2017 Fantasy Football Preview: New Orleans Saints

Michael Kelley

I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

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2016 Fantasy Recap

Different year same story in 2016 for the Saints. A lot of scoring on offense and a lot of scoring on the defense. Drew Brees did his usual thing. Mark Ingram had his best year as a pro. Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, and Willie Snead all produced startable numbers. Even Coby Fleener was serviceable many weeks. Bottom line it was a good year to own any skill positions player on offense. Perhaps a reason why the offense was so prolific was because the defense was so awful forcing the offense to put up a ton of points just to give them a chance to win.

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Key Additions and Losses

Additions:

Losses:

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Quarterback Fantasy Outlook

Drew Brees has six straight season of throwing for over 4,800 yards, and four of those six he went over 5,000 yards. The man has been just plain great since getting to New Orleans. Unfortunately I think it is time to start to expect a decline, the dude is 38 after all. Brees should still land in the top 10 of fantasy quarterbacks this year, but I think it will be in the lower half of it. The writing is on the wall for me. He is 38, they brought in Adrian Peterson, draft Alvin Kamara and still have Mark Ingram who was a top 10 running back last year. To me this is a signal that a more balanced offensive attack is coming. Maybe if they slow down how quick they score they might help the defense a little bit. Despite the more balanced attack I can still see Brees throwing for 4,500 yards and 30 plus touchdowns. They are not going to turn in the Kansas City over night here. Brees is still be drafted as a top three quarterback and people that do I think will be let down a little, but not too bad. I think I will be passing on Brees at that value, but those that don’t won’t be too upset.

Grade: A-

Running Back Fantasy Outlook

Return of the three headed monster for the Saints. You have Mark Ingram in his prime finally playing a full season. Then the bring in Adrian Peterson who is past his prime but still has gas in tank and a lot to prove. Finally drafting Alvin Kamara in the third round who has a bright future. So who do you draft and what can you expect from them? Ingram is probably still the best option in the backfield. He knows the system well now, AP is coming off an injury and Kamara is a rookie. That said though do not expect him to repeat last years success. It will be close but it will lower. Ingram is looking at a line of 170/850/5 and probably less receptions too. I am thinking around 30 this year for him. Still leaving Ingram is a low RB2 or solid flex starter. Don’t grab him before the fifth round. AP I think is looking at around 140 touches for 600 yards and 4 touchdowns. His receptions won’t help him that much leaving him a high RB4. For Kamara, he will need an injury to really have any value, but he might squeeze out around 95 carries for a little over 450 yards and a couple of touchdowns. But without that injury he is only a dynasty stash at this point.

Grade: B+

Wide Receiver Fantasy Outlook

Many people are all over Micheal Thomas to follow up his fantastic rookie year. Me personally I am not sold. First his 12.4 yards per catch average, it’s not bad but does show he is not really a deep ball guy. Next only two of his nine touchdowns come from further than 15 yards and 32 was his deepest also illustrates lack of down field attacking. Another concerning factor was his scoring was very up and down. Some really good weeks and some really not so good weeks. Last year Thomas was helped out by Brandin Cooks and his ability to stretch the field, and well now he is gone. Replaced by Ted Ginn a man that drops his fair share of balls. No way teams fear Ginn like they did Cooks so now those safeties can come a little close. Thomas will still lead the team in all major receiving categories, but expect some regression, in the range of 80/1000/8. Still good enough for solid WR2 but for the people taking him in round they will be disappointed in his production this year. The Saints also have Willie Snead coming back this year and he has been very consistent over the last 2 years I an suspect his number will be right around the same 70/900/4 keeping his value no better than a flex start. The only other draftable receiver is Ted Ginn, but I am not sure he will get the volume he needs to be considered an every week starter. Boom or bust every week for him. His numbers will be around 45/700/6. Ginn will be better for standard but in the right match up on a desperate bye week he might just bail you out.

Grade: A-

Tight End Fantasy Outlook

Going into last season many people were optimistic about Coby Fleener. A young athletic tight end taking over the role left but Jimmy Graham, who had been a top two tight end in that offense. By years end though most people were pretty disappointed. Fleener did finish as a high TE2 posting 50/631/3. Now that he has spent a year in the system paired with the departure Brandin Cooks, there should be plenty of opportunity to improve on those numbers. I think he does improve this year, and it should be enough to put him comfortably in the top 10. He does not need to add much, I am thinking around 65/800/5, which is roughly only one catch and 11 yards more a game. Throw in two more touchdowns and you have a tight end ranked right around sixth overall. With a current ADP of the 11th or 12th round that would be a steal and should not be over looked.

Grade: B+

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Defensive Fantasy Outlook

What can I say about the Saints defense. I know stay away, very far away from them. Did the improve their defense yes, but I don’t it will be enough to justify even a spot start. Just stay and and don’t think twice.

Grade: D

 

 


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I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

Latest posts by Michael Kelley (see all)

Michael Kelley

I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

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