Week three of the NFL pre-season schedule means two things. First, more playing time from the starters than in any other game. Second, peak time for a fantasy football draft. To get ready for those drafts, here is the analysis on where to draft the key New Orleans Saints fantasy football performers on the top-ranked offense in football.
Where to Draft Key New Orleans Saints Fantasy Football Players
With the combination of diverse offensive weapons and the unique play-calling ability of head coach Sean Payton, it’s tough to know exactly how these weapons will be used week-to-week. That being said, there is some predictability to the overall season output. The following ADP numbers (Average Draft Position) were provided by myfantasyleague.com. All comments are assuming a standard 10-team snake draft.
Drew Brees (ADP 53.11)
As typically the third quarterback taken off the board (behind Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady), Brees looks to fall right where he belongs. The issue with waiting much longer than round five is that the drop-off to quarterback four, Russell Wilson, is significant. The departure of Brandin Cooks may discourage some, but there is no shortage of offensive weapons for Brees to take advantage of in 2017. Brees can single-handedly win games for fantasy teams throughout the year, so the gamble to wait can hurt. Once Rodgers and Brady come off the board, it’s time to look at Brees, regardless of the round.
Mark Ingram (ADP 58.31)
Ingram plays out to be the 20th running back off the board, which is a good spot for him. Ingram would be a solid number two in a ten team league. Despite the addition of Adrian Peterson and rookie Alvin Kamara, Ingram still looks to be the led horse in the Saints running back stable. If anything, Ingram may be a bit undervalued as he finished his 2016 campaign as the eighth best running back in fantasy football.
Adrian Peterson (ADP 80.59)
Starting the ninth round with a pick of Adrian Peterson sounds like the steal of the draft in past years. However, Peterson’s season-ending right knee injury led the future Hall of Famer from the Minnesota Vikings and ultimately down to the Big Easy. Peterson looks to get some goal-line looks and be used as the punishing back behind Ingram, but assume inconsistent results. Peterson may be a frustrating play from week to week. If there are more consistent options on the board when round eight and nine come around, draft for consistency.
Alvin Kamara (ADP 146.61)
As Alvin Kamara continues to dazzle in pre-season, his stock continues to rise. Kamara may not get as many carries as the other backs in the Saints crowded backfield, but he can score in many different ways. Kamara is the type of player that head coach Sean Payton will find ways to use, whether rushing, receiving or special teams. In most leagues, all these points count. As the 51st running back off the board, the value is incredible here and well worth the pick. If anything, Kamara should be drafted a little early, less that brother-in-law giggle as he snatches Kamara first.
Michael Thomas (ADP 12.40)
As the highest Saints player taken in most drafts, Michael Thomas owners will have lofty expectations, and rightly so. Thomas is projected to be the seventh wide receiver taken, the same position he finished in 2016. With Brandin Cooks gone, Thomas is the number one option in the Saints passing attack. The good news is he gets more targets. The bad news is he now faces the top option in the secondary of every team he faces. No matter, Thomas is being drafted in a proper spot.
Willie Snead (ADP 57.95)
As the third player from the New Orleans Saints projected to go in the third round, Willie Snead brings consistency to a fantasy team’s line-up. Snead looks to be the 29th wide receiver to be drafted after finishing 31st in 2016. Moving from Drew Brees‘ third option up to number two should get him more targets, catches and end zone opportunities in 2017. Snead is a great deal as the trusted third starter at wide receiver for for Brees, and an even better option for those who neglect their receiving corps until later in the draft.
Ted Ginn Jr. (ADP 126.22)
Ginn finished the season in 2016 as the 48th best wide receiver and is projected in 2017 as the 51st receiver selected. Ginn will be the true model of inconsistency. While he does have the most accurate passer in the history of the NFL throwing to him, he will frustrate owners with the dropped passed, specifically in the end zone. The one saving grace with Ginn is his special teams play. One return on special teams for a touchdown can change the fantasy football outlook in a given week. That being said, look for other options at this point in the draft.
Coby Fleener (ADP 137.43)
Fleener was a bit disappointing in 2016, finishing as the 15th best tight end in fantasy play. 2017 projections put Fleener at 16th on the tight end list. As the Saints start to stress the run more in 2017, Fleener will be integrated into more packages and get more play-action looks, specifically in the red zone. Tight end, as a position, exploits mismatches in size and speed. Expect coach Payton to take more advantage of those mismatches in 2017. Fleener will have fantasy owners questioning their tight end starter every week as a very solid back up or even as a starter. Fleener is a great value this late in the draft.