New Orleans Saints Helmet

Fantasy Football Projection: New Orleans Saints

If Tom Brady was a no-brainer as a top-tier fantasy QB, Drew Brees requires even less thought. Brees is a prolific fantasy machine. Brees completed 72% of his passes in 2017 for 4334 yards, 23 TD, 8 INT and 2 rushing TD and that was a “down year” for the gunslinger. It was the first time in the last ten seasons that he failed to clear 30 TD passes. Brees has an insanely high floor and we still don’t know what his ceiling is, even at 39 years old. He is my #1 fantasy QB overall.

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One of the big reasons for Brees “regression” in 2017 was the emergence of the Saints’ running game in the form of Mark Ingram and rookie sensation Alvin Kamara. The duo combined for 1900 rushing yards and 20 rushing TD while also kicking in 139 catches and 1200 receiving yards. Those are absurd stats for any backfield but they may have taken a blow with the suspension of Ingram to start the 2018 season. The four-game ban will thrust Kamara into a feature back role which has fantasy owners salivating and there is some historical precedent to back up the idea that Kamara will thrive. CJ Spiller took the league by storm in his second season teaming up with Fred Jackson to destroy opposing defenses in 2011. The next season Jackson missed significant playing time and Spiller not only thrived but got better with more touches. Kamara is a similar back to Spiller and perhaps slightly more well-built so there is some real potential for a new #1 fantasy back claim here, especially in PPR formats. Ingram will return and get touches, if for no other reason to keep Kamara fresh, but I expect big things from Kamara. Take Kamara as a RB1 (consideration for RB1 overall in PPR formats) and bring Ingram on as a FLEX option after his suspension is up.

The Saints’ passing game took a new twist in 2017 with Brees targeting his RB committee on an incredible 32% of his pass attempts. Michael Thomas checked in for 28% of the team’s targets leaving only 40% for the rest of the roster. Thomas has had 90+ catches, 1130+ yards and 5+ TD in both of his NFL seasons and he remains the favorite target of Drew Brees. Surprisingly, the ghost of Tedd Ginn, Jr. checks in as the #2 man on this team. Ever the burner, Ginn averaged 14.8 yards per catch last year serving as a viable WR3/FLEX in most formats. Ginn has actually been remarkably consistent tallying between 44 and 53 grabs, 735 and 790 yards and 5+ TD in each of his last three seasons. His speed remains a threat to all defenses as a guy who will burn you if you aren’t paying attention. Both Ginn and Thomas were a part of Brees “bad” 2017 so it falls on newcomer Cameron Meredith to give Brees the boost he needs back up to Fantasy God status. Meredith is coming off of 66 catches for 880 yards playing with the cardboard cutouts the Bears tried to trot out at QB before turning to talented 1st rounder Mitchell Trubisky. Now Meredith steps into the slot role with Thomas on one side eating up the best corners on opposing defenses and Ginn on the other side stretching the field, this is a delightful fantasy situation for the youngster. Brandon Coleman is floating around in the background here as well, but you’re taking Thomas as a WR1, Meredith as a WR2/3 (especially in PPR formats) and Ginn as your fourth WR.

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Ben Watson makes his triumphant return as the Saints’ starting tight end, a role he converted into 74 catches for 824 yards and 6 TD in 2016. There likely won’t be as many targets to go around with all the mouths to feed, but Watson provides a solid option as a starting TE for your fantasy team and will likely be cheap.

2018 Projections

NAME POSITION CMP ATT PASS YD PASS TD INT RU YD RU TD
Drew Brees QB 418 615 4735 33 11 30 2

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Mark Ingram RB 100 435 4 25 195 1 1
Alvin Kamara RB 215 1020 10 75 770 5 1

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Michael Thomas WR 100 1220 8
Tedd Ginn, JR WR 45 735 6
Brandon Coleman WR 15 200 1
Cameron Meredith WR 80 920 5
Ben Watson TE 45 500 4
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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
Ben Stecker