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And The Midseason Fantasy MVP Is…

When I looked back at the first half of the 2008 National Football League season to choose my midseason fantasy most valuable player, I found myself burdened by a chronic case of indecision. After watching a myriad of outstanding performances by a wide variety of players from a wide variety of teams, how could I choose one player over all the others? In the end, my decision turned out to be an easy one. I know at least a few of you will disagree with my selection of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, but that is okay. I honestly respect your opinions, and I think debate about players is a fantastic part of fantasy football. Nevertheless, I stand by my choice.

 

Brees’ Background

 

Drew Christopher Brees was born January 15, 1979, in Austin, Texas. Brees, as you may recall, starred at Purdue University.

 

Drew Brees – COLLEGE CAREER

PASSING

RUSHING

YEAR

CMP

ATT

YDS

TD

INT

CMP%

ATT

YDS

AVG

TD

LNG

1997

19

43

232

0

1

44.2

10

9

0.9

2

11

1998

361

569

3,983

39

20

63.4

69

193

2.8

3

23

1999

337

554

3,909

25

12

60.8

79

177

2.2

4

21

2000

309

512

3,668

26

12

60.4

95

521

5.5

5

27

TOTALS

1,026

1,678

11,792

90

45

61.1

253

900

3.5

14

27

 

Brees left Purdue holding Big Ten Conference records in career passing yards (11,792), touchdown passes (90), total offensive yards (12,693), completions (1,026) and attempts (1,678). He also finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1999 and finished third in the voting in 2000.

 

The San Diego Chargers selected Brees with the first pick of the second round (No. 32 overall) in the 2001 NFL Draft. At the time, many experts had thought Brees’ size (6-foot-0, 209 pounds) would prevent him from succeeding in the pros.

 

Drew Brees – SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – REGULAR SEASON

YEAR

AGE

G

GS

CMP

ATT

CMP%

YDS

TD

INT

2001

22

1

0

15

27

55.6

221

1

0

2002

23

16

16

320

526

60.8

3,284

17

16

2003

24

11

11

205

356

57.6

2,108

11

15

2004

25

15

15

262

400

65.5

3,159

27

7

2005

26

16

16

323

500

64.6

3,576

24

15

TOTALS

59

58

1,125

1,809

62.2

12,348

80

53

 

Brees’ stint in San Diego was rocky at times, and he was slow to develop as a passer

. The Purdue alum didn’t play much as a rookie but started every game during the 2002 season. Although Brees posted some pedestrian numbers that year, he was named the starter for the 2003 campaign. Brees, however, regressed that year, passing for a career-low 2,108 yards and 11 scores. In addition, Brees lost some starts to quarterback Doug Flutie (retired). Apparently not convinced that Brees could cut it as a franchise quarterback, the Chargers drafted Philip Rivers in 2004, and it looked like Brees’ days as a starter were over. However, Rivers held out and missed the club’s entire training camp, which forced the Chargers brain trust to give Brees another look. All Brees did was win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award following an impressive season. Brees was scheduled to be a free agent heading into 2005. However, San Diego decided to franchise him, which netted Brees a one-year, $8 million contract.

 

Brees displayed some noticeable improvement in 2005, posting a career-high in passing yards. During the final game of the season, Brees suffered an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder, which prevented him from taking a well-deserved trip to the Pro Bowl. He underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum and a partially torn rotator cuff. After trying and failing to negotiate a contract with the Chargers following some long, drawn out talks – they were very worried about his shoulder injury and had big money tied up in Rivers – Brees decided to test the free-agent market, eventually signing a six-year $60 million deal with the New Orleans Saints.

 

Drew Brees – NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – REGULAR SEASON

YEAR

AGE

G

GS

CMP

ATT

CMP%

YDS

TD

INT

2006

27

16

16

356

554

64.3

4,418

26

11

2007

28

16

16

440

652

67.5

4,423

28

18

TOTALS

32

32

796

1,206

66.0

8,841

54

29

 

Brees was a great fit for head coach Sean Payton’s pass-happy scheme and finally blossomed as a franchise quarterback in 2006, throwing for a league-high 4,418 yards and 26 touchdown passes, which earned him Pro Bowl honors. Brees got off to a slow start in 2007, tossing just one touchdown pass in his first four games. However, he rebounded nicely, finishing with some great numbers.

