The New Orleans Saints added much needed depth at the wide receiver position in the form of free agent Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders joins the best WR in the league in Michael Thomas, as well as Tre’Quan Smith andspeedster Deonte Harris as the core group of Saints receivers. So here’s how we evaluate each receiver prior to entering the 2020 fantasy season.
Michael Thomas is the best receiver in the NFL and should be the first WR off the board in every fantasy league this season.
Position Ranking: WR1
New Orleans added a much needed WR2 this off season in the form of 10-year veteran Sanders. Sanders adds depth and experience as well as talent behind Thomas, and will provide Drew Brees with a second reliable option on the outside.
Sanders is currently rated as the WR39 on most sites, near players such as Brandin Cooks and Jamison Crowder. I believe this is a pretty significant underrating and would place Sanders in the WR29-WR31 range, near those such as Julian Edelman and Michael Gallup. In deep leagues, he should be a reliable WR2/FLEX option that can provide you 8-10 PPR points per game. In leagues of eight teams or less, Sanders should be a good bench player for injury/bye week coverage.
In dynasty leagues however, Sanders should be less coveted. He is 33-years old and could possibly retire after his two-year contract with the Saints is up. If you have him on your roster in a dynasty league I would start to think about a replacement soon.
Position Ranking: WR31
The Saints’ #3 WR this year will be 2017 National Champion Tre’Quan Smith. Smith is entering his third year in New Orleans but saw a dip in production last season compared to his rookie campaign. This however, can probably be attributed to Brees missing multiple games as well as Smith’s own injury troubles that caused him to miss five games himself.
Despite these injury problems, Smith still managed to find the end zone five time last season. However, his lack of targets and yards prevents him from being considered for a draft pick in most leagues. I would rate him just inside the top 100 in terms of WRs at WR98, near players such as Miles Boykin and Trent Taylor.
If either Thomas or Sanders were to miss any time this year, Smith may be worth a second look in deep leagues if he can return to the level of production he had in his rookie year, when he tallied 400+ yards and 5 touchdowns in just seven starts.
In dynasty leagues, Smith is also not worth a pick this year, but should not be disregarded completely going forward. He is still only 24-years old and in a great offense and could become viable once Sanders moves on.
Position Ranking: WR98
All-Pro return man Deonte Harris lived up to all the praise coach Sean Payton had for him last season. Harris led the league in return yards and found the end zone once in Seattle in 2019. He was the first undrafted Saint to be named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie year, and should already be considered a top-three return specialist in the NFL.
However, Harris only had 10 total touches on offense last season and his production outside of the return game was virtually nonexistent. It’s a fair assumption that the second year player from Assumption will see an increased role in the offense this year, especially since Ted Ginn Jr.’s move to Chicago leaves a speed void at WR for New Orleans that Harris will most likely attempt to fill.
Harris benefits the Saints D/ST much more than himself in terms of fantasy production, but like Ty Montgomery, he should not be completely disregarded. It is far too early to tell how much the Saints will use Harris on offense this year, but Payton’s praise for Harris is well known and it is possible that he could see 3-4 touches per game this year. What he is able to do with those touches will determine his fantasy value for 2020.
Position Ranking: Unranked
What do you think of fantasy outlook of the Saints WRs? How do you think Deonte Harris will factor into the Saints offense? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @HaydenReel.