2012 Fantasy Football Preview: New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints are looking to take their frustrations post-scandal out on the football world.  Luckily, if there is one things that will likely not affect the Saints is their value as a fantasy juggernaut. Here is the breakdown of positions and what to look out for

Quarterback

Drew Brees is a top 3 pick and that is hard to swallow because there is almost no reason why he shouldn’t be the first overall pick in 99% of drafts this year.  Hell it’s hard to argue against picking him first.  If he’s not gone by  the end of the third pick, the people picking above you are idiots and probably won’t win your league. If you decide to pass him up, I almost think your sanity needs to be questioned. Nevermind his career stats of 40,000+ passing yards (fastest ever to reach that) and close to 300 touchdown passes, he also broke Dan Marino’s single season passing yardage record in 2011 with 5,476.  He is arguably the best overall player, period.

For those of you who think the recent fat contract he got would be an excuse for him to play soft, then you really haven’t been paying attention to his career at all.

Running Back

The Saints running-back-by-committee approach is something to give fantasy owners fits.  I will just say the safest pick and most likely week-to-week starter is Darren Sproles.  He’s averaged 6.9 yards per carry from 87 attempts for 603 yards.  Though he lagged behind Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram in rushing  scores, two compared to five a piece, his versatility as a receiving threat solidifies his value.

If Mark Ingram is fully recovered from his injuries and produces in the backfield, expect him to become more of a workhorse.  He may be a suitable flex option at first, but he won’t be drafted to start, except in deeper leagues.  Ingram has the potential to very much become a reliable handcuff provided the injury bug doesn’t get him again.

Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory are hard to pass up simply because they’re just as productive when they carry the ball.  They can just as well end up being leaned on, especially Thomas should Ingram suffer some production problems.  You can’t really go wrong with Thomas on the bench/flex role. The Saints may have the best depth at running back of the league, but Sproles will be your only consistent threat.

Wide Receiver

Marques Colston, like Sproles, is the one constant threat in the wide receiving corps.  He’ll get his 1,000+ yard production and  he’ll provide a ton to score.  He is easily a top 5 receiver in the draft. As for the rest of the pack, Devery Henderson should see some increased production with Robert Meachem gone. Then again after Sproles, Colston and Jimmy Graham, everyone else is fighting for table scraps when it comes to Brees and his distribution of the ball.

Colston is the only sure bet.  Henderson was streaky in his production and might warrant a look if he’s hot especially if you end up a little short during a critical bye week. Another name to look out for who is my potential sleeper pick of the team is Nick Toon, son of former New York Jets receiver Al Toon.  Like his father, Nick was a Wisconsin Badger alumni.  His fourth round selection is worth nothing given his productive years with the Badgers.  His final year with the program warranted career highs in receptions (64), yards (926) and touchdowns (10). He could be the potential breakout rookie.

Tight End

Jimmy Graham is the NFC’s best tight end hands down and if he’s not the first selected in a fantasy league, he’ll be the second, the other one being Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. At least with Graham, we won’t have to worry about him potentially developing a reality show with him and his family.

In 2011, Graham became the first tight end in franchise history to have more than 1,000 yards receiving.  He almost owned the single-season receiving yards record by a tight end when he broke Kellen Winslow’s 1,290-yard mark with 1,310 yards.

Unfortunately for Graham, Gronkowski broke  his record finishing with 1,327 yards later in the day.

Defense

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is looking to stop the defensive bleeding when it comes to giving up scores. Building a better Band Aid is hardly a solution for fixing a defense that ranked 30th in passing yards.  Then again, with Drew Brees and that juggernaut of an offense to spot you the amount of points you get every game, it’s hard to defend against teams who need to be as explosive on offense as your own.

Unless you see Spagnuolo’s zone defense producing a lot of turnovers, it’s probably best to stay away from this one.

As originally posted here.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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