 

Why Brees For Midseason Fantasy MVP?

 

Since our discussion is heading into Brees’ 2008 season, here is where I will reveal the two simple reasons why I think Brees is the midseason fantasy most valuable player:

 

1.

   

Brees’ fantasy production has been consistently high. He has turned in only two genuinely bad games – from a fantasy perspective. Brees has thrown for at least 300 yards in six of eight outings and has tossed at least one touchdown pass in seven of eight contests.

 

2.

   

Brees has been productive despite losing many of his top targets for long stretches this season.

 

Here is a game-by-game breakdown of Brees’ 2008 production:

 

Week 1 – New Orleans 24, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20

Brees threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception. Wide receiver Marques Colston, who is Brees’ top receiving target, left the game with a thumb injury.

 

Week 2 – Washington Redskins 29, New Orleans Saints 24

This was one of Brees’ bad games. Although he was held to just 216 passing yards and threw two interceptions, Brees managed to toss one touchdown pass. Key inactive: Colston.

 

Week 3 – Denver Broncos 34, New Orleans Saints 32

Brees threw for an impressive 421 yards but managed just one touchdown pass. Some problems in the kicking game had a role in New Orleans losing this contest. Key inactive: Colston. Tight end Jeremy Shockey was diagnosed with a sports hernia and had to undergo surgery. Wide receiver David Patten, who was a starter, suffered a groin injury.

 

Week 4 – New Orleans Saints 31, San Francisco 49ers 27

Brees enjoyed one of his most productive games of the season, throwing for 363 yards and three touchdowns with just one pick. Key inactives: Colston and Shockey. Patten did try to play, but he was very limited and left the game after a couple of series.

 

Week 5 – Minnesota Vikings 30, New Orleans Saints 27

Brees threw for 330 yards and one touchdown but also tossed two interceptions. He didn’t get a lot of support at times from his teammates, who played sloppily at times. Problems in the kicking game played a role in the loss. Key inactives: Colston, Shockey and Patten.

 

Week 6 – New Orleans Saints 34, Oakland Raiders 3

It was just another day at the office for Brees, who completed 26 of his 30 throws for 330 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Key inactives: Colston, Shockey and Patten.

 

Week 7 – Carolina Panthers 27, New Orleans Saints 9

Brees posted his worst game of the season, throwing for 231 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception against an unexpectedly stout Panthers pass defense. Running back Reggie Bush left the game with a knee injury and later underwent surgery. Key inactive: Patten. Colston played but did not catch a pass. Shockey tried to play but was ineffective.

 

Week 8 – New Orleans 37, San Diego 32

As you probably remember, this was the game played in London, England. Brees rebounded from his poor Week 7 performance, throwing for 339 yards and three scores with zero interceptions. Key inactives: Bush and Patten. Colston caught just two balls for 56 yards. Shockey was active for the game but did not catch a pass.

 

Week 9 – Bye

 

Brees’ Fantasy Forecast

 

No, I’m not going to insult your intelligence with an analysis of Brees’ fantasy outlook, since we all know he is a must-start player and arguably the best fantasy quarterback this season. Barring an injury, he is currently on pace to break Dan Marino’s passing yardage record (5,084 yards), which was set in 1984. If Brees’ passing yardage production remains constant, he could throw for 5,126 yards to go along with 30 touchdown passes. Unless something unexpected happens, Brees should enter the 2009 season as the No. 1-ranked fantasy quarterback.

 

Here is New Orleans’

remaining schedule:

 

DATE

WEEK #

OPPONENT

RANK VERSUS THE PASS

Nov. 09

Week 10

@Atlanta

16

Nov. 16

Week 11

@Kansas City

22

Nov. 24

Week 12

Green Bay

5

Nov. 30

Week 13

@Tampa Bay

6

Dec. 07

Week 14

Atlanta

16

Dec. 11

Week 15

@Chicago

30

Dec. 21

Week 16

@Detroit

29

Dec. 28

Week 17

Carolina

10


On paper, Brees has five favorable matchups remaining and three tougher ones. However, I think he and the Saints are good enough to move the ball through the air against Green Bay, Tampa Bay and Carolina. The weather for the Week 15 game in Chicago, however, could be an issue. Bush is expected to return to the lineup in Week 11. Colston and Shockey will undoubtedly get back into game shape and be productive again in Week 10.

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