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Jameis Winston: 2022 Fantasy Football Draft Sleeper and Undervalued Quarterback

Jameis Winston has been making headlines ever since he was selected with the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Now, mostly known for his infamous 30-30 season (he threw 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions) back in 2019, he could provide great value at his current QB21 price tag. Winston was a starter for Tampa Bay for five years before they decided to part ways and brought in the GOAT of football, Tom Brady.

Now on the New Orleans Saints, he could have some sneaky value and put together a solid fantasy season with the upgraded receiving corps.

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Jameis Winston’s Performance During His 5-year Stint in Tampa

2015 (16 games): 4042 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns + 15 interceptions
2016 (16 games): 4090 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns + 18 interceptions
2017 (13 games): 3504 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns + 11 interceptions
2018 (11 games): 2992 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns + 14 interceptions
2019 (16 games): 5109 passing yards, 33 passing touchdowns + 30 interceptions

Winston has shown he can be a gunslinger, throwing for at least 4000 yards in every full season he has played. Winston has been a little reckless with the ball, having a 3.3% career interception percentage (as per Pro Football Reference). His 30 interceptions in 2019 were the most in a season since Eli Manning six years prior (27). Despite the 30 interceptions, Winston still finished as the QB9 in fantasy points per game (19.1).

After his Tampa career was over, Winston signed with the New Orleans Saints as a backup and potential predecessor to Drew Brees. Winston finally got his chance and took over for the retired Drew Brees last year but had his season cut short after suffering a torn ACL. In his seven games, he threw 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He had an 8.7% touchdown rate, which was the highest in the league (among all QBs with at least 40 pass attempts).

Those are spectacular numbers considering the Saints had one of the worst receiving corps last year, consisting of Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Juwan Johnson, and Tre'Quan Smith, among others. Winston finished 2021 as the QB14 in points per game. The Saints have recognized their sub-par receiving corps and have made some huge moves this offseason.

Some Notable New WR Weapons for Jameis Winston

Michael Thomas will re-join the team after missing the last season due to an injury (ankle). Thomas has been back at practice and looks in good shape (besides a slight hamstring issue). When healthy, Thomas is one of the top WRs in all fantasy football.

In his first four seasons, he finished top-eight at his position every year, including finishing as the overall WR1 in 2019 (his last full season). Thomas had at least 100 receptions in each of his previous three full seasons (2017-2019) and is looking to be back as the top receiving option on the Saints. Although he is the WR1, he will have much more competition for targets like Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave, who will now share the field with him.

Career Target Share % per season (as per FantasyData):

2016: 19.4% (40th highest)
2017: 28.1% (5th)
2018: 28.8% (4th)
2019: 33.2% (1st)
2020: 27.9% (4th)

Thomas is an alpha receiver and will be Winston's most reliable option.

Jarvis Landry is new to the Saints after spending the last four seasons on the Cleveland Browns. Over the past few years, the Browns were a very run-heavy team, but Landry was used heavily as the primary receiving option. In 2021, Landry had a 24.7% target share and a 28% target rate (target rate was 13th highest among WRs as per Player Profiler).

Landry also boasted the eighth-highest contested catch rate among all wide receivers (57.1%). Landry has had a very productive career, having at least 950 receiving yards in five of his first eight seasons, and averaged more than 10.5 yards per catch in every season but two.

Chris Olave was considered one of the best route runners in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Saints traded up in the first round to draft Olave with the 11th pick. Olave is coming off a season where he had 936 receiving yards (20.9% target share) and 13 touchdowns. Olave has looked great in training camp and could be the WR2 on this offense based on his preseason performance thus far.

Jameis Winston's 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook

Winston will have his best weapons since Mike Evans & Chris Godwin in 2019. He is coming off an ACL tear but has looked very good throughout preseason thus far. With the receiving corps as talented as it is, Jameis has a 5000-yard season in his range of outcomes this year. Winston could be valuable in leagues with only a (-1) point per interception scoring format but could be a bit of a wild card in any league with more than 1 point lost per interception.

Winston needs to learn to throw less dangerous/interceptable balls, and if he does, he could be a high-end QB2 for fantasy. There's a lot of talent on this Saints' offense, and Winston will benefit immensely and could smash his current QB21 ADP.

Jameis is projecting to finish as the QB18 (mid-range QB2) but has the potential to be a high-end QB2.

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