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Dynasty Team Analysis - New Orleans Saints


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Here at RotoBaller, we are examining all 32 teams in our offseason Dynasty Team outlook series. We will discuss every franchise leading up to the NFL Draft, then review them again after the conclusion of free agency and the draft. Including which players you should trust, and which players should you avoid. We will also provide our recommendations on sleepers and busts, while exploring every critical position.

The New Orleans Saints were one of the most pleasant surprises of 2017, both in reality and fantasy. We already knew they had a franchise QB and a budding star at WR, but the emergence of an unstoppable running game and a third-round pick who earned Offensive Rookie of the Year honors certainly came out of left field.

Despite last year's success, they enter the year with questions nonetheless. Will Mark Ingram's suspension have a long-term effect on his value? Is Ben Watson enough to hold down the tight end position? Did the Saints find more diamonds in the rough in this year's NFL Draft? Here is the dynasty outlook for the 2018 New Orleans Saints.

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New Orleans Saints Dynasty Outlook

Team Record: 11-5 (1st, NFC South)

Fantasy Leaders

QB: Drew Brees  - 262.5 (QB9)
RB: Alvin Kamara - 233.4 (RB4)
WR: Michael Thomas - 154.5 (WR8)
TE: Coby Fleener - 41.5 (TE33)
IDP: Cameron Jordan - 150 (DL2)

 

Quarterback

Nothing to see here, folks. Just a future Hall of Fame quarterback cruising through his 13th season for the same club, putting up at least 4,300 yards every single time. There has been MAJOR CONCERN that Brees is no longer an elite fantasy QB, which has prompted him to be a sell candidate in some circles for fear that he'll just hand the ball off their RB tandem and stop passing. Let's keep in mind that this would be ludicrous and won't happen as long as he's playing.

Brees did see his yardage total drop by 16% from 2016-2017, but he was more efficient than ever by completing 72% of his passes and still finished fourth among all QBs in passing yards while leading the league in completions. If anything, the addition of more weapons at receiver and the short-term loss of Mark Ingram could mean more attempts this year, so don't be surprised if he sees a slight uptick in fantasy scoring. He is at the ripe old age of 39, but there is no reason to expect he'll suddenly fall off a cliff. Hold firm if you have him and focus on the rest of your roster.

There is no QB of the future in New Orleans, but the team may opt to keep Taysom Hill as their lone backup. Tom Savage, he of no fantasy value, will fight for the job but could find himself off the roster by the time the regular season begins.

 

Running Back

The 1-2 combo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara led the Saints to a top-five rushing finish as a team for the first time in... ever. Even better, they led the league in rushing touchdowns (23) and in rushing average at 4.7 yards per attempt. Kamara is a no-brainer as a first-round dynasty value after finishing sixth in yards per scrimmage as a rookie, despite seeing the field on just 44.7% of the team's offensive snaps. His ADP had gotten a little out of hand lately, but recent news of Mark Ingram's four-game suspension due to a PED violation might actually justify his position now.

Ingram had a career year with 1,124 yards and 12 TD on the ground. He finished 14 yards shy of Kamara in total yards and clearly had the goal-line role cemented. The shocking news of his suspension will likely lead to movement across many a dynasty league, with some owners selling while they can and others perceiving a buy-low opportunity. Four games missed, assuming the suspension is upheld upon appeal, is not a death knell to any player's value. The interesting question becomes: what will his role be once he returns? It's easy to assume it will be business as usual, but if Kamara proves he can carry the load on his own, then Ingram may become a change-of-pace back and short-yardage specialist. With talented and underrated backups like Jonathan Williams and Boston Scott behind him, Ingram could be treading on thin ice.

 

Wide Receiver

With Brandin Cooks traded to New England (as a one-year rental apparently), Michael Thomas was handed the WR1 role and he predictably thrived. Thomas was targeted at least eight times and caught at least five passes in 14 games last season. This makes him a clear WR1 in PPR leagues, although his lackluster touchdown total of five makes him a bit less appealing in standard formats. He embodies the type of high-floor, low-ceiling WR that is the anthithesis of Julio Jones in the upper tier of fantasy receivers.

Ted Ginn came up three receptions and three yards shy of putting up career highs in those categories after 11 years in the league. This shouldn't be too shocking since it's the first time he was playing with Drew Brees. Rather than serving as a deep threat only, as he did in the past, Ginn's role was mainly to work intermediate routes. He went over 90 yards just once all year, making him a somewhat unexciting flex play on occasion. His stock should go down, not because of age, but because of the competition that was recently brought in.

