Excitement is building as the NFL hurdles towards another season that surely will not disappoint. As teams report to training camps at the end of next month, the anticipation for fans is building just as it is for the players. Being glued to the TV or tailgating in the parking lot on Sunday will become hallmarks of Sundays for fans around the country come September.
One other hallmark of the NFL season is the weekly grind of living and dying with your fantasy lineup as you hope to become a champion. As a fantasy manager, you find yourself rooting for players and teams you swore you never would back (i.e. having Kyle Pitts as a Saints fan). The high of a win one week can be ruined by the low of a loss the next. It's insane commitment to a bunch of guys you've never met before.
If you're like me, a Who Dat who plays fantasy, then you typically like to have a member of the black and gold on your team. During the drafts of yesteryear, Drew Brees or Jimmy Graham were fantasy darlings on everybody's draft board, regardless of your emotional investment in the Saints. This year Chris Olave figures to be the team's only clear-cut fantasy standout, as other possible high-end selections, such as Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, could face legal and health issues respectively. If you're not fortunate enough to get Olave in the first few rounds or bullish enough on the production of Kamara, Thomas or others, the offensive skill players the Saints selected this year could be worth some late-round looks.
- Kendre Miller, RB
The Saints took Miller in the 3rd round of this year's draft. A member of the national champion runner-up Horned Frogs, Miller rushed for 17 touchdowns his final season at TCU after combining for just 10 total touchdowns his first two years. In addition to his prolific scoring, Miller also racked up 1399 rushing yards, another total that bested his combined totals (1,011) from his first two years. Despite offseason meniscus surgery, the Saints are clearly still confident in his ability to recover and his previous production, as evidenced by their use of a Day 2 selection on him. Should Alvin Kamara miss any time, Miller would get serious run alongside Jamaal Williams as they spearhead the Saints' running attack. Kendre Miller is certainly worth a late round selection. Just hope nobody else in your league thinks the same.
- A.T. Perry, WR
Perry is another rookie skill position player the Saints drafted in late April. The Wake Forest product closed out his college career with back-to-back thousand yard, double-digit touchdown seasons. Multiple mock drafts had Perry pegged as a Day 2 pick, so when he was available in the 6th round, the Saints smartly traded up for him. While he may start out behind Chris Olave, Michael Thomas and Rashid Shaheed, Perry's value, similar to Kendre Miller's, comes back to availability of others. Following his record-setting 2019 Offensive Player of the Year campaign, Michael Thomas has missed 40 games, including the entirety of the 2021 season. While he came into 2022 healthy, he only played 3 games before being sidelined for the remainder of the season with a foot injury that eventually required surgery. Should Thomas face the same bad injury luck this year, Perry could see a path to playing time where he can display the size and speed that raised eyebrows during his college career and the pre-draft process. While Perry's path to playing time may be more mired than fellow rookie Kendre Miller's, he is still a player worth a late round selection, especially if injury woes continue.
- Jake Haener, QB
If Haener becomes a relevant fantasy option this year, consider the season lost. This is not an indictment of Haener, but rather a commentary on how many injuries will have to occur to burn through the more experienced options of Carr, Winston or Hill. As we know, quarterbacks don't have to be taken in the first round to become successful (see Brady, Tom). However, expectations must be tempered should Haener experience trial by fire this year.