The Extra Point: Saints fantasy football grades - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

The Extra Point: Saints fantasy football grades

Source: Tom Newby, Flickr Commons Source: Tom Newby, Flickr Commons
(WVUE) -

For more than a decade now, the Saints have been a fantasy football gold mine. With Drew Brees, the scoring is seemingly endless, and his targets, from receiver to tight end to halfback, have all flourished at times.

Without Brandin Cooks this year, there are more touches to go around in the passing game, but with the addition of Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara, it’s even tougher to pick the right running back. Let’s break down the black and gold by position and grade. We’re scoring them by their potential to have a big game of 20+ points, their consistency week by week and where they’re likely to be drafted. Draft value will be based on where they’re likely to be selected and whether that will be worth it.

QB Drew Brees

Overall: 8.0

Big-game potential: 9.0

Consistency: 9.0

Draft value: 6.0

Brees is obviously the center of the Saints fantasy football value. But as you can see by the score, his draft value is the only thing that brings him down, as it does most signal callers. His potential to throw for three or more touchdowns is the biggest upside. And even when he’s below that mark, you’re hard-pressed to find a game that Brees doesn’t find the endzone at least once. However, especially in a New Orleans market, you’re going to have to jump on him early in the draft. He usually doesn’t make it to the third round. At that point, it’s still a little early for a QB unless you’re seeing names like Brady and Rodgers jump off the board as well.

RB Mark Ingram

Overall: 6.8

Big-game potential: 6.0

Consistency: 7.0

Draft value: 7.5

I was so ready to pump up Mark Ingram stock this season. He saw career-highs in rushing yards and yards per carry, as well as 10 total touchdowns, also marking his highest-ever total. But in comes Adrian Peterson and rookie Alvin Kamara. It’ll be hard not to give either of those two a share of Ingram’s carries. That limits his big-game potential, certainly. When he does get work, I still see him as being able to contribute, but again, the numbers may not be big. But that said, his most attractive fantasy football quality could be where he’s picked. Peterson could push Ingram into the fifth, sixth or seventh round. If Ingram winds up being your third choice at RB, kudos to you.

RB Adrian Peterson

Overall: 7.7

Big-game potential: 8.0

Consistency: 8.0

Draft value: 7.0

There are three types of fantasy football players in this world: those that have had Adrian Peterson carry their team, those that have wasted a top three pick on him, only to see Peterson injured, and those that have avoided the boom or bust running back altogether. I’m of the latter, and that won’t change this year, probably. But how wild would it be to see AD tearing it up in black and gold? The big game potential is there with a few 40+ yard touchdown runs. And so long as he remains healthy, there’s no reason to think he won’t produce. As far as draft value, I think he’s the first Saints back off the board, but he could also be the most productive, especially if he continues to catch the ball as well as he is in practice. His name alone makes him a tough one to pass on in the third or fourth round.

RB Alvin Kamara

Overall: 7.0

Big-game potential: 6.0

Consistency: 6.0

Draft value: 9.0

He’s got a better grade than Ingram. Am I crazy? Maybe. I’m questioning this one big time, but if you can get Kamara as a fourth running back option around the ninth or 10th round, it could be your best pick. Through two preseason games, we’ve seen nothing but great plays from Kamara. The only reason I’m not giving him more big-game potential is because there’s almost no way he’s going to get more touches than Ingram and Peterson, right? The same logic applies to the consistency grade. But man, again, should anything sideline the two backs “ahead” of him, or should Kamara truly make himself a back that has to see more snaps, look out.

WR Michael Thomas

Overall: 8.5

Big-game potential: 8.0

Consistency: 9.0

Draft value: 8.5

He’s the highest-graded Saint at 8.5. That sounds tough, but that’s the way it works with the black and gold. The ball is spread around too much for anyone to top a 9.0. That’s reserved for the likes of Jimmy Graham (R.I.P. his fantasy production). Back to the topic, Thomas had two multi-touchdown games last season. He should have more this year without Brandin Cooks. Consistency, however, will be his greatest asset. He’s become the unquestioned favorite target due to his size and catching ability. Even more targets will produce even more catches, boosting his PPR league value as well. I’m thinking Thomas will go second round, but if he’s there in the third, that’s a no-brainer.

WR Willie Snead

Overall: 6.7

Big-game potential: 6.0

Consistency: 7.0

Draft value: 7.0

I really thought I’d grade Snead higher as the Saints’ second receiver, but I can’t do it. In two seasons, he’s come close to the 1,000-yard mark, but that doesn’t really produce game-changing fantasy points. Snead had just two catches longer than 30 yards in 2016, which will limit his big play and big game potential. He’s consistent in terms of making the big catches, but the lack of consistency in targets hurts the grade. Draft value here will be what you make it. Take him too early, and you probably could have had a better running back or tight end instead. But if you can catch Snead drifting as your third or fourth receiver, maybe he proves me wrong and eclipses the four touchdown mark for the first time.

WR Ted Ginn Jr.

Overall: 5.7

Big-game potential: 6.0

Consistency: 5.0

Draft value: 6.0

Ted Ginn Jr. caught 10 touchdowns on 44 receptions as recently as 2015 in Carolina, but in the rest of his nine NFL seasons, he’s combined for 15 touchdowns. That speaks louder than one great year. I think Ginn will benefit a bit from playing in the Saints’ pass-happy offense, but it’s an offense built more around precision than big-arm bombs down field from Cam Newton. Because there’s the chance he catches a few deep shots and goes the distance, I’ll give him a little big-game potential. Consistency is hurt not only by what may be few targets, but by his shaky hands. We’ve already seen it in practice and in the endzone. As far as draft value, you could get Ginn after you draft a defense, or you could wait until he’s a free agent a few weeks in.

TE Coby Fleener

Overall: 5.7

Big-game potential: 5.0

Consistency: 6.0

Draft value: 6.0

Maybe I’m not doing Fleener justice. After all, he spent a fair amount of time in the top 10 tight end rankings last season. However, he finished ranked 15th, and I think that’s most accurate. Too many drops and a lack of redzone targets make Fleener a tight end I could do without. He had just three games with 50+ yards receiving last year. Even worse, Fleener had just five games with four or more catches. Just a few years removed from Jimmy Graham, those are very poor numbers for a Saints tight end. As far as draft value. Don’t jump early like I did a year ago. He’s a late-draft bargain, and if you miss him, you’re probably not missing much.

Worth noting, though I won’t go into detail, I like Wil Lutz as a kicking prospect. He’s proven in camp, and in the second half of the 2016 season, that he’s got an accurate leg from 45+ yards. And one of my number one rules is take a kicker on a good offense. Lutz will have his opportunities, especially now that he has more trust to connect from long range.

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