With Drew Brees back, expect more of the same from the Saints: A hyper-efficient offense built around two of the best players in Fantasy. Emmanuel Sanders gives Brees a viable No. 2 wide receiver, but this is going to be the Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas show yet again. Why fix what isn't broken?
Record: 13 - 3 (2)
PPG: 28.6 (4)
YPG: 373.9 (9)
Pass YPG: 265.3 (7)
Rush YPG: 108.6 (16)
PAPG: 36.3 (13)
RAPG: 25.3 (17)
2019 Fantasy finishes
Number to know: 12
In 2019, Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray combined for 12 total touchdowns. In each of the 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons, Saints backs combined for at least 24 scores, and they totaled 18 in both 2014 and 2015, too. Taysom Hill's seven 2019 scores didn't help matters for Fantasy last year, but while his red-zone usage will likely remain, he's unlikely to back up his six receiving touchdowns on just 19 catches (or any rate resembling that). Even an optimistic Hill projection of four or five 2020 scores would suggest the combination of Kamara and Murray could add five or more touchdowns in 2020. That has negative implications for Drew Brees and players like Jared Cook, too.
1. (24) Cesar Ruiz, C
3. (74) Zack Baun, LB
3. (105) Adam Trautman, TE
7. (240) Tommy Stevens, QB
6 carries, 12 RB targets, 60 WR targets, 4 TE targets
Rankings and Projections
| ||Heath Cummings' projections|
|QB||Drew Brees||4,472 YD, 30 TD, 10 INT|
|RB||Alvin Kamara||985 YD, 9 TD; 86 REC, 731 YD, 4 TD|
|RB||Latavius Murray||648 YD, 5 TD; 31 REC, 216 YD, 1 TD|
|WR||Michael Thomas||164 TAR, 130 REC, 1,504 YD, 9 TD|
|WR||Emmanuel Sanders||79 TAR, 58 REC, 764 YD, 5 TD|
|WR||Tre'Quan Smith||40 TAR, 27 REC, 369 YD, 5 TD|
|TE||Jared Cook||74 TAR, 47 REC, 631 YD, 4 TD|
Will Alvin Kamara bounce back from an injury-plagued 2019?
A high-ankle sprain cost Kamara two games and sapped him of some explosiveness once he returned, which impacted his receiving yardage more than anything. But much of Kamara's 2019 stat line looked fine — his rushing efficiency and yardage were normal, plus he caught 81 balls for the third straight year. Touchdowns were the biggest culprit for his down season, as Kamara scored just six times after 31 across his first two seasons. That's unlikely to stick, and Kamara is trustworthy in Round 1.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
Murray acquitted himself well as Kamara's handcuff when the lead back missed time, and he returns for his age-30 season at a Draft Day cost that makes him a worthwhile bench running back. There aren't many — if any — offenses more prolific in terms of generating running back Fantasy points, and if some of the Saints' offensive scores shift back toward running backs in 2020, Murray could find some stand-alone value. There aren't many good explanations for how late Murray goes, other than he's an unexciting, older player. Take advantage.
The Saints are a top-heavy offense where terms like "breakout" are hard to apply, but while Kamara is already an established star, it wouldn't be surprising to see him produce a career season in 2020. Despite reported knee, ankle and back injuries costing him two games and sapping his explosiveness, Kamara caught 81 balls for the third straight season in 2019. His receptions per game, though, have risen each year, and Kamara has the potential to crest triple digits in a healthy 16 games. That type of receiving role along with what would likely be his first career 200-carry season and a reversion back to his pre-2019 touchdown production would give Kamara the closest statistical profile to Christian McCaffrey in the league.
Throw Emmanuel Sanders in here as well, but Cook goes higher in drafts. Cook caught just 43 balls in 2019 and only finished well in Fantasy thanks to nine touchdowns. That was his first season with more than five scores in his career, and he also dealt with concussions and watched as New Orleans drafted Adam Trautman as his heir apparent in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Meanwhile, Cook bested his previous career high of 9.4 yards per target by a substantial margin, finishing at 10.8 — his efficiency is due to regress across the board.
A big reason Cook saw just 65 targets is how difficult it is for secondary players to produce consistent Fantasy lines in an offense that revolves around Michael Thomas and Kamara. We did see in 2019 how more opportunity can open up when one of those two (Kamara in this case) isn't fully healthy, but with Sanders joining the mix for ancillary touches, it's hard to imagine either veteran on the wrong side of 30 being a consistent Fantasy option unless things go very wrong in New Orleans.
AFC East: Bills | Jets | Patriots | Dolphins
NFC East: Giants | Cowboys | Eagles | Redskins
AFC South: Colts | Texans | Jaguars | Titans
NFC South: Panthers | Bucs | Falcons | Saints
AFC North: Ravens | Steelers | Browns | Bengals
NFC North: Packers | Vikings | Bears | Lions
AFC West: Chiefs | Broncos | Raiders | Chargers
NFC West: Seahawks | 49ers | Rams | Cardinals
So what Fantasy football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which WR1 candidate can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get cheat sheets from the model that was all over Derrick Henry's huge season, and find out.