There have been 12 individual 5,000-yard passing seasons in NFL history, and five belong to Drew Brees.
Five. No other quarterback has done it more than once. In fact, during the nine-year stretch from 2008 through 2016, Brees averaged 4,991 passing yards and 37 touchdowns per season. For fantasy purposes, he was nearly unfair.
It’s tempting to say we’ll never see anything like Brees’ peak again, but the league is obviously changing in ways that benefit passing offenses to a massive extent. So perhaps we will. With Brees announcing his retirement via Instagram post, let’s just agree that to this point in the fantasy era, no quarterback has been better or more consistent over the course of an exceptionally long career.
Drew Brees’ legendary resume speaks for itself
Brees is the only player in league history to top 80,000 passing yards — an almost unimaginable total — and he ranks first all-time in completions (7,142), second in passing touchdowns (571), and second in game-winning drives (53). He led the league in yardage seven times, in passing TDs four times, and in completion-percentage six times. After turning 40, his passer-rating was 111.2 and he completed 72.4 percent of his throws.
In addition to 25 rushing scores over his 20-year career, Brees also happens to have a receiving touchdown on his resume — and it wasn’t some walk-in TD, either.
Watch 24-year-old Brees outrace a defensive back to the pylon, then flex on him:
— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) September 28, 2019
Brees first earned Pro Bowl recognition back in 2004 with the Chargers, after leading the team to a 12-win season and a division flag. It was the first of a remarkable 15 straight seasons in which Brees ranked among the top-10 fantasy scorers at his position (including seven top-3 finishes), a streak that required absurd productivity and durability. If Patrick Mahomes is going to match that achievement, he’ll need to rank as a top-10 quarterback in every season through 2032.
The best single-game performances of Brees’ career are of course among the best in the history of the league, highlighted by a 505-yard, 7-TD eruption against the Giants in 2015:
Seven TDs for Drew Brees. Six for Eli. 101 total points...
Three years ago today, the @Giants and @Saints played a game that was ALL OFFENSE.
(Nov. 1, 2015) @drewbrees @obj @BenjaminSWatson @brandincooks @Willie_Snead4G @ShaneVereen34 @CJSPILLER @KaiForbath pic.twitter.com/1ZFil5U8Sd
— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) November 1, 2018
That outburst was one of 37 career regular-season games in which Brees threw at least four touchdown passes, which is, like so many other achievements in his career, simply unreal. We’ve rarely if ever seen an elite athlete in any sport sustain the highest possible level of play for as long as Brees did it.
Congratulations to No. 9 on his well-earned retirement and Hall of Fame career, and thanks for all the fantasy points.