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Dynasty Capsule: New Orleans Saints

As part of the premium content package, we’re unveiling dynasty capsules for every team in the NFL all Spring and Summer. This year, we also have a precursor to every team capsule, with more detail on one of our favorite pieces – the dynasty sleeper. We continue our alphabetical journey through the NFL with the New Orleans Saints.

Quarterbacks

Drew Brees

It’s probably pointless for me to spend a bunch of words extolling the fantasy greatness of Drew Brees.  What’s not to like?  He doesn’t miss games, he’s ultra-high character, he’s a coach on the field, he’s a family man, he’s on a long term deal, etc., etc.  Oh, and he was virtually tied for the most passing attempts in the league in 2011 with Matthew Stafford.

If you have Drew Brees on your fantasy team you have an immediate advantage over most of your league.  We have him as the QB#2 in our composite rankings, I have him projected as the QB#3 for redraft (so big 2012 stats), and I’m unconcerned about the Sean Payton suspension as it relates to the execution and play calling for the Saints.

Chase Daniel

God forbid Drew Brees was to go down.  But that could be said for almost every team in the NFL.  In reality, Chase Daniel is a capable passer who is extremely well versed in the Saints scheme.  Of course it would be a serious hit to all the Saints pass catchers if Brees missed time, but Daniel could keep the lights on.  I’d still start Jimmy Graham if Chase Daniel was behind center!

Luke McCown and Sean Canfield

Camp arms and emergency fail safes.

Wide Receivers

Marques Colston

Consistently under appreciated by dynasty owners.  Not that I like to argue with the experts, but the DLF composite rankings have Colston as the WR#23.  I think this is far, far too low.  Three straight years of 1,000 plus yards, average of eight TDs per year over that span and solid catch totals.  He’s a lead pipe lock to outperform that ranking.

Colston is a legit WR1 that you get for WR2 prices.  I love that.  So what gives?  Well it’s the injury concerns.  Colston has had a significant amount of knee issues, work done and a modest amount of missed time.  I’m a gambler, so I have no problem owning Colston.

Devery Henderson

Henderson is an inconsistent and aging receiver.  While it’s odd to say on such a prolific passing offense, I want no parts of him.  I also applaud the dynasty community for understanding this as evidenced by the fact that his ADP is currently outside of the top-250.

Own him if you want, and start him at your own risk.

Lance Moore

Regardless of what the depth chart says, Lance Moore is really the WR2 for fantasy.

Moore is a solid player with a deep understanding of the system.  In years past, every time Reggie Bush got hurt, Moore would step in and gobble up the targets.

The problem is that I don’t project Moore to get sufficient targets to make him a reliable week in and week out fantasy option.  He’s going to have some big games – those where he catches a touchdown, but you can’t count on that.  Moore is a WR5 option (an emergency injury/bye week filler).

It’s unfortunate the Saints amazing passing attack only generates one viable fantasy option at WR (Colston).  Speaks well for the Saints as an NFL team, just doesn’t help us much!

Adrian Arrington

We discuss Arrington at length in the Saints Sleeper article.

Joe Morgan

Competing with Arrington for the WR4 role.  He’s probably at a slight disadvantage to win the job and I’m not sure it matters if he does.  A lot of things would need to happen to make him more than a mid-season flier pick up.  I don’t think he’s worth rostering in any format at this point, though some at DLF don’t agree with that fully.

Nick Toon

The Saints rookie receiver out of Wisconsin has the blood lines.  Papa Al Toon was an amazing NFL player for nearly a decade.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure Nick has what it takes to make a huge impact for fantasy.  He’s a solid player without much upside.  His measurables are okay, but not great.  He runs okay, but not great routes, etc.  On the plus side, he has good hands and a nice catch radius.

The issue for Toon is the combination of his skill set and the Saints offense.  If the likes of Lance Moore, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson can’t be truly fantasy relevant, I’m not sure how Toon can be either.  I hope the best for him in the NFL, but he isn’t a player I’m targeting for dynasty.