Cameron Meredith was signed to an offer sheet by the Saints after the Bears chose to give him an original-round tender, meaning they lost him for nothing once the Saints coughed up $10 million over two years. Meredith's 2017 was lost due to an ACL injury, but he could be a boon to this offense in the WR3 role. His stock is rising, but is still suppressed due to the uncertainty behind his health. He's certainly worth a 4th or 5th round rookie pick if someone is willing to give him up.

Brandon Coleman is a big red zone target that does little else. He'll play the slot and in the red zone, but has very limited fantasy appeal. Rookie Tre'Quan Smith will try to carve out a role behind these veterans and should be worth a late-round rookie pick. Just don't overspend based on landing spot.

 

Tight End

The Coby Fleener era is officially over, as he was released on May 8. The concussion that put a premature end to his 2017 was significant enough to cast doubt on his ability to return at all this year, but that was just the last straw for an underachieving tight end that lasted just two years into his surprising five-year $36 million contract. "Coby's a guy that came in and worked extremely hard for us and came up big in some games but obviously not enough," Payton told Michael Florio of PFT. Not a ringing endorsement for a player once thought to be a fantasy riser. Dynasty owners should be extremely wary, regardless of where he winds up, even if he's fully cleared to play right away.

Benjamin "The Dinosaur" Watson will enter what seems like his 50th season in the NFL (it's actually his 14th) and take up the mantle of decoy in the pass offense. Drew Brees hasn't leaned on any tight end since Jimmy Graham left town, so there's little chance Watson will do much other than catch the occasional short touchdown. In his last go-around with the Saints three years ago, Watson did end up with 825 yards and six touchdowns, but he's 37 years old and will not be relied on quite so much this time. His value in dynasty is minimal for obvious reasons, but he could make for a bargain bin TE2 that serves as a high-floor backup for teams in win-now mode.

Surprisingly, there were no draft picks spent at this position, so don't bother looking for value anywhere else on this roster at tight end.

 

IDP

Cameron Jordan was an absolute monster off the block, racking up 13 sacks and forcing two fumbles. In IDP leagues, that made him the second-highest scoring defensive lineman. He now has first-round pick Marcus Davenport as a bookend, along with returning second-year player Alex Okafor, who was a pleasant surprise in 2017. Davenport doesn't come from a major program and is more developed in terms of physicality than football IQ, but he is one to watch.

A.J. Klein was a difference-maker on the field, but had some injury issues and managed only 37 tackles. Craig Robertson led the linebacking crew with 50 tackles and four turnovers, while Manti Te'o was mildly productive with 37 tackles and one fumble recovery. None is worth owning for IDP leagues.

Marshon Lattimore is the new centerpiece of this defense and rightfully earned Rookie of the Year honors. he picked off five passes, tying for third in the league, and defended 18. He should be owned in all formats that count the DB position.

 

Offseason Outlook

2018 Draft Picks:

Marcus Davenport, DE (#14)
Tre'Quan Smith, WR (#91)
Rick Leonard, OT (#127)
Natrell Jamerson, FS (#164)
Kamrin Moore, CB (#189)
Boston Scott, RB (#201)
Will Clapp, C (#245)

Team Draft Results

The Saints' draft value is certainly higher in terms of quantity than quality. This team was no longer in need of an impact player since they found that last year on both sides of the ball, but instead sought to bolster depth in all areas

Tight end should have been a priority, but they ignored that position and chose another wideout in Tre'Quan Smith instead. Smith will have an uphill battle to make an impact this year, starting out behind vets Thomas, Ginn, Meredith, and Coleman. His long-term value is certainly intriguing in such a dynamic offense, but you have to wonder how effective Brees will still be by the time Smith is ready to see the field regularly. Don't be fooled into assuming a Saints receiver automatically has huge upside - the Payton/Brees era won't last forever.

Boston Scott has been labeled a sleeper and borderline top-10 rookie RB by some pundits, so he would seem to have some worth in deep leagues. Target him around the fourth or fifth round of your rookie draft as a stash. If the Ingram situation eventually leads to his departure from the team after the season, Scott could battle Jonathan Williams for the backup spot.

 

More 2018 Dynasty League Strategy




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