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New Orleans Saints fantasy preview

Who to target and avoid in fantasy football from the New Orleans Saints. 

USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Warren Sharp’s Strength of Schedule: Warren Sharp projects the New Orleans Saints to face both the NFL’s 5th-softest overall slate of defenses the 5th-softest slate of pass-defenses.

Must Draft

Both Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray should be on fantasy rosters this year. HC Sean Payton fully embraces Warren Sharp’s love of early-down passes to running backs and it pays off—per Sharp, Drew Brees owns the league’s best 1st-down completion rate at 72%—leading to fantasy goodness for the Saints’ backfield. The departure of Mark Ingram had some thinking that Kamara was in for a monster workload in 2019. He’s not. Check out Episode 1 of the Establish the Run’s podcast to hear Evan Silva recount a 3am run-in with Payton in an Indianapolis bar, on draft weekend. When asked why he wouldn’t commit to Kamara as a true bell cow, Payton responded, “Alvin’s soft”. Kamara’s in for another 18+ touches per game this year, and that’s fine. It keeps him fresh for 16 games and he’s proven to be a Top 5 fantasy asset being used in this way. Latavius Murray is a lock for 10+ touches per game and has been favored by multiple coaching staffs as his team’s featured red-zone back. He will steal goal-line work from Kamara, to the point that he’s a weekly Flex start while carrying RB1 upside should Kamara miss time.

Michael Thomas may have the largest rankings variance of any WR1. Thomas lead the NFL with 125 receptions last year, posting an outrageous 85% catch-rate—something likely attributable to his shallow depth of target. The high-volume of receptions places him in the upper echelon of WR1s in PPR. His 1,405 receiving yards (6th-best) and 9 touchdowns (10th-best) drop his stock to the mid-to-low WR1 zone though.

Good Values

Drew Brees isn’t throwing as many passes as he used to, which lowers his ceiling. He boasts stellar efficiency in Sean Payton’s system though, which gives him the highest of floors. He’s being drafted as the QB6 -- an acceptable ADP if you’re looking for a reliable, if not thrilling starter.

Jared Cook is a mid-to-low TE1.

Monitor

If Tre’Quan Smith fails to take the next step, Ted Ginn Jr. will retain Home Game deep threat prowess.

Avoid

Keith Kirkwood.