In a Twitter request from @HMichaelBritt1, I will compare two quarterbacks who will be available in the middle rounds. Drew Brees is an experienced veteran who has been a great fantasy option at quarterback for the last decade, but is getting older and lost his top two weapons from last year. Matt Ryan has been a consistent tier-2 quarterback in fantasy for the past four years for fantasy owners taking a quarterback in the later rounds. Big changes are in store for each of these quarterbacks this season. Who should have the edge and who should you draft?
Let’s start with some strengths and weaknesses of each player from a fantasy standpoint:
Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints):
- Experienced NFL veteran with the savvy to be productive with whomever is around him
- Sean Payton and Brees together are great offensive minds
- A healthy year from Brandin Cooks in the slot will bring a new element to the offense
- Jimmy Graham is a HUGE loss. He was No. 1 in targets (124), No. 1 in receptions (85), and No. 1 in receiving touchdowns and overall touchdowns (10) on the team. Who can replace that production?
- Kenny Stills was a legitimate deep threat and rising star at wide receiver; he was No. 2 in targets on the team in 2014
- Brees is getting older, a new type of offense focused on the run game will bring his normal production down
Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons):
- Julio Jones and Roddy White are healthy heading into 2015, and if they stay healthy, will bring the Falcons offense to their full potential
- A new coach and rejuvenation in the franchise will bring excitement
- Coach Dan Quinn’s defense will create more turnovers and opportunities for the offense
- Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is a West Coast style offensive coordinator with a base in establishing a run game, which will take away passing attempts from Ryan
- Roddy White is getting older as their No. 2 option, and the lack of a proven talent on the depth chart could be an issue this season
The Argument for Brees over Ryan:
Sure Brees is heading into a season without the elite talent he has had in previous years, but he is savvy and so is Payton. Cooks was a great pick last season; team him up with Marques Colston, and you have a decent 1-2 punch. Josh Hill showed flashes of being a decent tight end and Brees will maximize his potential. Brees gained a playmaker out of the backfield in C.J. Spiller, who can turn a short pass into a long score. Brees may have lost a few players, but he is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL!
The Argument for Ryan over Brees:
Ryan has shown that he is a premier quarterback in this league and capable of taking a team to the playoffs and leading a franchise. He is coming into 2015 with a healthy corps of receivers, some new additions, and a fresh face as head coach to rejuvenate the franchise. Rookie Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman and Antone Smith will form a RBBC bringing fresh legs to the running back position, which will improve the overall offense. Play action will be improved and open up the field for Jones, White, rookie Justin Hardy and the tight ends to make plays down field. Ryan in this West Coast style offense could really become more efficient, therefore, becoming more productive than he has in previous years. Quinn will bring a turnover-forcing defense that will bring more opportunities for Ryan and the offense. Ryan and the Falcons could take the next step and create some noise this season!
Would You Rather Draft Decision:
Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
I honestly think these two players will have similar stat lines this season, but one has a higher upside. Let me diagram:
Rest of WR Depth Chart: Falcons > Saints
Tight End: Falcons TE? < Josh Hill
Receiving Running Backs: Falcons < Saints
Offensive Line: Falcons < Saints
Defense: Falcons > Saints
Falcons = 4 points
Saints = 3 points
1 Tie Point
When it comes down to it, there is more talent to be had with the Falcons than the Saints. Ryan has an elite wide receiver with Jones, a decent depth chart of wide receivers, and a new head coach who will bring some shape to the defense. The Saints have a better tight end and running back situation, but the wide receivers are the breadwinners here for fantasy production. If Graham were still there for the Saints, I would consider him more of a wide receiver in this situation. Brees will not throw as many touchdowns this season because of the loss of Graham. Brees often looked to Graham as well as trusted him with jump balls in the end zone; does Brees have that safety valve this year? Ryan is on the upswing due to the talent around him and a new rejuvenation in the franchise. I really think the new defense that Quinn is piecing together will be a big part of Ryan’s success this year. I’m taking the potential of Ryan and the Falcons over the declining Saints and Brees.
If you have a “Would You Rather Draft” for Dan Collins, tweet your idea to Shep_Collins and he may pick yours to debate in an upcoming article. Follow for fantasy football and NFL Draft insight.