New Orleans Saints
|By Shawn Childs, Monday, August 19, 2019|
(Editor's note: This is the free preview of the New Orleans Saints team outlook. If you already are a premium subscriber to FullTime Fantasy, click here for our premium expanded New Orleans Saints Team Outlook. The expanded team outlook also includes sections covering the coaching staff, offensive line, schedule, free agency, 2019 draft picks, defense & more.)
Saints Offense Outlook
The Saints won a lot of games last year, which helped their rushing attempts and rushing TDs. At the same time, they regressed for the second straight year in passing yards and passing attempts. Their defense is improved, and they did a pass catching TE of value. A Fantasy owner can expect a dynamic run game with plenty of production in TDs.
QB Drew Brees - Quality Backup
Update 12/29/19Over his past three games, Brees has been a beast (935 passing yards with 13 TDs and no Ints) edging out Lamar Jackson (33.62 to 31.55 FPPG) in scoring in four-point TD leagues. Brees has three TDs or more in six of his eight starts since returning from his thumb injury. Four of his top games (373/3, 311/3, 349/6, and 307/4) came at home over this span. He passed for 311 yards and three TDs in Week 12 vs. the Panthers. Carolina ranks 11th in QB defense (18.15 FPPG) with no QB scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. The Panthers continue to struggle vs. the run (5.3 yards per rush) with ball carriers scoring 29 rushing TDs while also pressuring the QB (52 sacks). Brees will move the ball, but New Orleans should score a couple of TDs on the ground. A winnable matchup, but I expect a step back in production.
QB Teddy Bridgewater - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 10/26/19Over the last five weeks, Teddy Bridgewater saved the Saints’ season by going 5-0 with strength in his completion rate (69.7). His best asset was minimizing mistakes (two interceptions). Over his five starts, he passed for 1,205 yards with nine TDs while only being viable in the Fantasy market in one game (314/4) at home. Drew Brees has a chance to start this week, which would end a great run by a backup QB. If he does play, the Cardinals rank 29th defending QBs with three teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points (DET – 385/3, BAL – 393/2,and ATL – 356/4). New Orleans would like to run the ball, and the Cardinals also have weakness defending the run game (193/904) despite allowing only three rushing TDs. Viable option at this level with a chance at 300-plus yards with three TDs.
RB Alvin Kamara - Stud (low risk)
Update 12/29/19With one week to go in the season, Kamara ranks 11th in RB scoring (15.33 FPPG) after a plus game vs. the Titans (110 combined yards with two TDs and six catches on 17 touches). He ended his nine-game scoreless streak, but he entended his run of fewer than 100 yards rushing to 13 games. Kamara gains only 6.5 yards per catch with 50 receiving yards or fewer in his last ten games. In Week 12, he finished with 102 combined yards with nine catches vs. the Panthers. On the year, Kamara has 1,273 combined yards with four TDs and 79 catches. Carolina remains last in the NFL defending RBs (31.20 FPPG) with eight of their previous nine opponents scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. The Panthers allow 5.3 yards per rush with RBs scoring 31 TDs. Kamara averages 18.6 touches per game, which does limit his upside unless he scores a couple of TDs.
RB Latavius Murray - Sleeper (undervalued)
Update 11/16/19The excitement of possible follow-through by Murray after two great games (307 combined yards with four TDs and 14 catches with 62 touches) was short-lived once Alvin Kamara returned to the starting lineup. Last week he gained only 19 yards with two catches on seven touches while being on the field for 25 percent of the RB plays run by the Saints.
