Could Brees’ fantasy value take a hit?

Drew Brees is a fantasy football bust.”

I don’t think I’ll ever write that sentence in a column and mean it. He’s been one of the studliest quarterbacks in fantasy land over the better part of the last five years, culminating in a 2011 campaign that saw him post a career-best 46 touchdown passes to go along with an NFL-record 5,476 passing yards. But I do have to admit — I don’t like what’s going on in New Orleans.

The Saints decided to franchise Brees, who was reportedly “livid” about the move and has no intention of signing the franchise-tag deal. Could that lead to a holdout? Maybe, but the Saints are going to have to give the face of their franchise a huge deal when the smoke clears.

According to NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora, the Saints “don’t project to have too much cap space, especially until Brees is done. They have to carry him at a much higher number now than once he’s done, but no one knows when that will be done.”

That could be problematic.

Consider this — the Saints are in real danger of losing OG Carl Nicks and WRs Marques Colston and Robert Meachem as free agents. That sort of scenario weakens the offensive line and removes two of Brees’ best options in the pass attack. There is also a strong possibility that the team will lose draft picks as a result of the “bounties” scandal, which would mean even fewer opportunities to replace lost parts in April.

With little money to spend on the open market and the real threat of league discipline, how will the team make up for their losses?

Randy Moss, who worked out for the Saints this week and looked good, could be an option at wide receiver. And honestly, Brees is so good that it doesn’t really matter who he’s throwing the football to on offense. But will the team be as effective in protecting their star quarterback? And what happens if coach Sean Payton gets suspended for an extended period of time? That could be the biggest concern both for Saints fans and fantasy owners.

Stay tuned…

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