The New Orleans Saints will shockingly be without Sean Payton this year, as the head coach retired (for now) because he didn’t want to face the stark realities of the rebuild and the Saints untangling over a decade of pushing cap hits down the road. But, the Saints hired Dennis Allen and promoted a bunch of inside guys to run the offense, so I don’t expect much to change for them from that perspective. They also re-signed Jameis Winston, so we already have an idea of what they can do with this offense. That’s why it’s nice for them to add just one fantasy football-eligible player, Ohio State’s Chris Olave, in this draft. What can we expect from Olave in year one in the bayou?
FULL NEW ORLEANS SAINTS DRAFT RESULTS
|1||11||Chris Olave||WR||Ohio St.|
|1||19||Trevor Penning||OT||Northern Iowa|
|5||161||D’Marco Jackson||LB||Appalachian St.|
|6||194||Jordan Jackson||DT||Air Force|
Round 1, Pick 11 Overall: Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State (6’0” 187 lbs)
WR1: Michael Thomas
WR2: Chris Olave
WR3: Deonte Harty
Olave was not in my top-five wide receivers but was the third wide receiver off the board, and I actually… don’t hate it. Olave spent his college career across the field from Garrett Wilson, who is basically a fully-actualized version of Olave. Olave has a special knack for finding holes in coverage, especially deep. He struggles against man cornerbacks because he over-relies on his speed and athleticism in this regard. Because of this, he sometimes just runs into the chest of the defender and never sets up a secondary move; the Saints should be able to coach this out of him.
I felt that playing across from Wilson was one of the worst things that could have happened to Olave because Olave was like Garrett Wilson, but worse. Olave doesn’t have many traits that would make him a studly WR1 on a team, but landing with the Saints is a best-case scenario for Olave because he can do what he does best: being the second-best wide receiver on a team. He lacks a lot of suddenness, elusiveness, and the ability to win at the catch point. I have very little doubt that he will be good in the NFL, but I have a lot of questions about if he can be great.
With Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara taking the focus of the defense and pulling it toward the line of scrimmage, Chris Olave can feast over the top in the Saints’ offense. While Jameis only played in a handful of games before suffering a season-ending knee injury, he threw the ball deep at the eighth-highest rate of all quarterbacks with at least 150 pass attempts last season. That was the basis of my Deonte Harris (who became Harty mid-season) love last year. Consider that love transferred fully to Olave, who can better take advantage of the deep balls from Jameis.
2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
After knowing his destination, he is my fourth-favorite wide receiver in this class for 2022, after Treylon Burks, Drake London, and Garrett Wilson. Olave will likely see inconsistent production due to the likeliness that he is primarily the Saints’ deep threat his rookie year, and that profile isn’t conducive to consistent fantasy football success. It’s possible he ends up the WR3 or WR2 in this class from a production standpoint, but given the likely inconsistency with his production, he’s best suited as a flex or third receiver in your starting lineup on a weekly basis. This will shield you from his bust weeks while allowing you to enjoy his boom weeks.