2020 Fantasy Previews Part 23: New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints were one of the best teams in the NFL during the 2019 regular season. They finished 13-3 and had arguably the best QB-RB-WR trio in the league with Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas. For the second year in a row, the Saints were stunned in the playoffs. In the Wild Card round, they lost in overtime to the Minnesota Vikings on a touchdown where it looked like there was a push-off. The New Orleans Saints' defense played pretty well last year. They were in the middle of the pack in almost every defensive category but had a top 5 rushing defense. The New Orleans Saints were 2nd in turnover margin. While they had 13 fewer takeaways than the #1 team, they only had 8 giveaways. They only had 4 picks this year in the NFL Draft. The New Orleans Saints had a first-round pick that they used on a center, two third-round picks which were used on a linebacker and a tight end, and a seventh-round pick that was used on a quarterback. Look for the Saints to be at the top of the league once again. Drew Brees is getting older and their Super Bowl window is closing. Expect the Saints to make a real run at the Super Bowl this year.

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Drew Brees 2. Jameis Winston

Running back: 1. Alvin Kamara 2. Latavius Murray

Wide receiver: 1. Michael Thomas 2. Emmanuel Sanders 3. Deonte Harris 4. Maurice Harris

Slot receiver: 1. Tre'Quan Smith 2. Krishawn Hogan

Tight end: 1. Jared Cook 2. Josh Hill

Quarterbacks - Before his injury in 2019, Drew Brees had played in 15 or more games in every season since 2004. Drew Brees is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He is #1 in NFL history with 77416 passing yards for his career. He has 547 passing touchdowns and 237 interceptions. Brees has maintained a 66.9 completion percentage for his career. He has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks of this century.

Although he only played in 11 games, Brees passed for 2979 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. This was on a 74.3 completion percentage, which is second all-time. Brees set the record himself the year before with 74.4%. Brees finished as the QB21 despite only finishing 10 games. If you take those 10 games he finished, Brees would've been the QB2 with 360.38 fantasy points. Brees was very consistent as he scored over 20 fantasy points in 8 of the 10 games he finished.

Brees will be one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy again for 2020. He has arguably the best weapons at his disposal in the entire NFL and if he can keep up his completion percentage, he should still be a top quarterback. Brees is going in the third tier of quarterbacks with Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, Josh Allen, and Matthew Stafford. I would consider taking Drew Brees in the 8th-9th round he is going. If he gets hurt, Jameis Winston is one of the best handcuffs in the league because he had a full season of starting experience last year.

Running backs - Latavius Murray was one of the best backup running backs in the NFL last year. He only started in 2 games but had over 30 fantasy points in each game. In the first game, he had 27 carries for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns and caught 5 passes for 31 yards. In the second game, he had 21 carries for 102 yards and 1 touchdown and caught 9 passes for 55 yards and 1 touchdown.

Alvin Kamara was the starter but had a bit of a down year but still maintained one of the weirdest stats in NFL history. In each of his first 3 seasons, Kamara has had 81 receptions in all 3. In 14 games, Kamara had 171 carries for 797 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. He had 81 receptions for 533 yards and 1 touchdown through the air. Kamara finished as the RB9 and had a very high floor because of his receiving. He only had under 10 points twice and finished with 248.42 fantasy points.

Alvin Kamara is going in the top 5 as the 4th running back taken. This is great value for a player that has a high floor and will have a bounce-back season. If Kamara gets injured again, Latavius Murray is the best handcuff in the league. He is going in the 10th-11th round and that is perfect value as an RB5 on your roster. If Kamara gets hurt, look for Latavius Murray to become a star.

Wide receivers - Michael Thomas put up historic numbers last year as the top receiver on the New Orleans Saints. He had 149 receptions for 1725 yards and 9 touchdowns. He finished as the WR1 with 374.6 fantasy points. Thomas only had 4 games without double-digit targets. He only scored under 15 points twice. From weeks 7-16, Michael Thomas scored over 20 points in every game but one. He only had under 100 receiving yards once.

The New Orleans Saints lacked WR depth behind Michael Thomas and signed Emmanuel Sanders in free agency. He was one of the few players in NFL history with 17 games played in one season. This was because he was traded before his bye week on the Denver Broncos and after his bye week on the San Francisco 49ers. Sanders finished the season with 66 receptions for 869 yards and 5 touchdowns.

The only 2 receivers I'm targeting in this offense are Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Michael Thomas is going in the top 5 in m most drafts. I would only take him if Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, and Alvin Kamara are all gone. Emmanuel Sanders is going in the 9th round and I think that is a great price for him. Michael Thomas demands so much attention that Sanders should see 1 on 1 coverage on almost any play. Sanders is a great receiver you can have on your bench and he should have a couple of big games for the Saints.

Tight ends - Jared Cook put up a pretty good season last year as the tight end for the New Orleans Saints. He had 43 receptions for 703 yards and 9 touchdowns. Cook had 167.5 fantasy points, averaged 12 points per game, and finished as the TE7. He only played in 14 games but had 4 or fewer targets in 8 of those. Cook was a huge red-zone target for Brees and did most of his work there.

I know he is more of an all-purpose player, but on ESPN Taysom Hill is listed as a tight end. Last year, Taysom Hill scored 102.2 fantasy points, which would've made him the TE21, but he was listed at quarterback in 2019. Taysom Hill went 3 for 6 for 55 passing yards. He had 27 carries for 156 rushing yards and 1 rushing touchdown. He caught 19 passes for 234 receiving yards and 6 receiving touchdowns. He had 4 games with over 10 fantasy points.

Jared Cook will regress in 2020. There is no way he gets 700 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns on such a low volume. He is going in the 8th round and I am not taking him as he is a prime candidate to bust this year. Because he is listed at tight end, Taysom Hill is a deep sleeper because he can do a little bit of everything. He is a great plug and play on a bye week and could get you over 15 points.

Fantasy Analysis:

Bounce Backs: Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara

Star: Michael Thomas

Sleeper: Emmanuel Sanders

Deep Sleepers: Taysom Hill, Latavius Murray

Bust: Jared Cook

Handcuffs: Jameis Winston, Latavius Murray, Deonte Harris, Josh Hill

I hope you liked 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 23: New Orleans Saints. Next up is 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 24: New York Giants. Feel free to comment your thoughts on the fantasy impact on the Saints' offense for 2020.

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