Courtney Roby

Kick returner.  And a good one.

Chris Givens

The “other” Chris Givens was an undrafted rookie out of Miami (OH).  While he shouldn’t yet be rostered, he merits a long look as he’s impressed in OTAs so far.  Watch him during training camp to see if he flashes again.

Running Backs

Darren Sproles

We knew he had it in him and finally we saw it in 2011!

The raw talent is unmistakable, but it was great to see Sproles producing at the level he did.  He finished as the RB8 in non-PPR and the RB5 in PPR.  He didn’t have any stats that were off the charts.  Solid rushing numbers, solid receiving numbers and a reasonable number of touchdowns – that’s a recipe for a repeat.

If you own him, Sproles will be in your line-up week one and you’ll be happy.

The only issue with Sproles as a dynasty asset is his age.  He goes later in start-ups than his stats would indicate because he’s 29.  The interesting thing about Sproles will be to see if his decline follows the pattern of a WR or a RB.  Only time will tell.

Mark Ingram

I feel like I write about Mark Ingram more than I ought to and definitely more than I want to.  The dynasty angst that he has created is paralleled only by Knowshon Moreno.

When he came out, I had him as the number two ranked rookie in both PPR and standard leagues.  And I went as far as to say that I could see taking him 1.01 in a standard format.  I never anticipated that he would become a solid RB1 for fantasy – the Payton offense doesn’t create that.  What I did believe was that he was a safe bet to become a RB2 for years and years.  Every fantasy team needs one of those so that warrants a very high rookie pick.

What I didn’t bank on was the injury concern.  Ingram worries me at this point.  It’s one thing to have an injury prone stud with upside (e.g. McFadden).  It’s another thing to have invested in a secure low-risk, modest-return asset and get a question mark.    That’s the worst of both worlds.

It’s too soon to cut bait and sell low.  If you own him, keep him and let’s see what we get this year.  There was some indication the coaching staff wants to involve him more on passing downs.  They became extremely predictable with him.  When he was on the field, the Saints ran the ball 56% of the time, when Thomas was on the field they ran 27% of the time and when Sproles was they ran only 17% of the time.  This made it sort of easy for DCs to defense Ingram.

Pierre Thomas

Thomas has limited dynasty value because there just isn’t a ton of upside in him.  He’s consistent, but he’s consistently mediocre.  Zero 100 yard rushing games, zero two touchdown games, and a season high in touches in a game of 15.

He’s worth rostering if you have stud RBs and need an emergency fill-in and don’t want to pay for a legit flex player.  He’s going to fall just short of 1,000 total yards in 2012.  He shouldn’t be on the waiver wire, but that’s about the most I can say for him.

Chris Ivory

When you break down the stats, what you learn is that Chris Ivory is the handcuff to Mark Ingram.  Ivory stepped right in and picked up where Ingram left off at the end of the year.  And like Ingram, the vast majority (66%) of his snaps were on rushing plays.  Thomas didn’t see an appreciable difference in touches when Ingram was hurt, it was Ivory they looked to.  Note: This is another knock on Thomas because even in the likely event Ingram gets hurt, his value doesn’t improve.

I don’t think Ivory warrants a roster spot unless you own Ingram and are predisposed to handcuffing.

Tight End

Jimmy Graham

Like Drew Brees, we don’t need to spend a lot of time singing the virtues of Jimmy Graham.  In terms of his value, I’ll net it down this way:  Even in a league that lumps TE and WR together, he’s a top-10 option.  That’s really saying a lot.  In his heyday, people weren’t even taking Antonio Gates that high.

Since we all understand the upside, let’s talk about the risk.  Graham’s ADP is currently in the early second in start-ups and he’s nearly unobtainable in trades.  That’s uncharted territory for TE (and amazingly we have two guys in that bucket).  I think Graham is a wonderful player and I am grateful that I own him on my main team, but that is a lofty ADP.

