I’m afraid our obsession with age has knocked Drew Brees too far down the dynasty positional rankings. Brees will be 35 for the entire 2014 season – this is three years younger than Peyton Manning, who has a history of neck surgery and threw 55 touchdowns at age 37. Since 2011, Drew Brees has finished with an overall rank of second, first and second in most scoring settings. I currently rank him as the third dynasty quarterback, but I may consider Cam Newton over him. However, I don’t think he should be lower than QB4.
Here are my reasons why.
Why we avoid him?
At age 35, most people would think he might only be their starting quarterback for just two or three years. This might be true. It also feels kind of weird to have Drew Brees on the same take as your young 24-year old studs. However, if you think you can predict which running backs are going to be your starters in four years, you are probably wrong. Would you be shocked if Drew Brees was a top ten quarterback for longer than rushing quarterbacks like Robert Griffin, Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson?
Do you really think you can’t find a replacement for Drew Brees in the next three or four seasons? Own Drew Brees now and I promise you can find his replacement easily before the end of his career. Most of the top 12 quarterbacks haven’t even been in the league for four years. If you don’t want to find a young stud to replace him with in the future, top twelve scorers like Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton and Philip Rivers are practically free in trades or startup ADP. If you don’t find a future stud, you can at a minimum find a stop-gap veteran replacement.
Comparison to players often ranked ahead of Drew Brees
Notice the more points per passing TD, the more you want Drew Brees. Of course you should you should never start a league and not know what the points per passing TDs are.
NOTE: These stats do not include yardage bonuses for passing yards over 300 yards, or yardage premium leagues of 1 point per 20 yards passing. Drew Brees has an even bigger positional advantage in those settings.
So here is the question: When are Wilson, Kaepernick or Stafford going to outscore Drew Brees?
It could happen at any point, but it might not be until 2017 or later. Why would you think you can’t find a player as good as Russell Wilson, Nick Foles or Colin Kaepernick in the next four years? Six of the current top 12 dynasty quarterbacks: Andrew Luck; Robert Griffin; Russell Wilson; Colin Kaepernick; Cam Newton and Nick Foles were not even in the league four years ago. There is plenty time to get your future quarterback. I prefer to take all those points now and make finding a future quarterback a priority later.
In a start one quarterback league, you can get a rookie quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles for a second round rookie pick or even beyond. Also, most teams are going to have a good quarterback in standard leagues, so you may be the only team with a need at quarterback in your rookie drafts. You could easily get a top rookie quarterback in 2015, 2016 or later.
While people are enjoying bragging about how young their starting quarterback is, you can enjoy your extra five to seven points per week (or more) for years and then just draft the next Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson later. We play to win championships, not to create the youngest team possible.
We love Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski because they can get 18-19 PPR Points per game (PPG) whereas other starting tight ends may be in the 12-14 PPG range. This positional advantage is why Graham and Gronkowski have become almost untradeable and are drafted in the first two rounds. Drew Brees can provide the same statistical advantage in standard leagues and even greater if you have six points per passing touchdown, passing yardage bonuses, or one point per twenty yards passing.
The quarterback position has changed and there is not much separating a top five quarterback from a top fifteen quarterback. Players like Andy Dalton, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger can put up top ten finishes. So if Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan don’t give you an advantage over any other teams, why draft them high?
Admittedly, I mainly play in Superflex Leagues in which you can (and should) start two quarterbacks. In this setting, strength at quarterback gives you a big advantage over a team with two weaker ones. However, in this setting, it is harder to carry a strong third quarterback. You might need to think about your Drew Brees replacement earlier than in a standard one quarterback league.
Drew Brees likely will get to see what Peyton Manning’s career totals will be and see if they are attainable. If he aspires to break the all-time NFL records in passing touchdowns and yards, he just needs to keep playing a high level longer than Manning does. Playing for three years is a possibility because he is signed until 2017, but playing until he is 40 is a possibility as well. He has had an excellent track record of health and he may be the type of player who can last longer than players that take more hits.
Don’t let Drew Brees’ age deter you from taking him. He can give you a positional advantage similar to what Graham and Gronk give at tight end, possibly more depending on your league format and scoring bonuses. Remember, backup quarterbacks and rookie quarterbacks are very cheap. Take the points now and get your replacement later. Let other’s brag about their young talented quarterbacks, while you can brag about your name on the trophy.
Hit me up on twitter anytime @BeckleyNFL for dynasty chat.