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2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: New Orleans Saints

Which unheralded player may excel with much in flux New Orleans’ offense?

In our annual 32-part Summer Sleeper series, DLF scribes identify a lightly-touted player on each NFL roster who may be worthy of your consideration. Our subjects all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but each merits a bit of in-depth discussion.

To help everybody along, we are going to be categorizing our sleepers under one of three headings:

Super Deep Sleepers – Players who aren’t roster-worthy in 12-team leagues, but are still worth keeping an eye on.

Deep Sleepers – An end-of-the-roster player who is more often than not on the waiver wire in 12-team leagues.

Sleeper – A likely rostered player who makes for a good trade target. Their startup ADP puts them out of the top 175 or so.

Because we aren’t going to give you the likes of mainstream sleepers, most of these players will undoubtedly fizzle. All we are asking is for you to keep an open mind and perhaps be willing to make room for one of these players on your bench. You never know when the next Adam Thielen or James Robinson is going to spring up. Feel free to add your own thoughts about our choice for the designated sleeper, or nominate one of your own in the comments below.

The New Orleans Saints are in a state of transition, certainly in terms of their on-field personnel. However, a more drastic change is that Sean Payton will not be at the helm for the first time since 2005. While defensive-minded Dennis Allen now assumes the head coaching position, Payton’s long-time assistant, Pete Carmichael, will be directing the offense.

The offensive centerpiece, Alvin Kamara, seems to be sidestepping a suspension for this season with numerous delays in his alleged Las Vegas assault case – barring a late change. Michael Thomas also tentatively returns from his recurrent ankle injury which has sidelined him for the better part of the last two years. New additions Jarvis Landry and rookie Chris Olave breathe some fresh air into a dreadful group last season. Finally, Jameis Winston returns for a second season with the Saints after suffering a torn ACL early last season.

While much of the attention in the Saints’ offense is on all the pieces outside of the tight end room, that is the area to take advantage of.

Adam Trautman, TE

Category: Sleeper


Partly due to Trautman’s athleticism, particularly his short-area agility, he was a mega producer at the college level (178 catches, 2,295 yards and 31 touchdowns over four years).

However, this occurred at a top basketball school in The University of Dayton, which plays in the Pioneer League below the top collegiate divisions in football. This isn’t ideal, but you would rather see the production than not.

Based on those origins, you would expect that he would profile as needing time to adjust to the NFL – and an adjustment it has been, thus far. Trautman entered the league gathering a 15-171-1 line on 15 targets in 2020 which was boosted to 27-263-2 on 43 targets in 2021 despite battling injury. Certainly, this isn’t the most impressive step forward in his second year, but the entire team was in disarray last season after Winston was lost for the season.

Depth Chart

At the moment, it goes: Trautman, Taysom Hill, Nick Vannett, Juwan Johnson

Still on his rookie contract following the Saints trading up to select him in the third round in 2020, Trautman is settled and there have been no additions to the tight end group this off-season.

One notable change is the positional shift for former Payton-favorite Hill, as he moves from quarterback to tight end full-time. While some intrigue has been allotted to Hill due to his exciting highlight plays over the years as a do-it-all athlete, I don’t think he’s a significant threat to every-down duties.

Vannett is a journeyman on his fourth NFL team who is rarely involved in the passing game and has eclipsed 200 yards receiving just once in his six-year career.

Johnson is also entering his third year in New Orleans after transitioning from wide receiver to tight end. He produced some flashes last year finding the end zone four times, but he only accumulated 13 receptions for 159 yards on 22 targets. His limitations as a blocker likely keep him off the field the majority of the time.

While all of Hill, Vannett, and Johnson may see action at some point, Trautman’s skillset presents the opportunity to excel in an every-down role.


Beyond competition among the other factors in the tight end room, additional challenges exist for the Trautman to ascend to fantasy relevance.

The offense is full of former target hogs in Thomas, Landry, and Kamara. We could certainly see these pieces taking the majority of passing volume as they each have for many years. The organization also invested significantly in adding Olave to the receiver corps, and the expectation is that he will be heavily used immediately. So, certainly there is a path for the tight end position to remain irrelevant, even with Trautman playing a majority of snaps.

Also, with a strong defense, a defensive-minded coach, and the desire to still limit the turnovers that have long-plagued Winston, we could see the continuation of a more conservative attack. However, there is some optimism that this is not the case. Nick Underhill of neworleans.football indicated that 11-personnel will be used the majority of the time, indicating a more pass-heavy approach contrary to the more conservatively-minded restriction of Winston we briefly saw last season.


The tale of the tight end position is one containing a handful of reliable options and a mess of potential and disappointment annually. Typically, the TE8-20 range ends up being about the same in terms of ranking and production. Essentially, it’s a pick your poison range. Beyond that, nobody wants much to do with any of the options, conveyed through ADP and dynasty value. This is exactly the range where one can find an option who could quickly ascend in the eyes of the community. It simply takes one season to completely shift to view in a notoriously slow-developing position.

Gerald Everett has become a popular breakout selection entering this season, now that he’s attached to Justin Herbert (despite previously being attached to Sean McVay in LA and a Russell Wilson-led Seahawks attack. He’s still viewed more favorably than a player like Trautman. It’s not difficult to imagine the Saints reshaping their image as an up-tempo, exciting offense this season. Pairing that with less stable options ahead of Trautman makes a true breakout more likely, in my assessment.

Trautman is one of the cheaper options at the position with a July DLF ADP of 208.67, landing him at TE26. This is up from 12 spots from June so a faint drumbeat may be beginning, ever so slightly. Using the DLF Trade Finder, Trautman is typically acquired as a throw in larger deals or straight up for a third-round valuation. Still just 25 years old, the dynasty community seems to think Trautman has lost his chance at a breakout. However, I believe he is primed to assume the available opportunity, especially if Michael Thomas doesn’t return to form.

2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: New Orleans Saints
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