The New Orleans Saints once again came one heartbreaking play away from advancing in the playoffs, once again. This happened to them against the Vikings, once again. And once again, Drew Brees and company are back with a chip on their shoulders. This will be a Taysom Hill-free zone, so please be warned of that going in. Who will the New Orleans Saints utilize in such a way to make them a sleeper, a breakout, or a bust for 2020 fantasy football leagues?
Sleeper – Latavius Murray, Running Back (RB45, 114 overall)
Last year, we saw what Latavius Murray still had in him as Alvin Kamara’s backup. His season-long numbers were disappointing because we expected him to play more of a 1b role in New Orleans, a la Mark Ingram before he absconded off to Baltimore. Instead, Murray played as a strict backup. Before he got 27 carries in Kamara’s stead due to injury, Murray averaged just 5.3 carries per game. A paltry pittance compared to what we expected. Murray showed in Kamara’s absence why he’s one of there handcuffs I’ll actually draft this season: in two games last year as the starter, he averaged 24 carries and 7 receptions per contest, averaging over 150 yards per game on the ground and scoring four touchdowns. That kind of super smash upside is worth burning a roster spot on if you’re an Alvin Kamara owner. That, or at some point in the season, you’re happily burning all your FAAB, instead.
Breakout – Emmanuel Sanders, Wide Receiver (WR41, 108 overall)
For years, we tried to make subpar players on the Saints into viable fantasy options through the sole power of wearing a New Orleans Saints uniform. This year, the Saints finally have a competent #2 wide receiver and we tell the fantasy gods “no, thank you.” Sanders still has it, so this is more of me conking heads together. Yes, he ended up on the 49ers last season, and that’s why he had games of 24, 33, 15, 41, 9, and 25 yards down the stretch. That’s what happens when you’re with the 49ers. He also started the year on a 1,192-yards, eight-touchdowns pace in his first four games with Denver. It’s not like he’s lost it, he just stopped getting the right kind of targets to produce. Drew Brees will make sure he gets the right kind of targets, making Sanders a weekly PPR WR3 play.
Bust – Jared Cook, Tight End (TE9, 81 overall)
Generally, I don’t like Jared Cook on a yearly basis. I don’t trust the production; it’s fleeting. Specifically, I don’t trust Jared Cook this year because of his target volume in the Saints’ offense. He had just 65 targets all year long, which isn’t enough to sustain any sort of fantasy football success. A lot of his value was buoyed by inordinate numbers of touchdowns. Cook backers like to tell you how he was a fantasy football force in the last four games of the season, but gloss over scoring five touchdowns in four games to get him to that point. That would be 20 touchdowns over the course of the season. I don’t have to tell you that’s an unsustainable pace. The dirty little secret is in those four games is that he had twelve targets. Twelve targets, across four games!
Would you trust in any tight end’s best stretch when it comes on the back of three targets a game, five of which went for touchdowns? I don’t trust the hype and I don’t trust the 2020 production.