The Saints May Finally Find Jimmy Graham’s Replacement
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The 2017 season did not provide us with the typical New Orleans Saints offense that we are accustomed to seeing during the Drew Brees era. This team was all about the running game with Mark Ingram and the amazing rookie Alvin Kamara spear-heading a dangerous attack. With teams always needing to respect Brees and his ability to light up a scoreboard, it allowed for a lot of open lanes for the backs to run through. Scoring was down for Brees, but this offense was as dangerous as ever in 2017.
Coming off his first season as a Saint in which he failed to finish as a Top 6 QB in Fantasy, Brees now finds his draft stock coming down as his career comes to a close. With the offense still expected to be high-powered, Brees will still have value as a QB1, but now his draft stock is more of a low-end player now. Gone could be the days of 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns from him. As for the receiving corps, it will again be the Michael Thomas show. He is one of the safer bets you can make as your WR1. New addition Cameron Meredith will be coming back from a bad knee injury, and time will tell what type of shape he will be in. Initial value has him as a low-end WR3, but it could sway depending on his health.
It is pick your poison with the two runners in this backfield in New Orleans. Alvin Kamara, if given more touches running the ball rather than receiving, could again find himself in the conversation among the tops at the position regardless of the format. Whereas Ingram, with the presence of Kamara, has now seen his value dip in PPR formats and is a safer bet in standard scoring with his nose for the goal-line.
Heading into the draft, it seems as though things on the defensive side for the Saints have finally started to gel. Look for the emphasis of this front office to be finding key contributors on the offensive side. Whether it be at tight end or along the offensive line, the Saints could use some more depth.
Team Needs: TE, OL, QB
Projected Top Three Picks
First Round: Dallas Goedert, TE South Dakota State
Third Round: Alex Cappa, OG Humboldt State
Fourth Round: Luke Falk, QB Washington State
Dallas Goedert presents the Saints with a possible player at tight end position that they have been lacking since the trade of Jimmy Graham. An extremely talented pass catcher, Goedert has the ability to work all the levels on the field, making him a tough draw for defenders. Whether you line him up out wide or in close, he can find space in any formation. His plus-catching rate will easily draw praise from Brees as they could develop a rapport early in the season. In re-draft leagues, Goedert could be the type of player you could take a flier on late while looking for potential. But his true value lies in Dynasty formats where he could become one of the league’s top tight ends in a few years.
Alex Cappa has the size, toughness and movement skills that could allow for him to find a spot on this line early in his career. He is a better run blocker than he is a pass protector, which fits in with the current scheme that the Saints offense is employing. I expect for Cappa to be a rotational player on the line early in his rookie season, but eventually carve out a role for himself, whether it is at guard or tackle. But his addition does not but help the Fantasy values of Kamara and Ingram.
Luke Falk seems like he could develop into quite the predecessor for Brees in the Saints offense. He is a rhythm passer with solid accuracy in the short-to-intermediate area. He gets rid of the ball easily with his quick and compact release. Holding on to the ball can tend to be an issue for Falk as protection issues in college caused him to develop happy feet. But with the proper coaching, and some learning behind Brees, he could pan out into a solid starter on this offense. Obviously there is no appeal for Falk in re-draft leagues for 2018, but in Dynasty formats, he will be worth a look if you can afford to take up the roster spot and hold him.
Dallas Goedert Featured Image: (AP Photo/LM Otero)