So, this week I thought I would do something different. Instead of going with some general strategy advice, I thought I would delve into what is wrong with the New Orleans offense. As anyone who has started Drew Brees – or any Saints not named Jimmy Graham – knows, the Saints offense has not been great this season. Further, the New Orleans offense has had major issues on the road dating back to last season. At least, that is what we are being told. I am going to look at the stats to see if that narrative holds up, or perhaps, there is something more useful we can find out about the New Orleans offense, or more specifically, Drew Brees.
We will start with what matters the most for an offense, scoring. Since week one of the 2013 season, New Orleans has averaged 32.44 points per game at home, 28.12 points per game indoors, 19.72 points per game on the road and an even 19 points per game outdoors. The Saints offense, as you might expect, has been great at home, very good indoors, not good on the road and even worse outdoors. So, the Saints have problems scoring on the road, do they also have problems moving the ball on the road?
The short answer is yes. And again, New Orleans has even more issues on the road outdoors. At home, the Saints have averaged 438 yards per game since the start of the 2013 season. On the road that output falls to 377.5 yards per game. Put the Saints offense outdoors and the production falls again. New Orleans’ offense has averaged only 348 yards per game outdoors the last season and four games. Now that we have confirmed what we already suspected, it is time to see how severe those stats have impacted Drew Brees as a fantasy player.
Make no mistake, Drew Brees is a fantasy stud. He ranks first in passing yards since the start of 2013, 2nd in touchdown passes and seventh in touchdown to interception ratio. To be fair, Brees has played one more game than Peyton Manning, but with one more game from Manning – or anyone else who has had their bye this season – Brees would still rank second in both passing yards and touchdowns. On a per game basis, Brees has averaged 318.25 yards per game his last 20 games along with 2.3 touchdowns per game. Take Brees out of the Superdome and his passing yards per game fall to 294.3 yards per game and he gives you only 1.5 touchdown per game. You may have guessed, but if you put Brees outdoors, his numbers fall even more. Just to be thorough, outdoors Brees has averaged 270.4 yards — though he has average 1.6 passing touchdowns per game.
If you want to see something even more interesting, let’s take a look at Brees’ stats in the red zone outdoors. In his seven outdoor games since the start of the 2013 season, Brees is 16 of 29 for 81 yards in the red zone. That is not a typo, I have triple checked the numbers. Brees has averaged 2.79 yards per attempt in the red zone in outdoor games. The league average yards per attempt – outdoors – since the start of 2013 has been 3.58. For whatever reason, Brees goes from a stud to a dud in the red zone outdoors.
Perhaps all this column did is confirm what you already expected about Brees which is fine. But now, you have some actual stats to confirm what you already suspected. New Orleans is not a good road team, they are even worse on the road. As they key component of the New Orleans offense, Brees’ statistics support and explain his team’s struggles. It would be nice if we could explain the cause of the struggles I guess, but it is not necessary. We have an ample sample-size to prove that the Saints have issues outdoors, and Brees has major red-zone issues outdoors. Unless Brees is priced as a middle-tier quarterback, you should not be considering him as an option for your daily fantasy team in a game outdoors.
You might be asking why I spent an entire column centered around one team, and one player on said team. There was an actual method to this madness. This is the sort of thing you should be looking at to gain an advantage as an owner. Yes, this took some work and time, but only a couple of hour for the research. After you done this once it is not something you will need to do again anytime soon. You should be doing this type of research for the expensive players. You need to hit on your expensive players to win your daily fantasy league. You should start building a database with these type of stats for the usual stud players. You do not need to do every player right away. Perhaps just do two to three players per week, by next season you will have a very nice resource to help you build a better team each week.
Speaking of weeks, that is all for this one. Good luck with all your teams. You can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.