With fantasy football right around the corner we though it fitting to analyze the Saints play-makers to see where they stack up among the league elite — position by position.
Quarterback: Drew Brees
Brees is a fantasy stud, ranking as the best quarterback for the upcoming fantasy season. In 2008 Brees had 5,069 passing yards, 34 passing touchdowns and 17 pass interceptions. He played in 16 games for a fantasy point game average of 22.21. Not much will change in 2009 as the Saints are clearly a team built around the passing game. He won’t throw for 5000 yards again, but he has more weapons at his disposal than he can throw to, and he will turn in another dominate fantasy performance. If your smart you’ll take Brees off the board with your first pick.
Reggie Bush is a high risk, high reward pick for your fantasy team. In 2008 Bush posted 404 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 52 receptions, 440 receiving yards and 4 receiving touchdowns — averaging 9.84 fantasy point per game. His hot and cold performances wreaked havoc for fantasy players last season as he failed to produce on a consistent basis. For the second straight season he missed significant playing time due to a knee injury, only starting in ten games. The bottom line with Bush is buyer beware, if he is available for a steal take him, other than that keep him benched if you have a better option.
Pierre Thomas may be the biggest sleeper threat for this years fantasy football season. Thomas was able to step into a starting role late in the season after several injuries to players ahead of him on the depth chart. He performed brilliantly in his seven game start, posting 625 rushing yards, 9 rushing touchdowns, 31 receptions, 284 receiving yards and 3 receiving touchdowns. His fantasy points per game average was only 9.91, but that is only due to his low number of starts at the beginning of the season. From weeks 10 through 16 he never scored less then 10.5 fantasy points, averaging 18.6 fantasy points through this span. With bigger names out there like Peterson, Tomlinson, and Forte, there is a good chance that Thomas will be passed over in favor of these players. If this is the case you will look like a fantasy stud when you grab him low in the first or second round. Don’t sleep on him, he will have a monster year in 09.
Colston had an off year by his usually high standards. He was injured in week one’s opening game against the Buccaneers, missing the next six weeks. Colston just was not able to find his rhythm after the long lay off, struggling through most of the remaining year. He managed to come on strong late, posting some nice stat lines, averaging nearly 13.1 fantasy points over the last three weeks of the season. Colston will re-emerge as a top fantasy wideout, so don’t be afraid to burn a first round pick on the receiver. You can almost guarantee he will post well over a thousand yards and double digit touchdowns.
Lance Moore reaped the benefits of Colston’s absence in 2008 as he posted career bests in every statistical category. He had 79 receptions, 928 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns — a 6.65 fantasy point per game average. Moore has cemented his spot as the number two receiver behind Colston, which only increases his value in the Saints high powered pass attack. Colston’s return may mean less balls are heading his way, but none the less Moore will get his opportunities to shine in 2009. He is a solid receiver who is capable of posting some serious stat lines. Scoop him up in the second to third round and use him as your number two receiver, you will be rewarded.
Devery Henderson is one of the leagues best deep threats with his blazing speed. The problem is he is only used as a situational receiver for those deep type plays, other than that he is not a big part of the offense. In 2008 Henderson had one of his better seasons, posting 793 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns — a 3.81 fantasy point per game average. Henderson’s pecking order is third in line behind Moore, which doesn’t leave him with many balls to catch. If you can pick Henderson up in the later rounds, do it, he is a great bye-week replacement. He has the ability to snag the occasional long touchdown, although if there are injures to the receivers ahead of him his value could sky rocket.
At one point Jeremy Shockey was considered one of the best, if not the best tightend in football. His debut with the Saints, after some tumultuous seasons with the Giants, was not very successful. In 12 games in 2008 Shockey posted career lows in every category. He had 50 receptions, 483 receiving yards, and no receiving touchdowns — a 2.01 fantasy point per game average. He battled a groin injury for most of the season which forced him to miss four games, now healthy he will look to rebound. He has multiple reasons to be motivated in 2009, check here for them all. If some of the bigger name tightend’s are the off the board, I wouldn’t hesitate to take him, after all he has tremendous upside with the ability to get white hot.
Billy Miller was a nice fill in option for Shockey last season. In 08 he totaled 45 receptions, 579 yards, and 1 tocuhdown — a 2.33 fantasy point per game average. Miller has the capacity to post some decent numbers with the Saints, the only problem is there are allot of receiving options ahead of him looking to get the ball. You have to consider him a low end fantasy tight end, unless Shockey gets hurt. If you looking for a backup tightend grab him in the lower rounds.
The Saints and defense are not a synonymous term, as statistically they have been ranked near the bottom of the league for the last two seasons. All that may change this next season as the Saints defense has been completely overhauled this off season period. First, defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs was replaced by Gregg Williams, who brings an attacking style variable 4-3/46 defensive scheme to New Orleans. Next they re-vamped the entire secondary, bringing in safety Darren Sharper, cornerback Jabari Greer, and drafting the best cornerback in the draft Malcolm Jenkins. On top of this promising young cornerback Tracy Porter will be back in the lineup after missing eleven games in 2008. Randall Gay wil also be a returning starter, Gay had a solid season last year leading the team in pass deflections. They have also bolstered the defensive line by bringing in Paul Spicer, Rod Coleman, and Anthony Hargrove. This is a much improved unit from last year, one that has flown under the radar for the time being. They may not be an elite DST like the Steelers, but expect some big things from the Saints D in 09. Take the chance and make sure they are one of the first units off the board.
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Topics: Billy Miller, Darren Sharper, Devery Henderson, Drew Brees, Fantasy Football, Gregg Williams, Jabari Greer, Jeremy Shockey, Lance Moore, Malcolm Jenkins, Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints, NFL Fantasy 2009, Pierre Thomas, Randall Gay, Reggie Bush, Saints Defense, Saints Special Teams, Tracy Porter