Dec 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is lifted up by tight end Jimmy Graham (80) after a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans defeated Tampa Bay 42-17. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankings or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more 2014 Fantasy Football Rankings visit Fantasy Football Overdose, a fantasy football blog.
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Analyzing ADP: When to Draft Your Favorite Saints
The New Orleans Saints are back, people. Head coach Sean Payton made a triumphant return in 2013, leading the Saints back to the playoffs and the team even got a playoff win on the road.
Even with the franchise tag and his contract somewhat in doubt, Graham remains the game’s top tight end, and the same is easily the case for the fantasy scene. In fact, Graham isn’t just the first tight end being taken in fantasy drafts, but he’s even going up as high as the first round.
With the 2014 fantasy football season starting to be passable for conversation as the summer approaches, let’s dive into the top Saints fantasy options and take a look at their Average Draft Positions (ADP):
Drew Brees (Quarterback)
There has been buzz about the Saints shifting toward a more run-based or balanced offense. A balanced offense should only make Brees more efficient, and it shouldn’t really crush his value. That keeps him inside the top-five, which makes his round two ADP reasonable but possibly still a bit too high for my liking. Round three would be better value, although the value overall at quarterback is so insane that you don’t need to spend a pick so early to nab a quality QB1 anymore.
Pierre Thomas (Running Back)
Darren Sproles is gone and Pierre Thomas already caught over 70 balls last year when Sproles was still on the team. Translation: meet your new third down running back on a full-time basis. Thomas should also see some general work in the backfield, too, which gives him high-end Flex value for 2014.
His current ADP of round seven is appropriate, especially given the fact that Mark Ingram is always hurt. Thomas should see a good amount of touches this year and will even be a worthy RB2 some weeks.
Khiry Robinson (Running Back)
Khiry Robinson was solid down the stretch and in the playoffs last year, and his solid play just might have earned him a starting job, full-time. Fantasy owners aren’t drafting him like he’s about to be a stud, though, as he’s showing just a round eight ADP. New Orleans shares the backfield pretty well, though, so that sounds about right. Ideally you can get him a round or two later. He’s fairly unproven still and we know Ingram will factor into the equation to some degree.
Mark Ingram (Running Back)
Mark Ingram still has talent and some marginal upside if he locks down the starting gig, but that’s not a guarantee and no matter what he’s going to be sharing the rock. He has no versatility and is constantly hurt. At this point, his 13th round ADP is being rather kind and he can’t be trusted.
Marques Colston (Wide Receiver)
Marques Colston is aging and slowly regressing, but he was never a freak athlete anyways, so he should remain a quality fantasy option as long as he’s Brees’ top wide receiver. At the moment that status is good for a late seventh round ADP. I’d still rather have him over Golden Tate, Michael Floyd, and probably even Emmanuel Sanders – all of which are being drafted ahead of him. He doesn’t carry their upside, but he’s much more stable.
Kenny Stills (Wide Receiver)
Kenny Stills comes off as pretty one-dimensional, but he’s super explosive and many plenty of big plays despite being a rookie in 2013. His role will expand if he can lock down the #2 gig opposite of Colston. He has much more upside than Colston, but is a little shakier in the trust department. He’s more of a boom or bust WR3 at the moment and can be had three rounds after Colston (round 10). At that value, he’s the better pick between the two.
Brandin Cooks (Wide Receiver)
Cooks is a rookie and doesn’t have a defined role just yet, but he is a great athlete who can make plays with the ball in his hands. He’ll likely have to operate out of the slot for the most part, but that shouldn’t hurt his value or ability to make a big impact. There are a good amount of mouths to feed, though, so banking on anything other than WR3 value might be asking for too much.
He has about the same value as Stills right now, yet is being drafted one round earlier (round nine) at the moment. They’re a toss-up, but Cooks is the better overall talent and probably has more upside.
Nick Toon, Joe Morgan, and Robert Meachem will all factor into the offense to a certain degree, but none of them are consistent or proven enough yet to seriously consider in drafts. The top three receivers in New Orleans are already going to be shaky from week to week, especially when you factor in how they have to contend with Jimmy Graham and the running backs for targets in the passing game.
These guys will need an injury or two to ascend the ranks and all should be free agents when your draft ends.
Jimmy Graham (Tight End)
What hasn’t been said about Graham that we can say differently here? He’s a matchup issue both in the NFL and in weekly lineups, which makes his round one ADP somewhat understandable. A lot of fantasy football experts will tell you that having Graham gives you a weekly edge that can’t be replicated, which is pretty accurate, but you need to take into account what you’re passing up to get him.
If you take Graham in round one, you’re bypassing an elite running back, wide receiver and quarterback in his favor. I’m a preacher of running backs going early and often, so drafting Graham that high seems like a reach.
I’d prefer to wait for value like Julius Thomas in round three or four, but once Graham is on your team you’re not going to be too upset about it. It just comes down to whether or not you feel you can construct a roster beyond him that is good enough to win. It’s absolutely possible, but taking him above all else with your first round pick certainly makes doing so a little more difficult.