Tom Brady's injury is devastating to the teams that drafted him. The effect is a net loss of 14 to 20 fantasy points per week.
That number was calculated by looking at the predicted fantasy points per game for quarterbacks before the Brady injury:
Tom Brady was expected to produce about 26 fantasy points per game; a lot more than any other quarterback.
The effect of his injury depends on who you have to replace him. If you have a decent replacement or were able to pick up Matt Cassel, then your new QB will probably average 12 fantasy points per game. It's still early to tell what Cassel will do, but with a great team surrounding him he'll still be a solid replacement.
In this scenario with a decent backup, the net loss is 14 points per game due to Tom Brady's injury. That's a lot.
Unfortunately, that's the best-case scenario for most fantasy owners. If you weren't fast enough to grab Cassel and you didn't draft a good backup then you're looking at pulling someone from the free agent pool.
In general, there will be better players on the waiver wire in smaller leagues than in larger ones. Assuming there were two QBs drafted per team, a 10-team league will have the 20th-best QB available, such as Jon Kitna.
If you can grab the 20th-best QB, then your net loss from Brady's injury is 17 points per week.
For a 12-team league the 24th-best QB, Matt Ryan, should be available and the net loss is 19 points per week.
For a 14-team league the 28th-best QB, Jamarcus Russell, should be available and the net loss is 20 points per week.
Trade! Trade! Trade!
If you think you can spot every team in your league 14 to 20 points per week and still make the playoffs, you're dreaming.
To have any shot at winning, you need to get more points per game into your starting lineup. That means taking a risk and sacrificing depth at other positions. Package up your backup running backs and wide receivers to upgrade at quarterback.
The only exception is if you got lucky and had an amazing draft and the rest of your team can make up for the loss at quarterback. If you drafted Michael Turner and Willie Parker, who are both outperforming their ADP, then you can probably limp along with a scrub at QB.
All the other unlucky Brady owners, however, need to start looking for teams to trade with. It's going to take a lot of work to get back into playoff contention.
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