The problem with his ADP is that there is zero upside in it.  It fully bakes in that he will repeat his 2011 production, or at least get within hand grenade distance of it.  Where he’s going in drafts people are passing on the likes of Julio Jones, Matt Forte and Brees.  Personally, I’d have a hard time pulling that trigger.

Before I get railed in the comments section, I want to be clear what I’m saying.  I expect Jimmy Graham to have a very nice season, but I doubt he ends up on any team that I draft this season.

David Thomas, et al.

In the words of Officer Barbrady, “Okay people move along, there’s nothing to see here”.

We’ll continue our team-by-team breakdowns with the New York Giants up next.

Editor’s Note:  Tim Stafford can be found @dynastytim on twitter and in the forums as dlf_tims.

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bbwayne
10 years ago

Nice write up, but Ivory should be rostered. Not from just a handcuff perspective but for 2013. He will be a RFA so chances are he will end up on another team.

Zach Levitt
Reply to  bbwayne
10 years ago

I own both Ivory & Thomas and I’m trying to figure out what to do with them. I’m in a salary cap league and Thomas is on the books for obviously more than Ivory. Thomas would be my RB4 or RB5 depending on R. Turbin. We have our FA auction coming up and I need to drop one of them plus I need some cap space. I was gonna drop Ivory but I think he does have potential but worried that he is never gonna get out from under the NO depth chart. What are the chances of him actually moving on and does he have the potential to actually start somewhere else? Should I drop Thomas or hold on to him for depth since he is borderline startable if a couple of my RBs go down?

Justin Kilmer
Reply to  Zach Levitt
10 years ago

I would keep Ivory, because of the potential. If you end up having to start Thomas due to injuries, your team will probably be in more trouble then you can come back from.

bbwayne
Reply to  Zach Levitt
10 years ago

I can’t provide much advice on salary cap leagues as I still need to join one, but I would keep all of the backs mentioned. Can you drop a receiver in their place? Might be good to post your team on the forums for some great advice.

Turbin is still an unknown, but I like his potential to fill in for Skittles. Thomas has better upside this year, but Ivory is the better long term play out of the bunch.

Zach Levitt
Reply to  bbwayne
10 years ago

The other RBs on my fringe are Javon Ringer, Dion Lewis and Joe McKnight. Due to roster requirements I can only hold 8 RBs. Here are all of mine:

TRich, J. Charles, CJ Spiller, R. Turbin, P. Thomas, J. McKnight, D. Lewis, C. Ivory, J. Ringer

bbwayne
Reply to  Zach Levitt
10 years ago

McKnight would be at the bottom of my list.

sean mcguigan
10 years ago

Would agree with just about everything here but have to wonder about statement that Sean Payton’s absense and team’s overall issue with bounty gate are going to have 0 impact on team’s performance(Brees in particular). I think it will have a pretty big impact actually….Brees has said as much and when Payton got hurt last year on sideline knee injury and was not able to coach way he normally does Brees and the entire O suffered…..I am not a Sean Payton fan but make no mistake he is an unbelievable Offensive coach and is a HUGE reason why both Brees and Saints have taken off last few years…..Brees’s numbers will come down without him that much I know for sure…how much is the question…..I wouldn’t bank on him being top 3 this year IMO….would rather have Stafford, Brady, Rodgers, and maybe even Cam(allow I think he also comes back to earth a little from ridiculous 14 rushing TD’s). He will be a very solid QB1 but you may be surprised at how much the Payton effect has on him and this team’s O.

CaptiveAssasin
10 years ago

I disagree that graham is not worth the value. He is so far ahead of the next best TE that his value in point spread speaks for itself. Besides gronk of course. I can easily see a more productive year from him. I don’t get how anyone (I know you didn’t say this) could believe his stats are going to decrease when they also believe Megatron will be the same or better than last year. The reason these 2 players did so well is because of their enormous advantage with height, speed, agility, and most importantly QB play. This will only be his third year and with their defense taking a hit I see them passing at least as much as they did last year.

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