top-five pick in the first round this season -- he threw one touchdown in three of the first five games -- the future Hall of Famer once again has shown up big time in the second half, something he's done consistently for the last three years.

It started this season when New England traveled to London to face the St. Louis Rams. Brady wiped the floor with the "home" team, throwing four touchdowns with 304 passing yards.

Prior to that game, Brady was averaging two touchdowns per game (including rushing). Since then, he's had three four-touchdown games in six contests and is averaging three per game.

Brady did the same in 2010, when he averaged 1.75 touchdowns per game in the first half of the season but 2.9 in the final eight games. In that stretch, Brady completed 68.4 percent of his passes and wasn't picked off at all. It was essentially the most flawless football a QB could play.

The Patriots signal-caller wasn't as unblemished last season in the final eight games but he didn't stray too far from perfection. He completed 65.2 percent of his throws and found the end zone 22 times (three rushing) with just two picks. That came after he threw for 20 touchdowns but was picked off 10 times in the first eight games. Brady also threw for 316.5 yards per game and hit the 300- yard bonus six times in that span.

Brady's 13-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (with one rushing score) brings his mark to 54-3 with five rushing touchdowns in the second half of the season the last three years (22 games).

His production hasn't waned in Week 14-16, when the fantasy playoffs begin in most leagues. In fantasy playoff games the past three seasons (seven games), Brady has thrown for 278 yards per game with 17 passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns and just one interception.

Here's the important thing: he's had zero duds in that span. Brady has provided fantasy owners with multiple touchdowns in all seven playoff games and three or more five times. For the Week 17 crowd, the New England quarterback has thrown in another multi-touchdown game in each of the last two seasons.

The Patriots will host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night in Week 15. It's a defense that has been absolutely devastating for opposing quarterbacks, allowing an average of 11.6 fantasy ppg to the position and no higher than 19 points (standard scoring) in any of the last 10 games.

Brady certainly has his work cut out for him, but it seems like the bigger burden lies with the team tasked with stopping the New England quarterback during the most meaningful fantasy weeks of the season.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.


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