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Team Needs: DB, LB, WR
Projected Top Three Picks:
First Round — Marlon Humphrey, CB Alabama; Kevin King, CB Washington
Second Round — Chris Goodwin, WR Penn State
Year after year, it seems as though we continue talking about how the Saints need to improve on defense, and this year is no different. So much attention is paid to Drew Brees and the offense, that the defense is usually set aside by the New Orleans front office. With their first of two first-round selections, the Saints will go after Marlon Humphrey to try to secure the cornerback position on this defense. If Humphrey plays up to his skill, he could be quite impactful in his first season playing in a division that features some pass-happy offenses. This move will have more of an impact in terms of real life football as opposed to Fantasy, as the Saints defense should again be one of the worst in the league and not worthy of a roster spot.
With the second pick of the round, the Saints may go back to the well in the secondary with the selection of Kevin King. This front office knows its weakness and should go after filling it early.
In the second round, the team will look to add depth to the wide receiver position with the selection of Chris Goodwin to help fill the void after the departure of Brandin Cooks. Goodwin, although not the playmaker that Cooks is, will be a serviceable receiver to play opposite Michael Thomas on the outside. He improved his route running over the last two years, which is important as Brees generally likes to throw his receivers open. This selection will be a very good pick in terms on depth purposes.
This team comes and goes as Brees takes them. If he is having an off day, this team tends to struggle competing in games. But in the world of Fantasy, Brees is the epitome of a stud quarterback. Since becoming a member of the Saints, he has yet to finish a season outside the Top 6 at the position. That type of consistency is what you are looking for while drafting. He again should be drafted as — and finish the season as — a Top 5 quarterback.
With the rookie season that he just had, Thomas made the trade of Cooks a lot easier for the Saints to handle. The question is can Thomas handle being the No. 1 receiver in the offense? I’m as much of a Thomas fan as the next guy, but the hype surrounding the sophomore receiver already is astounding. I’ve seen some projecting him as a Top 5 WR in drafts. That may be a little too rich for my blood. It will be tough to improve upon last year’s success as he now faces opposing defense’s best corners on a weekly basis. Temper your expectations with Thomas, as he may be going a little higher in drafts than what you’re ready to pay. The big winner after the Cooks deal is Willie Snead. He will continue to play out of the slot, and Brees has all the confidence in the world in him. Snead has been a thorn in the sides of Cooks owners for two years now, but with him out of the picture, you have to have Snead on your radar. I expect his production to go up, and you should be able to grab him in drafts at more of a bargain compared to what you’ll have to pay for Thomas. Snead could be drafted as a late WR3, but return WR2 value. Sign me up for that.
Mark Ingram has become quite the conundrum in Fantasy. He continues to be drafted as a RB1, but on a weekly basis, you don’t know what to expect from him. It seems he has fallen out of favor with this coaching staff, so I would not be shocked to see the Saints either bring in another RB (hello, Adrian Peterson) or go the way of the draft to add a back to complement Ingram. Ingram fits this offense perfectly, but if Sean Payton doesn’t believe in him, then you should turn the other way in Fantasy. He will again be drafted high on name alone, but I would allow another owner to make that mistake. If the Saints add more of a speed-type back, that is who I would target late in a draft.
Passing Offense — 317.1 YPG (1st)
Rushing Offense — 108.9 YPG (16th)
Points Per Game — 29.3 PPG (2nd)
Top Fantasy Performers:
QB — Drew Brees, 323 points
RB — Mark Ingram, 181 points
WR — Brandin Cooks, 159 points