According to head coach Sean Payton, Fleener remains a "work in progress," reports Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. "I'd say it's an ongoing progression," Payton said of Fleener. "I think, man, there are some plays that are real good, and then there's some plays where we've gotta be a little more detailed. And that's something that I know he's gotta work on."
While Payton has been unabashed about his praise for rookie receiver Michael Thomas, he's been far more reserved when discussing Fleener throughout the summer. In fact, Fleener himself admits that he doesn't yet have all the intricacies of the playbook down as much as he would like yet. Fleener's struggles raise some red flags, as CJ Spiller similarly had difficulty grasping the playbook after coming to New Orleans last offseason and he struggled to see the field as a result. For fantasy owners, Fleener's comments are further frustrating, because the Saints' offense is one of the friendliest in the league for tight ends. Since Payton and Brees arrived in 2006, the Saints rank second in the NFL in tight end targets, behind only the Dallas Cowboys, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Last season, veteran tight end Benjamin Watson posted the best numbers of his 12-year career. Fleener should still be productive in his first season in New Orleans, even if he has to fight through the occasional mental flub, but fantasy owners should probably exercise some caution when drafting him, as it may take some time for Fleener to mesh with Brees in a new offense.
Fleener caught two passes for 12 yards on two targets in Saturday's preseason game against Houston.
Fleener got quite a bit of playing time, catching one pass from Drew Brees in the first quarter and then another from Luke McCown early in the third quarter. While it was surprising to see him stay in the game for so long, Fleener is locked in as the top tight end for an offense that's been extremely friendly to the position in recent years.
Fleener acknowledged that he has some catching up to do when it comes to learning the New Orleans offense, The Times-Picayune reports.
Fleener is also learning how to work with Drew Brees, after catching passes from Andrew Luck throughout college and his first four professional seasons. Though he may need some time to integrate, Fleener figures to have a key role from the get-go, as he signed a five-year, $36 million deal in March. The New Orleans offense has been rather friendly to tight ends during Brees' tenure, with Jimmy Graham's impressive run followed by a shocking breakout season from Ben Watson last year. Watson left for Baltimore in the offseason, leaving Fleener as the clear top target at tight end.
Coby Fleener has signed a five-year deal with the New Orleans Saints .
Fleener, who caught 54 passes for 491 yards and three TDs with the Colts in 2015, will now have a chance to work in coach Sean Payton's offense, with Drew Brees at quarterback, a scenario that should boost the tight end's fantasy prospects in 2016.
Coby Fleener caught all seven of his targets for 88 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 30-24 victory over the Titans.
Fleener's 57-yard touchdown in the first quarter was the catalyst behind a Indianapolis Colts victory, but the team was eliminated from playoff contention after the Texans won their game against the Jaguars. His 88 receiving yards in this one were a season high, but he hadn't topped 50 yards in a game since Week 4 coming in.
|2||9/18/16||@ NYG||1:00 pm|
|4||10/2/16||@ SD||4:25 pm|
|Bye: Week 5|
|7||10/23/16||@ KC||1:00 pm|
|9||11/6/16||@ SF||4:05 pm|
|11||11/17/16||@ CAR||8:25 pm|
|14||12/11/16||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|15||12/18/16||@ ARI||4:05 pm|
|17||1/1/17||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|2016||New Orleans Saints||0||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0||0|
|2016||New Orleans Saints||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2016||New Orleans Saints||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|