Last week in
Foxborough I interviewed an ebullient Tom Brady, and I picked up on why he was
so happy: He had worked very hard to develop a chemistry with his new
receivers, and a couple of days before our talk, all the extra sessions had
paid off in a 31--7 win over the Vikings. "It's soooo rewarding,'' Brady
said, "to have a bunch of good guys, hardworking guys come into your system
and be able to pick it up so we're all on the same page so fast.''
six receivers who weren't with New England seven months ago--WRs Reche
Caldwell, Doug Gabriel, Chad Jackson and Jabar Gaffney, RB Laurence Maroney and
TE David Thomas--caught a total of 17 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns.
The result was a dominant performance by Brady. Yes, he threw four
interceptions against the Colts on Sunday night, but two came on tipped balls.
That game was a fluke, not the start of a trend.
If you're like
most fantasy owners right now, you're looking for late-season bargains that
might give you a few points. In any competitive league several of Brady's
targets-- Maroney, RB Corey Dillon, TE Ben Watson and WR Troy Brown--are gone.
Another tight end, Daniel Graham, has been out for four weeks with an ankle
injury, so he's a wait-and-see proposition. Let's say for the sake of argument
that Gabriel is available in your league. Then let's rank the Pats' best
waiver-wire candidates in order of pickup preference:
1) Gabriel. He'll
be Brady's favorite target by season's end.
2) Caldwell. You
don't connect with a receiver 12 times--as Brady did with Caldwell against the
Bills and the Vikes combined--unless you're comfortable with him. 3) Thomas.
Just a hunch. The Patriots loved him in the draft because he hauled in so many
hard-to-catch balls from Vince Young at Texas. Brady will learn to trust him in
limited playing time down the stretch. He might give you two or three TDs.
Despite losing a heartbreaker to the Redskins, he's distributing the ball much
more effectively than Drew Bledsoe did. More important, he's keeping his
Filling in for the injured Joe Horn, the speed demon amassed 111 yards and
scored two big TDs against the Bucs on Sunday.
The journeyman replaced the injured Willis McGahee and ran all over the Packers
(95 yards, one TD).