Fantasy Team Preview: Saints

BY John Halpin • July 31, 2013

Overall outlook: There’s a lot to like here, with five players that figure to start every week in all 2013 fantasy football formats.

Bye week: 7

Quarterback: Drew Brees

Topped all quarterbacks with 431.6 fantasy points in 2012 … Also led in passing yards (5,177) and touchdown passes (43) … Tied for first with 19 interceptions … Rushed for five yards, or 821 fewer than Robert Griffin III; seriously, this deficiency allows other QBs to close the gap on Brees’ prolific passing numbers … First or second quarterback on most draftboards.

Running back: Darren Sproles

Though known primarily for his receiving skills, Sproles ranked 20th among RBs with 141.1 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked 67th with 244 rushing yards on 48 carries, but led backs in receptions (75, runner-up had 61), receiving yards (667, runner-up had 496) and receiving TDs (seven, runner-up had three) … Racked up all those numbers while missing three games with a broken hand … Worth a top-25 overall pick in PPR formats, but still an RB2 in standard leagues.

Running back: Mark Ingram

Ranked 31st with 93.1 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked 29th among RBs in rushing attempts (156) and yards (602), and scored five touchdowns … Not a receiving threat, with just 17 catches for 75 yards in two NFL seasons … Even with Chris Ivory gone, doesn’t figure to get too many more carries … RB3 on most ranking lists, and appears to have limited upside.

Running back: Pierre Thomas

Ranked 30th with 94.7 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked 34th among RBs in rushing yards (473), 16th in receptions (39) and 12th in receiving yards (354) … Had 51 fewer carries than Ingram … Seems to be a high-end RB4 on most draftboards, but like Ingram, doesn’t have much upside with his limited workload … It’s hard to count on a guy that averages fewer than 10 touches per game.

Wide receiver: Marques Colston

Ranked 12th with 171.4 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked 13th among WRs in both receptions (83) and receiving yards (1,154), and was T-6 with 10 touchdowns … Steady as they come, totaling between 70-83 catches, 1,023-1,154 yards and 7-10 TDs over the last four seasons … On the WR1/WR2 cusp in early drafts, which sounds about right.

Wide receiver: Lance Moore

Ranked 20th with 141.1 fantasy points in 2012 … Was 25th in receptions (65) and 19th in yards (1,041), while scoring six times … Averaged 16 yards per reception, which was 3.9 yards better (!!!) than his previous best … Underrated, and offers interesting upside as a WR3.

Wide receiver: Joe Morgan

Ranked 73rd among wideouts with 56 fantasy points in 2012 … Caught 10 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns … Should be busier this season, but not enough to be drafted in 12-team leagues.

Tight end: Jimmy Graham

Led tight ends with 152.2 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked third in receptions (85), second in yardage (982) and T-2 in touchdowns (nine) … Near-unanimous top fantasy tight end with Rob Gronkowski’s injury situation up in the air … Grab Graham in Round 2 if you want him.

Placekicker: Garrett Hartley

Ranked 18th with 116 fantasy points in 2012 … Was second with 57 extra points, but 29th in field goal attempts (22) and T-29 in conversions (18) … This can happen when your awesome offense scores so many touchdowns … Borderline top-12 kicker, and will never be the guy to surprise you with 35 field goals (unless Brees gets injured, anyway).

Team defense (DST)

Ranked 22nd with 105 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked a distant last with 7,042 yards allowed, more than 900 yards worse than the 31st-ranked Giants … Allowed 454 points, good for (or bad for?) 31st in the league … T-26 in sacks (30), 15th in interceptions (15) and T-13 in fumble recoveries (five) … In the Saints’ defense, the unit and coaching staff were decimated by Bountygate, but there’s still no reason to draft them.

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