Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees: Which QB is the Better Fantasy Option?

Chet Gresham@Chet_GFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2012

Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Tom Brady, New England PatriotsElsa/Getty Images

The draft has just started and you're feeling good. You've spent days putting together your rankings and all you have to do now is fill your queue and lean back and hit "DRAFT." Phew, thank goodness that's over. Good luck and have fun with your next draft.

Oh wait, yes, I remember! Drafts never go that way. No matter how much you've researched, when it comes down to a decision between two players you feel are very close, you sometimes just freeze up.

You see that you have one ranked ahead of the other, but your gut is saying, well, not so fast, buster brown! I know I've come across this problem early in the second round. I'm usually not a collector of stud quarterbacks, but if they slip far enough, I'll pounce. The problem this year is trying to pick between Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

For the most part you'll find Tom Brady edging out Drew Brees this season in average draft position and rankings from many different fantasy football sites around the nation. If you take a look at his ADP, you'll see that Brees is behind Brady, but only by a few draft slots and ahead of him over at CBS.


So why is the all-time leader in most passing yards in a season behind a quarterback who he beat in fantasy points, just last season? Well, to answer your question as cryptically as possible, Randy Moss.

The 2007 season was a special one for any fantasy football player who owned Tom Brady and/or Randy Moss. Both set touchdown records for their position and won lots of fake football championships in the process.


Many, including myself, are expecting great things from the New England Patriots' offense this season due to the signing of Brandon Lloyd and the prodigal son, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, returning to the fold.

The last time the Patriots had a legitimate outside vertical threat was when McDaniels, Randy Moss and Tom Brady teamed up to rewrite the record books. And this season the Patriots have more weapons than they had in 2007 and 2011. In my last article I even downgraded Rob Gronkowski to the number two fantasy tight end, based mostly on the fact that the Patriots are so stacked at every receiving position.

So many are looking for a repeat of 2007. This no doubt is a very different team than when Josh McDaniels was last in Foxboro. Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are special talents that he didn't have last time around, at positions where they had little talent to work with. 

Will they be able to put it all together for Tom Brady for a year that will trump Drew Brees? It is a possibility, but we can't expect the same team as 2007. Brady will be 35 years old and Randy Moss will be playing in San Francisco. This team as is, is stacked, but to put up Drew Brees numbers, well, you have to break records.

Before we move on, let's take a look at how Drew Brees and Tom Brady stack up over the last six full seasons. I excluded Brady's 2008 for obvious reasons.


Even with Brady's 50 touchdown season, they still both ended up averaging 33 passing touchdowns a season. The biggest differences are in total yardage and interceptions, with Brady throwing less interceptions and Brees throwing for more yardage. After that, it is hard to distinguish between the two.

Brees has been extremely consistent, but last season turned it up a notch with the addition of Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham to the arsenal. He of course broke the record for passing yards in a season and also threw for a career high 46 touchdowns.


The question is, can Brees come close to repeating those numbers this season? What has changed from last season? Well, quite a bit. The NFL came down hard on the New Orleans Saints for issuing bounties on opposing players. The biggest loss in the aftermath was head coach Sean Payton for the season. Payton was the architect of the offense and offensive play-caller.

So how much will Payton's absence hurt the offensive production? That's a good question? Well, thanks. The Saints' offensive coordinator is one Pete Carmichael, Jr. He has been with Sean Payton for six seasons. The first three as his quarterback's coach and then the last three as the offensive coordinator. But for much of his offensive coordinating he wasn't the main play-caller.

Last season, after Sean Payton had a freak accident on the sideline and blew out his knee, Carmichael took over play-calling for the last 10 games and did quite well, as you can imagine, as Brees went crazy and broke the passing record.

Carmichael has been close to both Brees and Payton over the last six seasons and knows the offense better than anyone else. I am not concerned about a big offensive letdown as long as Brees and Carmichael are steering the ship.


You can also take into consideration the schedules and home field of each team. The NFC South is not a strong pass defending division and Brees gets to play half of his games in the friendly confines of the Superdome and also many games in the southern tier of the United States. The Patriots, on the other hand, play in the Massachusetts during the coldest of the cold.

Hey, I'm not going to spit in your eye and say you just went to the spa. The Patriots can pretty much score on anyone in any weather, but I still prefer a dome over a nor'easter.

So how do we come out on this? Well, first off, you aren't really going to go wrong either way. Both players are set up for strong seasons. But when my turn comes up and I have 60 seconds to decide between the two! What do I do!? I 'm going with Old Man Brady.

It comes down to potential and this season it's all Brady. Brandon Lloyd, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez make up the best passing attack in the league. The Patriots' pass defense will be improved, but not enough to shut down teams and the Patriots will still have to score a lot to win. And you now coach Belichick doesn't let the other team cry uncle. Or maybe he does, but likes to then choke them out.