Team: Here Comes The Brees – Ben Archer/Dan Sayles
2014 Record: 8-5, 9th pick, Superb Owl runner-up
Draft – Tevin Coleman (RB), Breshad Perriman (WR), Phillip Dorsett (WR), Maxx Williams (TE)
Free Agency – Charles Johnson, WR), Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB), Owen Daniels (TE)
Trade – DeSean Jackson (WR), Charles Sims (RB), Isaiah Crowell (RB), Terrance West (RB), Marqise Lee (WR), Allen Hurns (WR)
Free Agency – Ben Roethlisberger (QB), Justin Forsett (RB),
Trade – Marcel Dareus (DT), Roy Helu (RB), Corey Brown (WR), Kendall Wright (WR), Martellus Bennett (TE)
Runners-up in the Superb Owl, yes. Second best team in the league? Not so much. Here Comes The Brees was the little engine that could in 2014, reciting to itself over and over “I think I can, I know I can”. It came up just short in the most one-sided Superb Owls in history*. It was impressive, but was it sustainable? AWE tells us the Brees were the most over-performing team in the league. By more than 2 wins. They would have been expected to win just 5.88 games with their performance. They had a 14% chance of reaching 8 wins, but they made it and no one can take that away from them. Now comes that difficult second season.
They were 6th in total points scored, but 8th in potential points, with only the Dungeoneers and the Sadness having the potential to score fewer. The luck of the draw got them to the heights, but GMs Archer and Sayles have worked hard through the off-season to improve the roster.
Andrew Luck is a brilliant starting point for any fantasy team, but the running backs of Tampa, Cleveland and second string in St Louis are not the next building blocks you’d be looking for. Lamar Miller is a great option and Tevin Coleman holds promise but in a more pass-orientated offense.
DeSean Jackson and Charles Johnson are decent WR2/3 options but here they are carrying the can with a hobbled Cruz, a retiring Steve Smith, and an indeterminate Reuben Randle being the main back-up. The rookies all offer decent potential , but are either coming through camp with injuries or battling for a place in a crowded field. They look good, just not for 2015. Tight end holds promise, if any of them can make it through a full season.
The defence is more promising. Anyone who can put out Aaron Donald every week is cheating because one week he’ll be on a bye, but Donald is an immense talent and, Luck aside, the best player on the roster. However, this is a league brimming with DE talent and it’s an area where the Brees are lacking. Two ends will be needed each week which will not be to their advantage.
Further back, Harrison Smith is a star at safety but otherwise the defence is middling. Those stars should push the defence into mid-table existence, but the question is, have they improved enough from 2014?
Let’s get right to it and answer that question I posed at the end of the preview – no. They haven’t. Sorry. Did you want me to wrap that up in cotton wool and put a bow on it? Last season the astute pick-up of Justin Forsett after week 1 helped the team push on. Similar waiver work will be needed to turn this team into something competitive in 2015, but there are enough young players on the roster now to suggest there’s hope for 2016 and 2017.
5-8 and the 2nd pick in the draft. That 2nd pick could come in pretty handy when it comes to redeveloping this squad.
*While this statement may be true right now purely because there’s only been one, come back in 10 years and it’ll still be just as true. DynaForOne more than doubled the Brees’ score.