Nov 10, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston (12) dives for the endzone for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
It’s July folks, which means that you are likely preparing for, or starting to prepare for fantasy football drafts. Whatever you fancy as your fantasy football platform, you know that some New Orleans Saints’ players can pay off huge dividends for your roster. However, some of those same players could also turn out to be huge frustrations when fielding your weekly lineups. As we march into training camp, here’s an early edition of key players you might be targeting for your fantasy roster. Let’s start with a collaborative list of rankings from the most respected sources of the fantasy football world.
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As you can see, the players are ranked all over the board. So should you buy them, sell them, or take a chance? Let’s go!
Outlook: Drew Brees is playing with the 23rd hardest (or 9th easiest) strength of schedule on his side (.469). Brees has not shown many signs of slowing down in his career. The big critique around Brees’ draft stock centers around some of his throws were a bit underthrown last year, he was sacked the most times in his career, and he missed some reads. However, enter Brandin Cooks, a fun new toy that Brees is sure to hook up with a lot this season. While opposing defenses try to figure out which player to defend when the Saints have the ball, Brees is sure to emerge successful. You can easily expect another 30+ touchdown/5,000 yard season from the veteran. The bigger question is going to be where you draft him. He’s an automatic start, and a Top three quarterback. Advice: Buy
Outlook: The only thing that we hear about right now with Jimmy Graham is the ‘contract talk’. While this is a huge matter, deep down, we all know that Graham will be on the field in Week 1 against the Falcons. Graham had a career best last year in terms of touchdowns (16), but his best year remains in 2011. Fantasy owners will reap the benefits of Graham being targeted often, and if you play in a flex league, you’ll want to scoop him up fairly early. The only question mark with Graham is if we see more teams account for him, and put physical corners on him to take away production. Graham will need to respond accordingly. Advice: Buy
Outlook: Marques Colston, or ‘Mr. Reliable’ / ‘Quiet Storm’, was hindered by a pesky foot injury in 2013, but was still able to put together respectable numbers. Though he didn’t eclipse the 1,000 yard mark, Colston came on strong in the second half of the season to reward fantasy owners for sticking with him. Colston enters 2014 reportedly 100% on his foot, which could mean some scary things for the opposition. Just remember that the opposition will looking to key on Brandin Cooks and Jimmy Graham a lot in 2014. Colston will be sitting there in later rounds, and you’d be wise to snatch him up as a nice sleeper of 2014. If you still have doubts, just remember that he was targeted as the second highest Saints receiver last year with 110 targets (Graham – 144 targets). Advice: Buy (Sleeper)
Outlook: With Lance Moore out of the picture, it yields way for Kenny Stills to become the team’s number two wide receiver. As a rookie, Stills was only the team’s sixth ranked targeted player of Drew Brees in 2013, finishing with 51 total targets. Stills put together a nice season, and really has a chance to steal the spotlight. Sean Payton has publicly stated the team’s intention to get him the ball more in 2014. If you’re in a dynasty league, he’s a no brainer. He’d fit the bill for a flex or third/fourth wide receiver option for your fantasy team. Advice: Buy
Outlook: Robert Meachem was able to get things together last year to help make up for a dismal stint in San Diego. The Saints re-signed Meachem during the offseason to a 1-year contract, but we’re not even sure that he’s a lock to make the final roster. Personally, I love Meachem and like him to make the Saints roster this season, but at this point in his career, his value is in his run blocking. He’ll get something every now and then, but it won’t be enough for your squad. Advice: Sell
Outlook: Before a season-ending injury in 2013, Joe Morgan was projected to be the team’s third wide receiver option. Unfortunately, we never were able to see that, as Morgan went down with an ACL injury. As for this season, Morgan did not exactly participate in OTAs (very limited) and minicamp. He’s on pace to play in training camp, but will need to deliver a huge performance to even make the roster. He has sleeper potential, but in the same breath, he can be a complete bust. You might can tuck him away in free agency, but stay away from drafting him until you get a clear word on his injury status. Advice: Sell
Outlook: Brandin Cooks is going to be something special for the New Orleans Saints. He is said to be the Darren Sproles replacement, but could actually flourish more with Drew Brees at the helm. Sproles was targeted 89 times last year, so there’s a lot of targets to divvy up in the Saints offense. Cooks has the advantage of being a wide receiver, and compares well to DeSean Jackson (minus to baggage). Of the rookies drafted in May, Cooks has one of the brightest futures ahead of him. He’s in a perfect situation. However, be careful not to overdraft Cooks. Advice: Buy
Outlook: Trying to figure out what Nick Toon will do is like opening up a gift from your grandparents. You just never know what you are going to get. He’s favored as the team’s fourth wide receiver option this season, but despite making the roster last season, Toon spent half of the season as an inactive. He has the tool set of Marques Colston, but just hasn’t put it together. You can definitely ‘wait and see’ when it comes to Toon, but I’d stay far away from drafting him. Advice: Sell
Outlook: After a very slow start, Mark Ingram displayed flashes of brilliance in 2013. We saw the potential of what he can do (see the Cowboys), and he finished the year on a positive note. The only bad news for Ingram this year (as it has been every year) is that he’s in a running back by committee. It’s always hard to figure out what will happen. For dynasty owners, Ingram does have some potential draw to him, as it’s his contract year. However, you’d be better off finding a more suitable RB3/flex play. Advice: Sell/Trade
Outlook: Pierre Thomas may not flash you in the rushing department this year, but with Darren Sproles out of the picture, it yields way for a ton of targets for Thomas. He was already doing the work last year, and should be the team’s permanent third down back. Thomas is elusive, and fights hard for the extra yardage. In a PPR league, you’d be wise to snatch him up. Thomas has a nice flex player written all over him. Advice: Buy
Outlook: Khiry Robinson is pegged as one of the premier breakout candidates for the Saints roster in 2014, and I’d echo that statement with confidence. Robinson is a player who takes nothing for granted, and will embrace the opportunity to potentially be the starting running back in 2014. Robinson ended last year on a very high note, rushing 21 times for 102 yards, one reception for 13 yards, and added a rushing score. Like Ingram, the running back by committee hurts Robinson. However, for the long-term, Robinson has a bright future ahead of him. Advice: Buy
Outlook: The Saints defense made an amazing turnaround from 2012 to earn the league’s fourth overall defense last year. Sadly, this doesn’t bode well for fantasy owners. You’ll get benefits from the sacks, but turnovers were the biggest issue last year. Rob Ryan has made sure that this will be more of a focal point this year for the defense, and that’s a huge reason why the Saints spent all that money on safety Jairus Byrd. The other side of this equation is the special teams, which has not had a return for a touchdown since 2011, when Darren Sproles did so in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers. They’re ranked all over the board, and while I think you should likely just have a more ‘wait and see’ approach, you’ll get some good games out of the defense. Definitely snatch them up. Advice: Buy
Who would you draft? Who would you stay away from? Let us know below!