WR Michael Thomas - Stud (low risk)
Update 12/29/19Last week Thomas set the NFL record for receptions (145) after his third straight impact game (11/134/1, 12/128/1, and 12/136/1). Over his previous 11 games, he gained over 100 yards in nine games and eight contests with ten catches or more. His catch rate (82.4) is elite while averaging 11.7 targets per game. Thomas beat the Panthers for ten catches for 101 yards and one TD on 11 targets in Week 12. Carolina fell to 24th in WR defense (37.61 FPPG – 218/2703/12 on 335 targets). Seven WRs gained over 100 yards against the Panthers (Chris Godwin – 8/121/1, D.J. Chark – 8/164/2, Chris Godwin – 10/51, Davante Adams – 7/118, Calvin Ridley – 8/143/1, Michael Thomas – 10/101/1, and Tyler Lockett – 8/120/1). CB James Bradberry will give up plenty of yards with only one TD allowed. The Saints will move Thomas around in formation, and he will get open while catching almost everything thrown his way. His only negative in Week 17 is hand issue that limited his practice time this week. Exceptional floor with an explosive ceiling if the Saints need to throw.
WR Ted Ginn Jr. - Low Potential
Ginn struggled to stay healthy in 2018 due to right knee injury that required surgery in mid-October. His season started with three steady games (5/68/1, 4/55, and 3/12/1). After returning from a ten-game injury vacation, Ted caught 11 passes for 176 yards on 21 targets in his three games late in the year. Over the two previous years, Ginn had serviceable value (54/752/4 and 53/787/4). At age 34, his days of improvement look to be over, especially while adding in his knee issue. Pretty much a similar player as Tre'Quan Smith with his experience and speed giving him the early track to prove his worth.
WR Tre'Quan Smith - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Fair Evaluation: With Ted Ginn still on the roster, Tre'Quan will work as the WR3 in the Saints' offense. His next step is a push for 50+ catches with 750+ yards and some value in TDs. Possible tough ride while adding flash value in some matchups. Worth a flier as WR6 in PPR leagues.
In his rookie season, Smith caught 28 of his 44 targets for 427 yards and five TDs. He showed explosiveness in two games (3/111/2 and 10/157/1) with both games coming at home. The Saints gave him seven starts, but he caught one pass or fewer in four contests. Overall, Tre'Quan had three catches or fewer in 14 games while only having one game with over six targets.
His route running and strength limit his value early in his career. Smith shows a willingness to block in the run game with the wheels and skill set to be a deep threat in the passing game out of the box. Tre'quan won't beat top physical corners off the line in press coverage. In his junior season at American, Smith caught 59 balls for 1,171 yards and 13 TDs, which led to New Orleans drafting him in the third round in 2018.
TE Jared Cook - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 12/29/19Cook only has two games with more than four catches, but his production remains high thanks to eight TDs over his previous nine games. Since returning from two missed games with an ankle issue, he has 26 catches for 493 yards and six TDs on 36 targets while averaging 19.0 yards per catch. Despite missing a couple of games, Cook ranks seventh in TE scoring (11.93 FPPG). In Week 12, he had his best game (6/99/1) of the year against the Panthers. Carolina has the second-best TE defense (8.89 FPPG – 51/667/3 on 78 targets). Viable scoring option for the Saints, but this isn’t a great matchup on the road.
TE Josh Hill - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 10/26/19As the fill-in TE for the Saints in Week 7 with Jared Cook injured, Hill caught all three of his targets for 43 yards and a TD. Over his previous four games, he has ten catches for 109 yards and one TD on 13 targets. The Cardinals remain last in the NFL in TE defense (22.53 FPPG – 49/638/8 on 63 targets) with five opponents having success (27.60, 34.70, 25.50, 23.30, and 26.70 Fantasy points). With Cook trending toward another missed game, Hill will draw attention in the daily games based on his matchup. His overall skill set isn’t that high while lacking a winning opportunity for more of his career. His matchup says, “yes” which will lead to the herd buying him as a value. I’m looking for more upside at TE, and I don’t trust his skill set to produce 15.0 Fantasy points in this game.
