USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

New Orleans Saints 2021 Fantasy Football Preview

The Saints success will come down to which quarterback Sean Payton picks. Here's a breakdown of the roster for fantasy this season.

It has been a long time since the Super Bowl, and remembering exactly how things left off last year can be a challenge. So, I’ll be writing up a fantasy preview for each NFL team to give us a quick refresher on what happened last year, and what changes took place in the offseason. All fantasy stats will be in ESPN scoring format unless otherwise noted.

If I missed any change or left out any big notes, throw them down in the comments for me!

What Did They Do Last Year

Drew Brees retired. 

Other than Brees, the New Orleans Saints are bringing back the big guys on offense, defense, and on the coaching staff. 

Time will tell.

Quarterback
OVR
Rank
PlayerGCOMPATTYDSTDINTATTYDSTDFFPFFP/G
21Drew Brees122753902,94224618-22211.517.6
30Taysom Hill168812192842874578134.88.4
69Jameis Winston371175008-602.40.8

During 2019 and 2020, Drew Brees missed nine starts. Four of those starts went to Taysom Hill in 2020, five to Teddy Bridgewater in 2019. During those nine games, the Saints were 8-1, and the quarterback averaged 20.6 points per game in ESPN scoring. That average would have been the 13th best PPG for QBs in 2020. 

Jameis Winston is the presumed favorite to start (PFF predicts Winston here, SB Nation writer Chris Dunnells outlining the consensus opinion here), but I believe Taysom Hill will be the starter in Week 1 for two big reasons. One, we saw what Payton did in 2020 when faced with the same options, and two, since 2015, no quarterback has thrown more interceptions than Jameis Winston and that includes 2020 when he did not start.

I doubt we’ll know much more about who is starting anytime soon, so I’m taking shots on Hill in a couple of Superflex dynasty startups.

Wide Receivers
PPR
Rank
STD RankPlayerGTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
4143Emmanuel Sanders1482617265103.87.4164.811.77
7271Tre'Quan Smith135034448469.15.3103.17.93
93101Michael Thomas75540438043.96.383.911.99
117123Deonte Harris92520186127.73.147.75.3
125132Marquez Callaway62721213021.33.642.37.05
168161Lil'Jordan Humphrey25346110.65.313.66.8
173168Austin Carr4432718.72.211.72.93
184186Juwan Johnson51043903.90.87.91.58
204209Bennie Fowler1621101.11.13.13.1
206201Tommylee Lewis431501.90.52.90.73

With Brees, I spent a decade trying and failing to find who the next big No. 2 receiver for the Saints would be. And while there are plenty of exciting young fellas on the roster who could step into that role, just about the only thing we know is that Michael Thomas will be back healthy for 2021. I expect Thomas to return to as one of the most dominant wide receivers in the NFL regardless of who’s under center. 

Michael Thomas is falling to the end of the second round in the way to early ADP and that is the WR8, and that is is a steal. In our staff rankings, Thomas currently is our WR10 in .5PPR

Running Backs
PPR RankSTD RankPlayerGATTYDSTDTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
12Alvin Kamara1518793216107837565294.819.7377.825.19
3432Latavius Murray15146656426231761113.27.5136.29.08
120113Ty Montgomery41910106327012.83.215.83.95
131135Michael Burton67180442804.60.88.61.43
155148Dwayne Washington2815000001.50.81.50.75
156150Tony Jones1313000001.31.31.31.3

Alvin Kamara might be the best back in the league, but he disappeared with Hill at quarterback in 2020. His talent justifies his ADP at four overall but he’s a little too risky for me at that price. I’d rather take Travis Kelce, Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones, or even Ezekiel Elliot all of whom I feel more certain of their situation. I have Kamara ranked as my RB9 for this season, while the staff has him ranked as the RB5.

I don’t know what we know, all I know is what we don’t know.

Tight End
PPR
Rank
STD RankPlayerGTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
1712Jared Cook156037504790.46127.48.49
5759Adam Trautman101615171123.12.338.13.81
7777Josh Hill810846110.61.318.62.33

Nothing to see here. 

Additional Notes

Warren Sharp does tremendous analyses, one analysis being his schedule work. In his forecasted win model, the Saints have the 29th easiest schedule (ie, very tough), and in his projected defensive efficiency rank, they have the 20th toughest schedule. 

It will be tough sledding for whoever gets the nod at QB in 2021.  

What Does It All Mean?!?! (AKA – Bold predictions)

Michael Thomas will end up on most of my teams if he keeps his end-of-the-second price tag, while I’ll miss out on Kamara at current cost.

Winston and Hill are both a shot at their current, all but free, ADP.

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Thanks to FFToday.com for hosting such great stats info!

Thanks to TheHuddle.com for their great Coaching Change Tracker