It’s time to start thinking about fantasy football, and we have started going team by team to let you know what each NFL franchise can do for your fantasy squad. You can click here to see if your team has been previewed yet. If it isn’t there, chances are it’s coming soon. We have finished the NFC and AFC West, and move on to the “South” divisions.
*Rankings are based on a 12-team, standard scoring format.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
2012 RECORD: 7-9
2013 BYE WEEK: 7
TOP DRAFT PICKS: (1) Kenny Vaccaro- S- Texas
(3) Terron Armstead- OT- Arkansas Pine Bluff
(3) John Jenkins- DT- Georgia
QUARTERBACK: Drew Brees is good at football. He didn’t quite meet his totals from 2011, but 2012 was once again a spectacular year. He passed for 5,177 yards and 43, yes 43, touchdowns. The knock on Brees may be that he throws too many interceptions, as he has averaged over 18 picks per season the last three years. It’s a small price to pay for the production you get from Brees though. With his head coach back in the fold, it is hard to imagine Brees’ numbers falling off much this season. Expect close to 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns for the third straight season. He is an obvious QB1, and he and Aaron Rodgers are the two guys who could be considered as the top quarterback. Luke McCown is the backup.
RUNNING BACK: The Saints running back situation is clouded. Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram will all get looks this season, but no one is sure who will get the lion’s share. The three of them combined rushed for about 1,300 yards and 7 touchdowns. Thomas had 354 more yards receiving and Sproles had 667 yards and 7 touchdowns through the air. Ingram isn’t a factor in the passing game. Thomas seems like the happy medium, and would make the most sense. In a PPR league, Sproles is definitely the most valuable of the bunch. Ingram was a 1st rounder in 2011, and they will obviously give him every chance to succeed. I don’t have a great feel for who is going to be the biggest fantasy impact, but I am not drafting any of the 3 as a RB2. All would be decent flex options or weekly fill-ins. We should know after a few weeks who the go-to guy will be in the Crescent City.
WIDE RECEIVER: Marques Colston is the number 1 WR for arguably the number 1 QB in the game. He has been over 1,000 yards in all but one of his six seasons, and that was due to missing 5 games with an injury. Last season he had 1,154 yards and 10 touchdowns. The slot receiver, Lance Moore, is the second wideout on this team. He had 65 catches for 1,041 yards and 6 touchdowns last year. It was the best season he has had since 2008. Last year’s 4th rounder, Nick Toon, and this year’s 5th rounder Kenny Stills will both see action this season. Steve Breaston and Patrick Crayton, two guys who had fantasy value at one point, are both on the roster. Neither will play much of a role this season. Colston is a solid WR2, and will probably put up numbers similar to last season. Moore is a WR3. The rest of the bunch can go undrafted.
TIGHT END: With the downfall of the 2-headed monster in New England, Jimmy Graham is the unquestioned top tight end in the fantasy game heading into 2013. Graham put up 982 yards and 9 touchdowns last year, and also led the Saints in targets and receptions. He is Drew Brees’ favorite weapon, and has proven to be a matchup nightmare. He is the surest TE1 you can draft, and will probably go a round or two before the second guy. Ben Watson is the backup.
KICKER: Garrett Hartley plays in a dome, and for one of the best offenses in the league. He was 18-22 on field goals last year. That isn’t a lot of attempts, mostly because the Saints don’t settle for many field goal attempts. The 57 extra points he kicked are useful. He is a top 12 kicker, so if he is around when your last pick comes up, he is a good guy to use it on.
DEFENSE-SPECIAL TEAMS: The Saints defense has not been good for years, and this year will be no different. Even with their head coach back, they will not be a top 20 defense. They win games by outscoring their opponent, no matter how much they score, and sometimes they score a lot. Stay away on draft day.