The Saints finished 2019 as the NFC South Champions with a record of (13-3). The team ranked 3rd in points scored during the campaign. The Saints have been building their team around the veteran Drew Brees over the last number of seasons. The team’s focus has been building to fortify Brees and on the defensive side of the ball, rather than investing a ton of capital at the skilled positions. This offseason the team went and acquired a veteran compliment to play off Michael Thomas, which should pay off in this Sean Payton offense. Payton is good at using versatile players such as Taysom Hill and now Ty Montgomery in joker roles to keep opposing defenses on their toes.
Drew Brees (QB) – with Brees the one thing the Saints have wanted to do is solidify the inner part of the offensive line to protect him. This draft they did that in the first round by selecting right guard Cesar Ruiz. Ruiz joins an offensive line that is now considered a top three o-line in the league, with the talent and potential to be the best in the league. This protection will be key for Brees who is well into the backend of his career. Over the last few seasons it is easy to see his skills slowly falling off. For instance, it was obvious last season that his deep ball has taken a step backwards. Brees just doesn’t appear to have the arm strength to consistently get the ball out there deep without it dropping off short of the mark. To be fair to Brees this was never his strong suit, his bread and butter are in timed rhythm throws. Theses rhythm throws is what makes Brees a future hall of famer, as he is one of the best rhythm throwers to have ever played the game. It is easy to see when watching Brees play that he is a master of knowing where to go with the ball before even taken the snap. Brees is very good at isolating and eliminating which is a trait great quarterbacks possess.
Fantasy Spin: Brees despite being at the end of his career is still a quarterback who can produce for your fantasy teams. Brees will no longer have those 45 touchdown seasons, but the drop off in skill will not be drastic enough to deter fantasy owners from owning him in redraft leagues entering 2020, as he is still a top option at the position. We have Brees ranked as our 14th quarterback in redraft making him a solid QB2 option. Taysom Hill hurts his upside just enough to not be a target here. In dynasty leagues is where Brees takes an obvious hit, as his age and likely end of career coming soon drops him to 25th in our dynasty rankings. In startup dynasty leagues Brees makes for a great late round pick to pair with a mid-round pick of say a Joe Burrow or Daniel Jones, to use as your starter in 2020 while having youth and potential behind him to take over in 2021.
Alvin Kamara/Latavius Murray (RB) – last season Alvin Kamara suffered an ankle injury in week 6 that he just couldn’t get right the rest of the season. The significance of the injury can be seen when looking at the forced missed tackles created. From weeks one thru six Pro Football Focus had Kamara ranked 2nd in this category. The weeks after the injury when he returned in week ten Kamara dropped all the way down to the 39th ranked in this category. His per touch efficiency was also down when he returned all signs pointing to he was far less than 100%. During the weeks Kamara was out Murray had big weeks leading many to say Murray is better than Ingram ever was. Here is the thing look at the games prior to Kamara going down, Murray didn’t really play. Kamara was the bell cow in that offense averaging over 20 touches per game compared to Murrays average of 6.8 touches per game. This tells us Murray was not and will not be given that same Ingram role, which bodes well for Kamara. The team did bring in Ty Montgomery who will be used in a joker role, which fits what Payton likes to do.
Fantasy Spin: If healthy Kamara is an elite pick at the position. He is heavily involved in all facets of the Saints offense and is one of the key components that drive this offense. Last year we saw a drop off in touchdowns, as he only had 2 in the first 6 weeks prior to the injury. This was strange because when he burst onto the scene he was a highly efficient touchdown scorer. The injury last season certainly could have something to do with it, but we should also see an uptick in that department in 2020. We have Kamara ranked as the 4th running back in redraft and 4th in dynasty, making him a solid RB1 in both formats. As far as Murray we feel he only offers value and upside if Kamara were to go down. In normal leagues the Kamara owner should handcuff with Murray for insurance. We have him ranked as our 41st running back in redraft and 60th in dynasty leagues entering 2020.
