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The NFL came down hard on the Saints for “Bounty-Gate.” HC Sean Payton has been suspended for the entire 2012 season, GM Mickey Loomis is out for 8 games, and the team was fined $500,000. On top of that, New Orleans has been stripped of its 2nd-round picks in both 2012 and 2013. Former Saints and current Rams DC Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely. From a fantasy perspective, Payton’s ban is obviously the big story. The Saints will miss his offensive ingenuity, although QB Drew Brees is plenty smart enough to keep the offense humming.

According to WIST radio in New Orleans, Saints QB Drew Brees is "livid" about being slapped with the franchise tag.  Brees and the Saints have been working towards a long-term deal for the better part of the last 2 years, but they're reportedly still apart by $5 million per season.  The two sides now have until July 15th to hammer out a contract.  If it's not done by then, there's at least a possibility that Brees holds out, although he doesn't seem like the type of guy that would cause a scene.

The Saints have placed the exclusive franchise tag on QB Drew Brees. That means no other team can even talk to him. No surprise. Whatever it takes, Brees will remain a Saint. And a fantasy beast.

12:48pm EST 2/5/12

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was named the NFL's 2011 MVP.  He received 48 of 50 votes, with Saints QB Drew Brees getting the other 2.  A-Rodg tossed 45 TDs and just 6 INTs while leading his team to a 15-1 record.  His 122.5 QB rating was the highest in NFL history.  Brees, who shattered the record for passing yards in a single season, won the Offensive Player of the Year award.

Saints HC Sean Payton confirmed on Wednesday that QB Drew Brees will play against the Panthers this weekend.  Of course, that doesn't mean he'll play the whole game.  New Orleans still has a shot at the #2 seed, but only if the 49ers lose to the Rams.  Both games are at 1 pm, so if San Fran is winning handily, we could see the Saints pull their starters at some point.  Working in Brees' favor is that he's only 186 yards ahead of Tom Brady for the passing title.  We're expecting Brees to at least play long enough to wrap that up.

With 307 yards against the Falcons on Monday night, Saints QB Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's 27-year-old record for most passing yards in a season.  Brees has now tossed for 5,087 -- and still has another game to go!  He actually wasn't at the top of his game on Monday.  Brees' 59% completion rate was his worst mark of the year, and he threw his first 2 INTs since Week 9.  Still, he finished with 4 TDs -- his 7th-straight multi-TD outing -- and topped 300 yards for the 6th-straight game.  New Orleans still has a shot at the #2 seed and a 1st-round bye, so expect Brees and the rest of the Saints starters to play the entire game against the Panthers this coming weekend.

Saints QB Drew Brees torched a helpless Vikings secondary on Sunday for 412 yards and 5 TDs.  Completing 32 of 40 passes, Brees became the 1st QB in NFL history to throw for 400+ yards with 5 TDs and a completion rate north of 80%.  He also set an NFL record with his 11th 300-yard game of the year.  Of course, the more prestigious record that Brees is chasing is Dan Marino's mark of 5,084 passing yards in a season.  Brees sits just 305 more yards to break the record -- a number he could easily hit against Atlanta in Week 16.  Arguably in the midst of the best stretch of his career, Brees has averaged a ridiculous 355 yards over the past 5 weeks, with an even-more-ridiculous 16 TDs and 0 INTs.  You don't need us to tell you that he's a must-start.

The lockout is officially -- and finally -- over!  The NFLPA reps voted unanimously today to approve the new CBA.  They still need approval from 50%-plus-one of the rest of the players, but that's a mere formality. It's a 10-year deal with no opt-out clauses. It means that we have labor peace through 2020. In the end, we only lost OTAs and the Hall of Fame Game. Training camps, the preseason, and the regular season will take place as scheduled. And this next week is going to be crazy!  Starting Tuesday at 10 am ET, teams can begin signing their drafted players and undrafted free-agents.  They can negotiate with -- but not sign -- any and all free-agents.  Trade talks can also commence Tuesday.  Full-blown free-agency starts on Friday, with teams being allowed to sign both their own free-agents and other teams’ free-agents. As for training camps, they'll open over a period of 5 days, starting this Wednesday.  It’s going to be an absolutely insane week! And we’ll be right here to guide you through it. We’ll have all the free-agent signings and trades on our Shark Bites page. And, of course, we’ll be updating our player projections in real-time.  Buckle up!

Saints QB Drew Brees has caught wind of the report that he's playing through a torn meniscus and a fracture in his knee and says it's totally false.  "I'm fine," Brees said.  "Does it look my knee is injured? I'm a hundred million billion trillion percent sure."  Brees is reportedly practicing without a sleeve or brace on his knee and was even drop-kicking FGs today.  He's fine.

Kenny Wilkerson of WIST radio in New Orleans reports that Saints QB Drew Brees has been playing through a torn meniscus and fracture in his left knee.  Brees suffered a knee injury back in Week 3, but he didn't even miss a single day of practice.  Still, Wilkerson claims that the report is "100 thousand-trillion-million percent" accurate."  Regardless, Brees is sitting 3rd among QBs in fantasy points, so for the time being, the injury isn't an issue.

Saints QB Drew Brees will wear a brace on his left knee during today's game against the Panthers.  It's not expected to impact his play, but we'll be keeping a close eye on him.

Saints QB Drew Brees suffered a minor knee injury in Sunday's loss to the Falcons.  The team didn't even list him on its initial injury report, but Brees did undergo an MRI on Monday and was wearing a knee brace in practice on Wednesday.  He's fully expected to play this Sunday against Carolina, but this is worth keeping an eye on.

Our Week 1 Rankings have been posted!  Draft Sharks members can view them right now by hovering over the "Rankings" tab and then choosing "Weekly Rankings."  Or just click here.

In a rematch of last season's NFC Championship Game, the Saints will host the Vikings to open up the 2010 NFL season on Thursday, September 9th.  NFL.com has a cool interactive schedule application.  Check it out right here.

Saints QB Drew Brees has been designated the 3rd QB for today's game against the Panthers.  Just as suspected.  Get him out of all fantasy lineups, as he's highly unlikely to see the field.

If the Bears beat the Vikings tonight, the Saints will clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.  But HC Sean Payton says his starters will play the whole game this coming Sunday regardless.  "Our plan is to play this game just like it would be the last game to get in the playoffs," Payton said. "It's an opportunity to correct some things before they matter even more."  You're safe starting any Saints players that you normally would in Week 17.

According to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Saints HC Sean Payton says Drew Brees will be the team's 3rd QB against the Panthers on Sunday.  Payton had previously talked as if the team would play its starters as it normally does.  If this new report is true, QB Mark Brunell would draw the start.  We're tentatively bumping all Saints starters down our Week 17 Rankings.  They play at 1 pm ET on Sunday, so seeing who is inactive and active might help us figure out what they're going to do.  Consider all of their starters major risks though.

Saints HC Sean Payton confirmed that he will not rest his starters during the regular season even if they clinch the top seed in the NFC before Week 17.  Payton's goal is to go 16-0, so you can count on Drew Brees and Co. keeping their pedal to the metal through the fantasy playoffs.

The weather forecast for Buffalo this afternoon calls for light rain with 10 mph winds.  Chance of rain at kickoff is 65%.  Doesn't sound like much, but it can get pretty nasty inside Ralph Wilson Stadium at times.  We still wouldn't sit anyone you'd planned on starting though.

We just heard from one of our sources in Buffalo that the weather shouldn't affect today's game between the Saints and Bills.  "It's clear here.  No wind, no rain."  This should be a shootout.

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