(WITH FANTASY OVERVIEW)
Last season the New Orleans Saints finished 11-5 (2nd NFC South) and Lost in divisional RD vs Seattle in the Playoffs.
The fast paced offense that you expect with the Saints will continue to light up the score board once again. The re-signing of TE Jimmy Graham during the off-season will cost defense coordinators a lot of sleep. The Saints managed to keep most of the vets on offense but were unable to keep the duel threat of RB Darren Sproles and WR Lance Moore.
New Orleans will be looking for 2nd year WR Kenny Stills to improve on his 32 Rec 641 Yds and 5 TDs. He is learning to run crisper routs during camp and is looking a bit more comfortable in the offense. Rookie WR Brandon Cooks has been impressing coaches all camp and is looking to surpass Stills.
Drew Brees has been one of the most consistent QBs in the league since he has arrived in New Orleans in 2006. Early in training camp Brees tweaked his oblique but seems to be fine and is participating in team drills. The oblique is something you will want to watch, because if anything happens to Brees the team will be in loads of trouble.
*Stats to Note*
Brees is looking to stretch his streak of 5,000 yards to 4 years and 9 years of 4000 plus.
The running game is one of the true committees in the NFL and will depend on 3-4 guys to share the load. Mark Ingram will lead the charge out of the back field but Khiry Robinson is improving his blocking and will see a lot of snaps. Ingram has missed games each of the last few years, so Pierre Thomas will be a nice 3rd option. However, don't expect him to pick up targets even with the departure of Sproles. Travaras Cadet is having a good camp and will get a lot of touches this pre-season.
The Defense lost veterans Roman Harper, Jabari Greer in the secondary and OLB Will Smith this off-season. The Saints attempted to address it in the draft by getting Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Khairi Fortt, the run stopping ILB out of Cal. Champ Bailey will bring his skills as well as 15 years of knowledge. Jarius Byrd was brought in to roam the middle but went down with an injury and is expected to miss some time.
Rob Ryan turned around one of the worst defenses in NFL history into the 4th in the league. There is still a lot of work to do with the front 7 that was tied for 27th in yards per carry last year. David Hawthorne and Curtis Lofton will need to prove that they can get the job done and stop the run in that 3-4 system.
The Saints start the year in the division @ATL following with @CLE and home MIN. That gives them the potential to get off to a great start. The middle of the Saints schedule sees GB, @CAR, SF, CIN in weeks 8-11, one of the toughest stretches in the league this year.
10-6 2nd NFC South.
Highlight games is that week 8-11 stretch along with the week 14 home vs Carolina that has the potential of deciding the division.
Drew Brees is as reliable as it comes, although his oblique is something you will want to watch. Average Draft Position (ADP) QB3 Round 4 Proj 5,150 yds 41 TDs 17 Ints. Jimmy Graham will give you a position advantage every single week. He has come back healthy from the leg injury he suffered last year and is expected to have another great year. ADP TE1 middle of the 1st Proj 1,145 yds 15 TDs. I always worry about having my first round pick going down with an injury so if I am drafting late I will be targeting him in every draft. Reason? He doesn't take the pounding the feature RBs do and those are your other options in this range.
As for the wide-receivers, this system loves to spread the ball around so typically there isn't much fantasy value in the receiving or running back positions in New Orleans.
Colston is coming off his lowest yardage total since 2009 and has 2 talented guys nipping at his heels to take over that #1 spot. It's a 3-headed monster, which lowers the fantasy value of all. If I had to take one, I would select Robinson as a 2nd or 3rd option on my fantasy team.