I love Drew Brees. He’s a champion for the little guy, a champion for his team, and a champion for his city. He has also made me a little bit of money over the years. But when it comes to Brees, as with any NFL player, it is important to remain objective about his potential for the coming season. Going as the fifth quarterback right now in My Fantasy League MFL10’s, here are three reasons to avoid Drew Brees in 2015.
Jimmy Graham is Gone
I’ll first address the elephant in the room; the six foot seven, 265 pound, touchdown scoring elephant known as Jimmy Graham. The first big splash move of the off-season was the New Orleans Saints trading Graham to Seattle for a first round pick and Max Unger. We can debate whether or not this was a good football move, but it was definitely a bad move for Brees.
Among all WRs and TEs, Graham was tied for 17th in targets, tied for fifth in TDs, 10th in catch rate, and 11th in total receptions. He was also 14th in the entire league with 54 catches for first downs. There are very few players in the league, let alone on the Saints roster, who can do what he does for an offense. The impact of his loss will certainly be reflected in Brees’ fantasy output going forward.
Actually, Lots of People are Gone
Graham was not the only major personnel move the team made this summer. The Saints also traded Kenny Stills to the Dolphins, and let Pierre Thomas, Travaris Cadet, and Robert Meachem walk. Take a look at Brees in the AYA App from last year:
Brees is now without four of the six players he targeted 50 times or more last season. As Coach Carter would say, “I guess that mean’s we’ll have a new leader in targets this season, huh?” Still, it has to be at least somewhat alarming that the best targets Brees has are Brandin Cooks, a five foot ten inch second-year WR who couldn’t make it through his rookie year healthy, and the 31 year-old Marques Colston, who saw his AYA drop from 9.0 to 7.8 last season.
The Saints Off-Season Moves Point Towards a More Run-Heavy Offense
To be clear, I don’t expect the Saints to all of a sudden become the 2009 New York Jets, but I do expect them to look to control the ball a little more than they did in 2014. Aside from the jettisoning of some of Brees’ targets, the team brought back Mark Ingram and signed C.J. Spiller, each with a four year, 16 million dollar contract. While Spiller will definitely contribute in the receiving game, this tells me the Saints are looking to have a diverse running attack. Furthermore, New Orleans selected tackle Andrus Peat from run-heavy Stanford with pick 13 overall in the NFL Draft. They also drafted zero receiver help.
Because of all this, I have a hard time believing that Brees will match his 659 attempts from last season. However, he finished QB5 last season, which is exactly where he is being drafted now. Even if we assume his efficiency doesn’t take a hit from losing some of his most reliable targets, if Brees loses just one attempt per game, he drops from QB5 to QB7. If he loses any efficiency, he could fall even lower than that. Right now, Brees has all of his upside priced into his ADP, but none of his risk. He is a clear stay-away in 2015 drafts.