Fantasy Football 2020: New Orleans Saints look like team full of busts

Saints, Michael Thomas, Drew Brees
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

If you were going to looking to take a prominent New Orleans Saints player in your fantasy football draft, here’s where their ADPs sit right now. (Courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator, 12-team leagues, full PPR).

Drew Brees: QB7 (pick 7.07)
Alvin Kamara: RB4 (pick 1.05)

Latavius Murray: RB43 (pick 9.06)
Michael Thomas: (WR1, pick 1.05)
Emmanuel Sanders: WR39 (pick 9.04)
Jared Cook: TE11 (pick 9.12)

I’ve already laid out a case for why Alvin Kamara will be a fantasy bust this year, rooted in his ADP and few more mouths to feed in the offense.

Brees missed five games last year, but a strong finish (25 touchdowns over the final 10 weeks, fourth in fantasy points per game among QB over that time). He has completed 70 percent or more of his passes in four straight seasons, topping 74 percent in each of the last two years.

But Brees also had the best touchdown rate of his career in 2019 (7.1 percent), which seems ripe for regression. He’s also 41 years old, and is open to ceding snaps to Taysom Hill.

Brees has been as prolific a passer as the league has ever seen. A slow erosion in yards in 2017 and 2018 is easy to overlook, and obviously last year was truncated by injury.

Brees will have big games, but the risk of a ill-timed dud (see his recent history in Week 13) is greater than it’s ever been.

Cook averaged a career-best 16.4 yards per catch last year, with nine touchdowns on 43 receptions. Those numbers are in line to regress, even without considering No. 2 tight end Josh Hill’s eight red zone receptions (second on the team) last year.

Thomas has led the NFL in catches in each of the last two seasons. He set the single-season record with 149 receptions last year. Sanders is a much-needed credible, if a little aged, No. 2 wide receiver for the Saints. Even with some likely decline from a record-setting catch total, Thomas remains the clear No. 1 target in this passing game.

As a natural expectation, Thomas will cede his title as the No. 1-scoring fantasy wide receiver this year. He might finish as No. 2, but a repeat as No. 1 (let alone the way he practically lapped the field in 2019) is not likely. Thomas is the Saint most likely to return value on his ADP, and in my mind it’s not that close as Kamara and Brees ultimately finish outside the top-10 at their positions.

The Saint I’m most likely to draft, even just as a bench stash, is Murray. In the right context (low-end WR3/WR4 range) Sanders is also appealing. But I’ll willing avoid Kamara, and stand alone in tabbing him as a bust. Brees might not be an outright bust, but his range of outcomes has widened on the low end while the ceiling is lower. With an ADP that still has him as a top-10 fantasy quarterback, in the zone where you’re more likely to be stuck drafting a quarterback than love the one you get, it’s better off to wait a few rounds and draft Josh Allen, Matthew Stafford, etc.

The New Orleans Saints are in line to be a very good real-life team in 2020. But for fantasy you’ll pretty much be counting on the best-case scenarios for Thomas, Kamara, Brees or Cook. One or two are sure to fall short, with Thomas clearly the most immune to a drop-off.

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