This is Part 2 of a two-part series where I break down the New Orleans Saints you should have on your radar entering your fantasy football draft. To view Part 1, click here. Because I’m a fan of alliteration, I’ve created groups known as Stars, Studs, Steals, Sleepers, and Stay the #$%@ Away. In each Part, I will give you one player in each category from the Saints. First, definitions of each group:
Star – The upper echelon of fantasy performers. Elite across all positions.
Stud – A top fantasy performer at his position.
Steal – Undervalued on fantasy ranking boards.
Sleepers – High risk, high reward type player.
Stay the #$%@ Away – Overvalued or high potential to be a dud.
Star – WR Michael Thomas
With Brandin Cooks officially off the depth chart, Michael Thomas is firmly the #1 receiver in one of the NFL’s top passing offenses. Whether in PPR or standard scoring, Thomas ranks as a Top 15/20 player across all positions. With your second pick in the draft, you could feel confident with Thomas as your WR1 to lead your fantasy squad to a championship.
Stud – WR Willie Snead
In a contract year with the world to prove in 2017, Willie Snead has incredible value ranked as the 41st WR in standard scoring according to ESPN. Snead is drafted as a WR3/Flex player with WR2 upside as one of Drew Brees’s favorite targets. Snead has an exceptional catch rate over his first two seasons (~69%), and with an increase in targets after the Cooks trade, Snead might finally pass the 1,000-yard receiving mark.
Steal – TE Coby Fleener
Probably the biggest beneficiary of the Cooks trade is TE Coby Fleener. Fleener is currently ranked the 24th Tight End in standard scoring, behind players like Cameron Brate, Zach Miller, and Antonio Gates. Considering what pass-catching Tight Ends like Jimmy Graham and Benjamin Watson were able to do in the Saints offense, Fleener is definitely at steal and could even go undrafted in many drafts this year.
Sleeper – WR Ted Ginn Jr
Make no mistake about it: Ted Ginn Jr will be a frustrating player for both Saints fans and fantasy football managers. As the 51st WR in standard scoring, Ginn has homerun potential each week and is a boom-or-bust type player that could come in handy for Bye week fill-ins. If you’re lucky, he might even play consistently enough to play his way into your weekly starting lineup.
Stay the #$%@ Away – Saints DST
The Saints continue to make improvements on the defensive side of the ball, and the addition of Ginn should help the return game. Even still, they will be far from a dominate unit and have a core of young players (Sheldon Rankins, Marshon Lattimore and others) that will need further development before the Saints DST is even a streaming option. With two games against each NFC South opponent (the Panthers, Falcons, and Buccaneers), the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, plus offenses like the Redskins and Lions, it’s best just to stay away.