by Ray Kuhn
Just wait… Pass on the name recognition and forget about the league(s) he helped you win not that long ago… Move past the DFS tournaments in which you were profitable thanks to the Drew Brees and the Saints…
You can’t erase history and the fact that Brees is still an elite quarterback, but he is no longer the fantasy player he once was. At age 39 he is on the back side of his career and by no means am I suggesting that time has passed him by, but it’s better to be a year earlier rather than a year late in moving on from Brees.
We consistently advocate, year after year, to wait on quarterbacks in your draft. Stock up on running backs and wide receivers, draft plenty of upside and let the quarterback market fall to you. That is the generally the preferred strategy, especially when you only need to start 12 at the position each week, and this season is no different.
In NFFC leagues Brees is currently the seventh quarterback coming off the boards with an ADP of 82. While it is a far cry from where he was being drafted a few seasons ago, it’s still about two rounds, or 20 picks, ahead of where I feel comfortable taking him.
While I do think last season was the beginning of Brees’ decline, more on that later, my hesitation at taking him at his current ADP has more to do the available options after him. After Brees the following quarterbacks are coming off the board between picks 91 and 103 (in order):
- Kirk Cousins
- Matthew Stafford
- Jimmy Garappolo
- Andrew Luck
- Ben Roethlisberger
- Phillip Rivers
Ranking Brees ahead of any of those quarterbacks is a toss-up, at best, and there is value in accumulating two more FLEX options before taking a quarterback. That is especially true if you think we aren’t going to see a repeat of his 2016 season and instead a repeat of his 2017 campaign.
While Brees did complete 72% of his passes last year, his approach was more cautious and didn’t focus as much on downfield options. He threw for a more than respectable 4,334 yards, but we saw his touchdown total drop from 37 in 2016 to 23 last season. While it’s possible he does bounce back, it’s not likely we see an improvement of 14 TD.
Additionally, the bulk of his production came in four of his 16 games. After having 10 games of 300-plus passing yards in both 2015 and 2016, and averaging 10.3 such games per year between 2011 and 2016, that number dropped to three last season. He did have one game in which he threw for 299 yards, but it is still a far cry from what we became accustomed to.
If you remove those four games Brees averaged 247 passing yards per game in his other 12. That, coupled with the drop in TD passes, helped to drastically reduce his value. In the head-to-head format that is not a recipe for success.
There was only one game in which Brees had more than 2 TD, he had three, and his days as a fantasy stud might be history. That doesn’t mean he has lost all value, but there are better options out there (especially when New Orleans has an improved defense and appears to be more focused on developing the running game).
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 preseason rankings: