Jul 22, 2008
These last two years, I’ve been looking for the perfect fantasy quarterback. Tom Brady isn’t this year, unfortunately, and neither is Peyton Manning, or even Tony Romo. Those guys still cost too much. I’ve been grappling with the notion that it’s important to get a stud QB, yet I’ve long been a guy who advocates holding off on the position.
In Drew Brees in 2008, I think fantasy players can have the best of both worlds. Granted, you can’t hold off too long on Brees, but you can likely get 3-4 studs at RB/WR before pulling the trigger on Brees, and that’s good enough for me, especially now that the Saints have made the trade for Jeremy Shockey.
Brees was very strong for fantasy last year, but it wasn’t pretty. He was putting the ball up 40+ times a lot, 9 times to be exact. We saw in 2006 that if everything is going right around him, Brees is basically indefensible, yet we saw in 2007 that if things aren’t going right, his flaws are exposed and he’s not an elite player. That he was a top-5 fantasy QB last year is really a testament to his savvy – and a seriously pass-happy offense. After all, he really had only one receiver last year in Marques Colston.
I’d rather see more balance, and I think we’ll see it this year. I have no idea what Deuce McAllister will give them, but he’s on the roster and he’s presumably healthy enough to play. I also have confidence in Pierre Thomas, and I’m going to assume for now that we’ll see at least a tiny improvement from Reggie Bush. The running game will be better this year, there is no question because it was a train wreck last year, and that is huge for Brees. With a good running game, he can be the excellent distributor that he is, and it will open up the deep passing game again, something that was non-existent last year (but very prevalent in 2006).
Another missing aspect last year was a viable #2 wideout. David Patten was decent, and he’s back, but if they can get anything out of Robert Meachem that would be a beautiful thing. He’s exactly the player they need: a bigger receiver who can run and make explosive plays. I’m not asking for much this year, but if he can get 40 catches and pose a threat, Brees is going to be that much better. That, in turn, will make a guy like Devery Henderson much more dangerous. Henderson’s a one-trick pony, but he can fly and that one trick (big plays down the field) is key.
Of course, the addition of Shockey is what really puts the Brees plan over the top. Granted, he’s a pain in the ass and he’ll likely get hurt and miss a game or three, plus Shockey within driving distance to Bourbon Street is a concern. But Brees may be the best QB in the league in terms of understanding the voids in coverage underneath, and he was fantastic with Antonio Gates in SD. Shockey will definitely bring an added dimension to this offense, and while his addition may mean fewer catches for Colston, it will be harder for defenses to defend the wideout. Head coach Sean Payton knows Shockey, too, from his days with the Giants, and he should be able to get the most out of him. Keep in mind: Payton’s work running the offense in 2006 was near genius; his hands were basically tied in 2007.
Long story short, the Saint offense has the potential to be one of the deadliest and most versatile offenses in the league, and they have a quarterback pulling the trigger who can be GREAT if things are clicking on all cylinders.
So when it comes to his value and potential production (think 4000+ yards and 30+ TDs), Drew Brees really is the perfect fantasy quarterback in 2008.