As we start to look forward to the 2017 NFL regular season, many fans and fantasy football players are already looking at how offseason and draft moves affect fantasy stock. Michael Fabiano of ESPN just released his Top 200 board of all fantasy football players for the 2017, and there are 7 Saints who make the list.
Coming in at #18 (and the 9th best WR) is Saints second-year wideout Michael Thomas. Thomas is the third highest WR in the NFC South (with Falcons WR Julio Jones at #5 and Bucs WR Mike Evans at #7) and comes in four spots ahead of the 10th best WR, former Saints turned Patriot, Brandin Cooks.
The second Saint to make the list sneaks just in the Top 50 at #49 overall, and that’s QB Drew Brees. Brees is listed as third-best QB in fantasy right now, behind only Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Brandin Cooks’ new passer, Tom Brady.
Now outside of the Top 50, we have Mark Ingram coming in at #56, the 24th best RB available. While many Saints fans are probably shocked to see Ingram this low, it is almost certainly due to the presence of #61 on the list, Adrian Peterson. With analysts and Saints fans alike curious as to the future usage of both AP and Ingram, it dropped both of their stocks in these early rankings.
The underrated Willie Snead cracks the Top 100 at #94 overall, the 40th best WR. You have to drop all the way to #145 for the Saints 6th player to make the list, rookie RB Alvin Kamara, the 56th RB on the board.
The seventh and final Saint in the Top 200 is new free agent acquisition WR Ted Ginn Jr. at #152 overall, the 60th WR available. Surprisingly, there was one noticeable snub in the Top 200 list, and that is Saints TE Coby Fleener. There are 19 Tight Ends to make the Top 200, 7 Defenses and 4 Kickers, yet Fleener’s name was left off. While Fleener didn’t have a superstar-caliber year in 2016, he still finished with a respectable 631 receiving yards (the second-highest single season total in his career), and should see added looks with Brandin Cooks no longer in the offense.
Across the NFC South, Julio Jones, Mike Evans and Michael Thomas represent the highest-ranked players for the Falcons, Bucs and Saints respectively, with the Panthers’ highest-ranked player coming in at #35, rookie RB Christian McCaffrey.