Dustin Hopkins
2015 Fantasy Football Team Preview: New Orleans Saints
Dustin Hopkins

2015 Fantasy Football Team Preview: New Orleans Saints

Published Aug. 14, 2015 3:09 p.m. ET

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Team Outlook:

The Saints were once again a fantasy juggernaut last season, leading the NFL in total offensive yards. Although Drew Brees is now 36, he's shown no signs of slowing down and should once again have volume on his side. The personnel around Brees has changed drastically, however, as last year's two leading receivers (Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills) are both gone. This offense is more about volume and scheme than anything else, though, so keep your Saints high on your draft board.


Bye Week: 11

Quarterback: Drew Brees

After finishing fourth among QBs in total fantasy points last year, Brees may slip out of the top five quarterbacks in your draft. Losing Graham, especially in the red zone, should hurt quite a bit, and there's a chance New Orleans aims for a little more balance with Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller in the backfield. The outlook for Brees certainly didn't get better this offseason, but just keep in mind that he's averaged 5,192 yards and 40 touchdowns over his last four seasons in New Orleans. He's going to be just fine.

Running back: Mark Ingram

Ingram finally reaped benefits from being in one of fantasy's best offenses, as he scored 9 touchdowns in 13 games and finally got involved in the receiving game a bit (29 receptions). He'd be getting a strong RB1 push if it weren't for the presence of C.J. Spiller, who is the more dynamic back and the clear choice in passing situations. Ingram should get early down work and the goal-line touches, but Sean Payton is far from trustworthy when it comes to sticking with a clear plan for his backs. Ingram is a much safer pick in standard leagues than in PPR.

Running back: C.J. Spiller

Spiller has dealt with injuries over the last few seasons, but he's a big play runner who can make his biggest impact out in open space. The Saints love throwing the ball to their backs, as they led the league in RB targets last season, and that's where Spiller specializes. There's some Darren Sproles-like appeal here as it's not difficult to imagine Spiller catching in the neighborhood of 70 balls, especially with New Orleans losing some of their receiving threats this offseason. In PPR, he's probably the better backfield bet for production.

Wide receiver: Brandin Cooks

With Graham and Stills gone, Cooks takes over as the WR1 in an offense that's going to throw as much as anybody. Cooks racked up 53 catches in just 10 games last season as a rookie, and we know the targets will be there in this offseason. While there's some natural concern since we haven't seen Cooks actually put up a true WR1 season before, he's in a fantastic position to jump into the fantasy elite and be a PPR machine this season.

Wide receiver: Marques Colston

Colston is 32 now, and his numbers dropped off last season as he only caught 59 balls. There's some definite value appeal here, however, as Colston could pick up some of the targets in the red zone vacated by Jimmy Graham. Given that he's currently going off the board in the 10th round of drafts, Colston is being overlooked given the offense he plays in and the opportunity he should have as Brees's safety blanket.  

Wide receiver: Nick Toon/Brandon Coleman

This is a preseason battle to keep an eye on. While Spiller could syphon some of the opportunities in three-wide sets, Toon or Coleman could emerge as fantasy contributors, particularly if Colston shows heavy decline and no longer proves to be an every-down receiver. Coleman has been the hot man in training camp, and at 6-foot-6, he could really make an impact in the touchdown department. Toon is no shrimp either at 6-foot-4, though. We'll know more once preseason concludes, but both are worthy of late-round fliers in this offense.

Tight end: Josh Hill

With the tight end position being so lackluster this year, it seems like Hill has become a popular sleeper candidate to fill Jimmy Graham's role. Hill only had 14 receptions last year, but he did score five times. He's behind Ben Watson on the depth chart for now, but some young player out of this receiving group is going to emerge. Like the others, he's worth a flier. Just don't go too crazy.

Placekicker: Dustin Hopkins

He has to win the job outright first, but Hopkins looks to be in the lead for one of fantasy's best gigs. The Saints will play the majority of their games in domes, and there's a chance the red zone offense isn't nearly as efficient as they once were this season. If Hopkins beats out Zach Hocker, he could end up being a top-five kicker.

Team Defense (D/ST):

You can leave them on the wire to start the season, but don't forget them in the second half. Starting in Week 9, the Saints get the Titans, Washington, (BYE), Texans, Panthers, Buccaneers, Lions and Jags. There should be plenty of streaming options to target there. 



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