Michael Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders (WR) – this team has arguably the best wide receiver in the league in Michael Thomas, but lacked a true compliment to him in 2019. So the team went out and signed veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders this offseason, and boy is this is a great fit. Sanders can line up all over the formation and has great run after the catch ability. Brees is a master of the quick rhythm throws and Sanders showed last season in San Francisco he is very good on those types of receptions. As far as Michael Thomas we know what he is. Thomas is a volume receiver who does his damage with his out of this world catch rate, doesn’t drop the ball, and on the short to intermediate routes. Thomas lacks true speed but his big body and toughness make him hard to guard. The addition of Sanders will help Thomas in 2020.
Fantasy Spin: Michael Thomas is the clear cut number one receiver entering 2020. Thomas is a consensus first round pick being taken around the 4th or 5th pick overall. Our rankings concur as he comes in as our top wide out in redraft and dynasty leagues entering 2020. Sanders is being drafted currently around players such as Mike Williams and Mecole Hardman with and ADP of 110. Though Sanders isn’t an exciting pick he is a solid pick. If you can get Sanders in the 10th to 11th round as your wide receiver four that’s a win. In redraft we would much rather have Sanders over Williams. Entering 2020 we have Sanders ranked as our 46th wide receiver in redraft. In dynasty leagues he comes in as our 81st ranked wide receiver.
Jared Cook/Adam Trautman (TE) – Jared Cook has proven over the last two season, one in Oakland, that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. In fact Cook had arguably the best two years of his career over this span. The Saints utilized him well last season especially down the stretch. Some injuries, concussions, cost Cook some time but when he was on the field he was a nice addition to that offense, which we all knew entering 2019 was a good landing spot for the veteran tight end. The team then went and drafted Adam Trautman to solidify the future at the position. Trautman is a big athletic tight end who is very intelligent, as he is a former quarterback. This is another player that fits what the Saints do.
Fantasy Spin: Jared Cook will likely get the nod as the starter at the position again this season. We view Cook as a backend TE1 in redraft as he comes in ranked as our 10th tight end. In dynasty formats he is a back end TE2 ranked as our 26th tight end, as his age continues to creep up. Trautman offers no value in redraft as he will likely spend the year learning behind Cook and Hill. Trautman makes for a nice dynasty stash that will likely emerge in two to three years, we have him ranked as our 23rd tight end in dynasty.
Defense – this unit finished 13th in points allowed in 2019. The unit finished just outside the top ten (11th) in yards against and 14th in turnovers created. This defense has talent on all levels as cornerback Marshon Lattimore is one of the top cover men in the league. The team has one of if not the best linebackers in the league in Demario Davis. Up front Jordan Cameron and Sheldon Rankins are solid pass rushers and run stoppers. This unit prefers playing man coverage and the personnel on this side of the ball allows the team to be very versatile. Janoris Jenkins, once considered a stud before disappointing in New York, joins the team to play opposite Lattimore. The team hopes he can find that success and swagger from his early days. Malcom Jenkins comes in from Philly and certainly can match up against a team’s tight end. This defense should be very good in 2020 with the personnel they have acquired.
Fantasy Spin: This unit has been a good unit for fantasy over the last few seasons and projects to be again in 2020. The Saints defense ranks as our 6th defense entering 2020, which warrants them, being taken as one of the first defenses off the board this draft season.
Strength of Schedule
The Saints wide receiver corps will face the 6th easiest schedule this fantasy regular season. Their playoff schedule will be the 11th easiest during weeks 14-16. The backs will be looking at the 14th easiest schedule during the fantasy regular season. The backs will then have the 4th easiest schedule during the fantasy playoffs. Brees will face the 10th toughest schedule during the fantasy regular season, and the 14th easiest during weeks 14-16. Cook will face the 11th toughest fantasy regular season schedule and will face the 11th toughest playoff schedule from weeks 14-16.