Louisiana Purchase: Saints Sign Dez Bryant

Ken Kelly

The Dez Bryant saga has finally reached its next chapter as the receiver-needy Saints have signed the former Dallas Cowboy to a one-year deal. After being released in the off-season and failing to find the “right fit,” Bryant simply worked out on his own, waiting for the right chance to come. He apparently believes that’s happened now and will join a Saints team that seems to be going all-in this year in a quest to get one more Super Bowl title with the immortal Drew Brees at the helm. The signing has some far reaching dynasty implications, so let’s take a look at the players involved.

Dez Bryant, WR NO

Bryant’s eight year career in Dallas had its fair share of drama, but also some really good production as well. For his career, Bryant has posted 531 catches, 7,459 yards and a whopping 73 touchdowns. However, his production has tailed off fairly dramatically since his 88/1,320/16 season in 2014. Since that banner year, Bryant has posted just 150 catches, 2,035 yards and 17 touchdowns over the past three seasons.

It’s fair to wonder just what Bryant has left in the tank. In New Orleans, he’ll be the third option at best behind Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, leaving his production up in the air on a week-to-week basis. However, there’s no doubt he can be a solid red zone threat for a team that needs another one and finds itself near the goal line about as much as any team in football.

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Bryant is best served as a WR3 going forward as his days as an elite option in fantasy are a near certainty to be over. It’s fair to wonder just how he’ll react when balls don’t come his way and Sean Payton has very little patience for anyone who complains about playing time or targets as well. He’s shipped players like Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and Adrian Peterson out the door quickly when they didn’t like how things were going or became distractions in some way and he’d do the same with Bryant if and when he ever complains. Bryant is a bench stash at the moment until we see how this plays out. If he’s somehow been dropped in your league, now would certainly be a time to get him, though. Bryant’s ADP has seen the biggest decline of any player over the past 18 months and that’s sure to start rising now. He’ll hope to show well to get a longer term contract in the off-season.

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Michael Thomas, WR NO

Thomas is going to continue to be the focal point of the passing offense in New Orleans. If you have an owner in your league who thinks otherwise, it would be a great time to make a trade offer. Dez is most certainly going to be a one year rental in New Orleans and this really doesn’t change much for Thomas, who is at least making a small case for fantasy MVP this season.

Drew Brees, QB NO

When you have one of the best quarterbacks in reality and fantasy, adding another weapon is never a bad thing. Just keep in mind the Saints are still running the ball as much as ever and Brees isn’t attempting 60 passes a game. In the end, this signing can help him but likely won’t move the needle much on his value.

Cameron Meredith, WR NO

After signing with the Saints this off-season, much was expected of Meredith. Instead, he hasn’t looked like his pre-injury self and has posted just nine catches for 114 yards and one touchdown this season. He hasn’t been targeted at all the past two games as he’s fallen behind Tre’Quan Smith in the pecking order. Meredith’s dynasty value is looking shakier by the day.

Tre’Quan Smith, WR NO

If there’s a potential loser in this deal, it’s Smith. After the Saints lost Ted Ginn for the season, Smith had a golden opportunity to produce and really hasn’t taken full advantage. Outside of his week five game against the Redskins where he had 111 yards and two scores, Smith has only been able to post 103 yards and one other score in every other contest this season. While he remains a great dynasty stash, the Saints look like they’re feeling like Smith isn’t quite ready for prime time and they want to win now.

Austin Carr, WR NO

Carr had his chance to shine earlier this season, but the former Patriot camp star failed to make an impact. The signing of Bryant is going to put him on the bench as Thomas, Bryant and Smith will almost certainly be the top three wideouts.

Ben Watson, TE NO

It’s conceivable to think Watson may have lost a few red zone looks here with Bryant in the fold. He’s likely going to be targeted fewer times now as Bryant does some similar things. Still, Watson should stay in that large tier of tight ends who can get you some points each week but aren’t true difference makers.


ken kelly