When looking at fantasy football quarterbacks over the past five seasons, few have been more consistent and more productive than New Orleans Saint’s signal caller Drew Brees. Not only has Brees finished among the top two among quarterbacks in fantasy points scored in four of the last five seasons, he’s also thrown for over 5,000 yards in three of his last five seasons.
From 2008-2010, Brees was a damn good fantasy quarterback. He led all quarterback in fantasy points scored in 2008, finished second in 2009 and sixth in 2010. Yet, if none of those seasons did he eclipse 20 fantasy points per game as he averaged 18.7 in 2008, 19.1 in 2009 and 16.5 in 2010.
Yet in 2011, something clicked with Brees, namely the arrival of all-world tight end Jimmy Graham bursting onto the scene — since then, the former second-round pick from Purdue has been lighting up fantasy scoreboards like a pinball machine and becoming one of fantasy football’s can’t miss players.
In 2011, Brees broke the NFL record for passing yards, while also finishing second in fantasy points scored with 389.6 fantasy points, which equated to an average of 24.4 fantasy points per game. Last season, even without head coach Sean Payton calling the plays, Brees still racked up ridiculous numbers, throwing 5,177 yards and totaling 348.6 fantasy points per game, an average of 21.8 fantasy points per game — good enough to rank second among quarterbacks.
When looking at the numbers, it’s easy to see the clear difference that having Graham at tight end has made. After all, over the past two seasons, Brees has connected with the former university of Miami product 184 times for 2,292 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Therefore, when projecting Brees fantasy value for the 2013 season, the continued presence of Graham, along with Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Darren Sproles and Devery Henderson is a key consideration. The Saints are also going to have Payton back calling the plays in 2013, so there is reason to believe the pass offense will at least be as good as it was in 2012, if not even better.
Hopefully for Saints fans the return of Payton means an improved defense and a better running game, which could reduce Brees’ pass attempts slightly in 2013 but after three straight seasons of 650 plus passing attempts, fantasy owners shouldn’t be too worried about a reduction of Brees’ workload.
2013 Projection: I look for the Saints to be an improved football team in 2013 and expect them to be right in the thick of playoff contention. That most certainly means the Saints defense will be better and the running game should be more of a factor. If that’s the case, Brees may not have the sling the ball around the field 50 times to keep New Orleans in the game but trust me, Payton knows who his best player is, so Brees will be throwing the ball plenty again in 2013, regardless. Therefore, fantasy owners should expect another 5,000 yards passing from Brees and at least 40 touchdown passes.
Brees will be one of the true elite fantasy quarterbacks in 2013 and should be among the top-5 in overall fantasy points scored once again this season. That being said though, with the depth of the quarterback positon overall in terms of fantasy football, Brees should not be selected in the first round at this point, he is a much better value if you can get him near the middle of round two.
All fantasy stats are courtesy of four-downs.com