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Play Index Finds: Brees’ 2009 Projection

Posted by Neil Paine on September 8, 2009

This is the debut post in a series I'm calling "Play Index Finds", where I use one of our shiny new Play Index tools to search for an interesting stat. What's great about these posts is that they're fun and educational, because while you'll be bombarded with interesting query results, you'll also learn about the Play Index along the way thanks to the sample searches I run. And everyone loves something that's fun and educational, right?

Anyway, I was checking out ESPN's fantasy projections a while ago, and I saw that Drew Brees was expected to once again be the best QB in the league. No surprise, but what caught my attention was how monstrous his projected numbers were: 4,827 yards, a 64.5 Comp%, and 30 TD as a baseline projection. I mean, he did throw for 5,069, 65.0, & 34 last season, but how many QBs have ever put up the kind of numbers they project Brees to have in '09, not even considering the season he's coming off of? As it turns out, four -- and one of them is Brees himself:

Player      Year  Age  Tm  Lg   G   Cmp  Att  Cmp%    Yds   TD
Dan Marino* 1984  23  MIA  NFL  16  362  564  64.20%  5084  48
Drew Brees  2008  29  NOR  NFL  16  413  635  65.00%  5069  34
Kurt Warner 2001  30  STL  NFL  16  375  546  68.70%  4830  36
Tom Brady   2007  30  NWE  NFL  16  398  578  68.90%  4806  50

Here's what those guys did in the year before their banner campaign:

Player      Year  Tm   Lg   G  Comp  Att  Cmp%  Yards  TD
Dan Marino* 1983  MIA  NFL  11  173  296  58.4%  2210  20
Drew Brees  2007  NOR  NFL  16  440  652  67.5%  4423  28
Kurt Warner 2000  RAM  NFL  11  235  347  67.7%  3429  21
Tom Brady   2006  NWE  NFL  16  319  516  61.8%  3529  24
Average                     14  292  453  64.4%  3398  23

Even if we pro-rate that to 16 games, we end up with an average of 4,027 yards and 28 TD in year Y-1, a far cry from the crazy numbers Brees put up last year. In other words, for the four players on the list, their 4,800 Yds/64.0 Cmp%/30 TD season was a peak year, something they had been building to for at least a season beforehand. None of them put up their monster numbers on the heels of an even better season the year before. So if Brees were to follow up his 2008 performance with the one ESPN sees for him this year, it would rank as one of the absolute greatest 2-year stretches by any QB ever, in terms of raw statistics.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 at 2:24 pm and is filed under PI Finds. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.