It goes without saying that Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and fantasy football owners have surely noticed with three straight 5,000-yard passing seasons and he now has three of the five most prolific passing seasons in league history. Matthew Stafford topped 5,000 yards himself in 2011, but after two down years he’ll look to recapture that form this year with a new coaching regime in place.
Brees and Stafford will be among the first 5-10 quarterbacks off the board in fantasy drafts, but which guy is the better option this year?
The Case For Matthew Stafford
Stafford missed 19 games in his first two seasons, but he has played all 16 games in three straight seasons behind a steadily improving offensive line that allowed him to be sacked just 23 times in 2013. The Lions may try to run the ball more this year, but the addition of wide receiver Golden Tate in free agency and tight end Eric Ebron in May’s draft to go along with Calvin Johnson assures that Stafford will still be throwing the ball plenty this year.
Stafford’s completion percentage continue a downward trend last year (58.5 percent), but he should benefit from the hiring of an offensive-minded head coach in Jim Caldwell and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi comes to Detroit after being quarterbacks coach for the New Orleans Saints over the past five seasons.
The Case For Drew Brees
Brees is as reliable as it gets at quarterback, or any position really, and his streak of 64 consecutive regular season starts would be 144 in a row if he hadn’t been rested in the 2009 regular season finale. For some perspective, that would date back to his final season with the San Diego Chargers in 2005.
The Saints traded running back Darren Sproles and released wide receiver Lance Moore this offseason, but there are still plenty of weapons at Brees’ disposal and he will get the most out of them.
Brees had 11 300-yard games in 2013, and his 34 such games over the last three seasons is nine more than anyone else over that span. Very little is guaranteed in fantasy football, but you can basically book Brees for 4,500 yards and 35-40 touchdowns even at age 35 this year.
An argument can be made for Brees to be the first quarterback off the board in fantasy drafts, and he is a reliable, virtually fail-safe option for owners that are willing to use an early pick on the position. But Stafford’s chances for a big rebound are hard to ignore with a new coaching staff in place, and his average draft position is over a round later than Brees right now. You can’t go wrong having Brees or Stafford as a high-end QB1 this year, but I lean toward Stafford based on slightly better draft day value.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.