NFL Fantasy football: Brees signs new deal

In the bag: The New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees have agreed to a five-year, $100 million dollar contract. The issue had long been a source of contention between the two sides, with rumors of a possible holdout heading into training camp. Now that the dust has settled, Brees owns the NFL’s richest contract on average (he’s set to make $20 million per year over the life of the deal). Fantasy owners can now draft Brees knowing he’ll be ready for training camp and the world is as it should be. Given the Saints’ running back situation, another season of a pass-heavy offense should keep the veteran quarterback in the ranks of the elite fantasy options.

Wonderful news?: Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall provided an update on his knee injury via Twitter, stating “My knee has healed wonderfully, thanks for all the well wishes!” Coming off a torn ACL, when to return likely won’t be up to him. GM Kevin Colbert has previously stated the back is a candidate to open training camp on the PUP list, so until his status is made official by the front office, it will be best to use caution when contemplating the Illinois product in fantasy drafts. Another reason to temper expectations: Mendenhall will be an unrestricted free agent in 2013, while Isaac Redman will be only a restricted free agent. The team can get better future value out of Redman should he perform well, so expect him to get plenty of opportunities regardless of Mendenhall’s status. The situation doesn’t bode well for either back’s fantasy value; don’t consider either as more than a No. 3 or 4 RB.

Just business: Though Dolphins WR Brian Hartline reportedly has a close relationship with QB Matt Moore, it’s the veteran, David Garrard, who he believes “does fit well into this offense.” The fourth-year wideout added: “He knows what he wants from his receivers and communicates it very well. He commands the huddle.” This is just one more reason to consider Garrard the favorite heading into training camp and expect him to ultimately be the starter Week 1. While this is good news for the veteran on the field, his fantasy prospects are not as bright. The Dolphins are likely to utilize their backfield as a point of emphasis, and a WR corps that headlines Chad Ochocinco leaves too many questions. Consider Garrard a player to be plucked off the waiver wire after better gauging his progress.

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