It had to be done. Drew Brees has not been the Fantasy Football quarterback I expected when I drafted him at the beginning of the season. He has fallen woefully short in the first six weeks, and I am benching him in favor of Carson Palmer this week.
The reasons for Brees’ demise this year might not necessarily fall on the QB’s shoulders, but still the numbers are just not there in 2014. He has been notorious for not living up to his usual standards when playing on the road, but the numbers have been pretty much flat this season no matter where he plays. Brees has not thrown for more than 2 touchdowns in any game this year, and threw for only one in a season-opening loss in overtime to the Falcons. Maybe it is the fact that TE Jimmy Graham has not been 100 percent. Maybe it is the absence of Darren Sproles who defected to the Eagles in the off-season. The fault could lie in the statement by coach Sean Payton at the end of last year that the Saints would run the ball more in 2014.
Whatever it is, in the 7th week of the season, reasons do not matter. What matters are facts, and the fact is that fantasy owners can no longer count on Drew Brees putting up gaudy numbers week-in and week-out. In my half-point PPR league, Brees has never broken 30 points in a game. By this time last year he had put up 40 or more points twice, and ended the year with six games of at least 38 points and averaged 30.2 for the season.
This week the Saints travel to Detroit to take on the No. 1 defense against fantasy quarterbacks. Jimmy Graham will either not play or be severely limited by a shoulder injury. The Lions D/ST held No. 3 fantasy QB Aaron Rodgers to only 14 fantasy points in Week 3. They have allowed only 5 passing touchdowns in 6 games.
Carson Palmer does not come without risks–specifically his nerve-damaged shoulder. He looked fine last week against the Redskins and this week will go up against a Raiders’ defense that is ranked in the lower half of the league in points allowed to fantasy quarterbacks. The Arizona Cardinals and coach Bruce Aryans have had a week to digest the tendencies of the Raiders under new coach Tony Sparano. The bottom line is I feel much more comfortable relying on Palmer at Oakland than I do with Brees in Motown. True, Palmer may be a late scratch, but Drew Stanton is available in a worst-case scenario. If word that Palmer is out is announced early enough, Brees can still be called up from the bench.
In other moves this week, I picked up TE Jordan Cameron of the Browns (or is it Cameron Jordan?) in a trade for Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins. My team is rich with receivers (Brandon Marshall, Randall Cobb, Emmanuel Sanders, and Keenan Allen) and lacking in tight ends, so the trade made all the sense in the world– especially with the Browns taking on the Jaguars this week. I also picked up Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman off of the waiver wire and dropped New England TE Tim Wright. (Unless you own Rob Gronkowski or Tom Brady, it is not worth the stress to play “Belichick Roulette” with any of the Patriots players.) Still, Hillman will probably sit on my bench this week behind Eddie Lacy and Ahmad Bradshaw. Changes are possible, however, before Sunday.
Finally, without having any statistical reason—purely gut-feeling—I dropped the Chargers defense and picked up the Bears, who are at home against the Dolphins. The Bears have yet to win at home this season, and I expect a big effort for the faithful at Soldier Field. You need at least one of those psychic picks each week, right?