In 2016, Cameron Meredith emerged as a true dynasty league gem as he exploded for 66 catches, 888 yards and four touchdowns seemingly out of nowhere while playing for the Chicago Bears. Meredith showed an amazing amount of promise and his ADP spiked all the way up to #64 in August. Unfortunately, Meredith tore his ACL and suffered additional knee damage in what can only be described as a gruesome looking injury in a 2017 preseason in a game against the Titans, putting his football future in doubt. A year later, the Saints decided to extend him a two-year contract offer worth right around $10 million as a restricted free agent. The Bears have declined to match the offer and Meredith will now be marching in to New Orleans. The move has long ranging dynasty impact, so let’s take a look at the players involved.
I’ve seen a lot of excitement from dynasty owners and the prevailing thought from some is Meredith’s value should spike because of the move to New Orleans as a result of him now playing with Drew Brees. I’d exercise some caution here. First, Meredith is coming off an injury serious enough to give Chicago pause and let him go. Second, the Saints are not exactly the Saints of old any longer. Drew Brees averaged 656 pass attempts from 2010-16 and never attempted fewer than 627 during that span. Finally equipped with a solid defense and running game, Brees only attempted 536 passes last year. In short, there are simply not as many targets to be had as some may hope for. I wouldn’t expect his passing attempts to increase substantially next season.
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Meredith is undoubtedly a very talented player and should give the Saints offense a boost in reality. I’m just not so sure his fantasy numbers are going to merit the price tag some may think he’s worth at the moment. When you combine the injury recovery risk and diminishing targets in New Orleans with players like Ted Ginn and Michael Thomas gobbling up targets and Alvin Kamara emerging as the primary weapon on offense, it’s risky to go “all in” on Meredith. I certainly expect his ADP to rise from the ashes and don’t believe this move is bad for his dynasty value but I’d treat him more as a player who could have a ceiling as a low-end WR2 and a floor of a spotty flex player. If you’re viewing him as more than that, you may be asking a little too much.
At this point, Ted Ginn is who he is. He’s going to have some monster games combined with some clunkers as the primary deep threat for New Orleans. I don’t see this move making a huge difference in what Ginn is going to bring to the table. The Saints are smart enough to use his talents the right way and that’s going to produce some long touchdowns and also some frustrations with dynasty owners. In short, we’ve been down this road before.
Make no mistake, Thomas is the alpha dog in the Saints receiving corps and that’s not changing. His touchdown production was a little down last year (five compared to nine his rookie year) but his catches (104) and yards (1,245) were both career highs in his second NFL season. If you’re in a league where an owner somehow thinks the value of Thomas has gone down with the addition of Meredith, I’d jump on it.
Snead was put squarely in the doghouse last year and it’s fair to wonder if the Saints will move on from him. New Orleans offered Snead a one-year, $615,000 contract to maintain their rights to him as an exclusive rights free agent but some wonder if they’ll rescind that offer now. Teams like the Ravens have been linked to Snead over the past couple of months and it’s likely he’ll be looking for a new home. With Meredith firmly in tow, that’s likely the best course of action for Snead’s tanking dynasty value.
It never hurts to add more weapons to an elite quarterback. While the days of Brees being the overall QB1 in fantasy leagues are likely over, he’s still a QB1 option and a great “plug and play” quarterback to have at the helm of a dynasty squad. I wouldn’t expect his numbers to spike but even 85-90% of the old Brees is enough to keep you in championship contention.
Other Saints Receivers
While the signing of Meredith doesn’t really affect the likes of Ginn or Thomas that much, it certainly hurts the potential of players like Tommylee Lewis, Josh Huff and Travin Dural, who are all looking like waiver wire players in shallow leagues at the moment.
Well, there’s no doubting Allen Robinson is going to be the primary target in the Windy City now. There really wasn’t much doubt before but this solidifies it. The Bears were obviously reluctant to pay two receivers coming off torn ACLs and they’re now putting all their eggs in the Robinson basket. There are obvious concerns here as he’s coming off an injury, playing with an inexperienced quarterback and suiting up for a team that doesn’t traditionally produce massive fantasy success for receivers. Still, the coaching staff obviously has faith in him and he’s going to get all the looks he can handle if he’s healthy.
I’ve been on record saying people are going a little overboard on Burton. I just feel there are a precious few truly elite tight ends who make a sizeable difference in fantasy leagues. However, the Bears letting Meredith go just frees up more targets for Burton and he’s looking better by the day.
Losing weapons for young quarterbacks is never a good thing. I don’t see this as a devastating blow but I’d also expect Chicago to address the pass catching position in the upcoming NFL Draft to make sure Trubisky is successful.
Other Bears Receivers
There are targets that have suddenly opened up for the likes of Josh Bellamy, Tanner Gentry, Kevin White and Taylor Gabriel, among others. Can Gabriel really be relied on that much? Can White finally make a difference? Will the Bears add another receiver in the draft? Will Batman finally meet his demise? There are more questions than answers with this group at the moment.
The Bears and Saints have both made what could be critical decisions here and it seems like one team is destined to be burned by it here. These are the moves that make dynasty leagues so much fun. Keep it here every day as we bring you unrivaled dynasty coverage as we have for the past twelve years.