Will Saints offense disappoint in 2012? 

July, 6, 2012
7/06/12
1:59
AM ET
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees had a magnificent 2011 season, throwing for 5,476 yards and 46 touchdowns, with each of those statistics leading the NFL. He finished with a career-best 380 fantasy points in ESPN standard leagues, a mere five behind Aaron Rodgers for the top spot, and of course, everyone loves both of them again for the upcoming 2012 campaign.

Or do they? As you might have noticed the past few months, there's a bit of a mess going on regarding the Saints, as the offseason talk has been about bounties, lawsuits and suspensions, and Brees himself is still working on his contract. All of this has led some fantasy owners to wonder if Brees and his teammates could suffer statistically once the games count. ESPN Fantasy staffers don't seem too concerned; Brees was the third quarterback chosen in a pair of summer mock drafts, as he was selected ninth and 11th overall. I've seen other drafts in which he was not the third quarterback, though, and the reasoning has been that outside distractions could affect him and the offense.

Of course, whether the Saints collectively as a team are affected in terms of wins and losses is not as important to fantasy owners as the statistical goodness that emanates from their games, and Brees is at the top of that list. Lesser baseball teams like the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers have appeared to struggle in recent seasons perhaps due to the specter of management/ownership debacles, and often the individuals suffered statistically. The Saints will be coached and the offensive plays will be called by someone other than suspended Sean Payton, and key linebacker Jonathan Vilma won't be playing defense ... so perhaps Brees and his pals on the offense could take a step backward.