Every summer, we take a deep dive into the fantasy football average draft position (ADP) of players on each real-life NFL team. We do this so that we can determine which guys are undervalued, overvalued, or valued just right. As we Goldilocks this ADP, our draft board forms based on our opinions of players and where they go in fantasy football drafts. Since drafters draft (mostly) by site algorithms, site algorithms drive ADP on that site. So, we use FantasyPros’ aggregate average draft position data in order to smooth out those edges. To really smooth out the edges, I will use half-PPR average draft position, which you can find here.
The New Orleans Saints may or may not have Michael Thomas, so who knows how they will actually proceed to start the year. Luckily, they added Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry, which should help stem any bleeding should Michael Thomas actually miss time. They also have the sticky Alvin Kamara situation to deal with, and we still aren’t sure if Jameis Winston is good or not. A lot to think about, a lot to ponder! Let’s take a look at the 2022 New Orleans Saints and their sleeper, breakout and bust candidates for fantasy football!
Sleeper: Jameis Winston, Quarterback (QB23, 165 OVR)
Between Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave, Jameis Winston has more than enough weapons to succeed in New Orleans. He also boasts one of the league’s better offensive lines to protect him (though losing Terron Armstead hurts) and he’s in the third year with this organization, who, despite losing Sean Payton, will likely run the same offensive playbook this season. Jameis knows the system, has plenty of weapons and was QB8 the last time we saw him for a whole season… while throwing 30 interceptions. He also wasn’t really a slouch with the Saints, either. He played just seven games but had a 5 touchdown game, a 2 touchdown game, and a 4 touchdown game under his belt, throwing for a 14:3 TD: INT ratio in his seven games under center last year.
There’s no quarterback competition in New Orleans; Jameis is the undisputed starter. The last time we saw him play for any period of time, he was a top-12 quarterback. Now, with a set of weapons around him, that can help carry any shortcomings he might have, we abandon Jameis Winston as a backend QB2. He can be much better than that, and he will be much better than that. It’s easy money there at pick 165 overall.
Breakout: Chris Olave, Wide Receiver (WR52, 129 OVR)
I was not a huge fan of Chris Olave coming out in the 2022 NFL Draft, at least compared to other fantasy football analysts. I thought that he would be best suited in the NFL as a #2 wide receiver, and I feared that teams would try to Moneyball him into being their WR1 as some high-volume mid-range target. Thankfully, he ended up on a team with multiple short-and-intermediate targets in Jarvis Landry, Michael Thomas, and Alvin Kamara, so Olave doesn’t need to do that. The Saints also paired his 4.39 40-yard dash speed and downfield talents to make him the deep threat for Jameis Winston. The last time we saw Jameis for a whole year, he threw for 30 touchdowns (…and 30 interceptions…) while leading the NFL in deep-ball pass attempts, air yards, passing yards, and ranking second in air yards per attempt. Translated: Jameis Winston is a match made in heaven for Chris Olave.
I dig Olave as a guy who can be a perfect boom-bust WR3; someone who can win you weeks all on his own, but who shouldn’t be your first or second wide receiver. At pick 129 overall, I’m penciling Olave in as my tenth-round pick wherever I can. I love his upside with Jameis Winston in New Orleans.
Bust: Michael Thomas, Wide Receiver (WR20, 50 OVR)
I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but Michael Thomas’ ADP jumped up two rounds after not playing last year, and after not playing for the majority of 2020. In late August 2021, Michael Thomas’ ADP was 72 overall, at the end of round six. Currently, his ADP is at the beginning of the fifth round. So, while I like Michael Thomas as a player this year, I’m not a big fan of Michael Thomas at this price. Last season, we acknowledged that there was some downside to Michael Thomas at his ADP, and we pushed it lower. Thomas also rewarded those who washed their hands of him entirely, as he did not play a single, solitary snap in 2021 and there were tons of rumors of bad blood between Thomas and the Saints.
Fast-forward to 2022 and… not much has really changed? Well, except that the Saints went out and got Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave to shore up their receiver corps, and possibly take targets away from SlantBoy ™. We still aren’t sure about his foot injury, nothing seems to have made the relationship between Thomas and the Saints better, and he somehow gained two rounds of ADP. Should Michael Thomas be right and click with Jameis Winston, then top-20 would be his floor. Unfortunately, we took him as WR28 last year, and he still burned a ton of people with that ADP. While Michael Thomas’ draft price bakes in the risk of downside with him, I fear it doesn’t go far enough. With that in mind, I’m out on Michael Thomas at ADP this season.