PK Wil Lutz - Stud (low risk)
In his first three seasons in the NFL, Lutz made 87 of 100 field goals (88.0 percent) plus 148 of his 153 extra points. New Orleans gave him 15 chances from 50 yards or longer leading to nine made kicks. He ranked ninth in kicker scoring in 2016, eighth in 2017, and fourth in 2018. In 2018, he made 93.3 percent of his field goal chances. Wil should be considered a top five scoring option. They should get over 80 scoring chances a year, but the ability to score rushing TDs in the red zone does lead to many games with just extra points. The Saints scored 60 TDs with 30 field goal chances last year.
New Orleans - Solid/Safe Pick
Fair Evaluation: The Saints should be a top defense in 2019 with developing value in sacks, which should lead to turnovers. I will be looking to add New Orleans this year while being a value on draft day.
The Saints pushed to 2nd in rushing yards allowed (1,283) with 12 TDs and seven runs over 20 yards. They allowed 3.6 yards per rush with opponents attempting 22.2 rushers per game.
The Saints finished 29th in passing yards allowed (4,302) with 30 TDs and 12 Ints. QBs gained 8.1 yards per pass attempt with 57 completion over 20 yards and 14 catches over 40 yards. Their defense picked up 44 sacks.
Cameron Jordan has been a top player at his position for three straight seasons. His value vs. the run was at an all-time high in 2018 while delivering 25 sacks over his last 32 games with surprising value defending passes (2017 – 11 and 2018 – 6).
Marcus Davenport picked 22 tackles and 4.5 sacks in his rookie season with success defending the run while playing in 13 games. His best skill is rushing the QB where he flashes upside in power, speed, and quickness. Davenport can help in run support when attacking the line of scrimmage, but his change of direction speed and vision lead to mistakes and missed tackles. Marcus needs to develop his hands in heavy traffic zone to create more space to make plays. New Orleans drafted him in the first round in 2018.
Malcom Brown lost his way in his fourth season with the Patriots. He played well versus the run before last year with minimal value rushing the QB. The Saints may use him as an early down option against the run while looking for more upside on third downs rushing the quarterbacks.
Sheldon Rankins set career highs in tackles (40) and sacks (8) with growth in each in the NFL after getting drafted in the first round in 2016.
Demario Davis has over 100 tackles in four of his seven years in the NFL while never missing a game in his career. Last year he had the most success of his career vs. the run while adding five sacks for the second straight year. Demario is a much better player over the last two seasons than he showed over his first five years in the league.
Alex Anzalone struggled vs. the run with no real upside in sacks (three in his career over 20 games). Last year Anzalone finished with 59 tackles, two sacks, one Int, and two defended passes.
A.J. Klein played much better in 2018 after showing more risk than reward over his first five years in the NFL. The strength of the Saints' defensive line was a big part of his growth. Klein finished with 70 tackles with a couple of sacks while grading a neutral player.
Marshon Lattimore had a step back in coverage after his excellent rookie season. His completion rate against faded while showing some disaster when tested in the deep passing game. Lattimore still finished as an edge in coverage while minimizing the damage in TDs and success creating turnovers. Marshon rarely rushes the QB. Lattimore has the makings of being an elite coverage corner with value in run support. He has elite speed (4.36) with a smooth transition in coverage.
Eli Apple set career highs in tackles (75), two Ints, and defended passes (14) after splitting time between the Giants and the Saints. Apple is a former first-round draft pick (2016) who allows too many mistakes in the deep passing game, but he did show improvement minimizing the damage in TDs allowed. A full season with New Orleans should lead to more growth in 2019.
Vonn Bell is a plus run defender who grades as a positive in all areas. Bell has over 80 tackles in each year in the NFL with 6.5 sacks and nine defended passes in 48 games.
Marcus Williams led the Saints in snaps (1072) in 2018 while grading as a neutral player across the board. In 2018, Williams had 59 tackles, one sack, two Ints, and three defended passes.
Saints Fantasy Defense Outlook
New Orleans has strength in their defensive line while showing high value vs. the run. Their secondary is loaded with young talent that all came into the league as high draft selections. Their linebackers don't project well, but they can get the job done.
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