Fantasy: 2019 Projections - Is Cook exactly what the Saints need?
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With training camps approaching, theScore's Justin Boone is releasing his offensive projections for all 32 teams, including his thoughts on every fantasy-relevant player.

Projections are based on the following point values in PPR leagues:

  • Passing Yards: 1 point per 25 yards
  • Passing TDs: 4 points
  • Interceptions: -2 points
  • Rushing Yards: 1 point per 10 yards
  • Rushing TDs: 6 points
  • Receptions: 1 point
  • Receiving Yards: 1 point per 10 yards
  • Receiving TDs: 6 points
  • Fumbles Lost: -2 points
  • Two-point Conversions: 2 points

2019 Fantasy Projections

AFC East
NE | BUF | NYJ | MIA
AFC North
BAL | CIN | PIT | CLE
AFC South
JAX | IND | HOU | TEN
AFC West
DEN | KC | OAK | LAC
NFC East
DAL | PHI | NYG | WAS
NFC North
DET | GB | MIN | CHI
NFC South
ATL | NO | CAR | TB
NFC West
LAR | SF | SEA | ARI

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees, QB

Fantasy Points 273.9
Attempts 512
Completions 365
Pass Yards 4045
Pass TDs 28
INTs 7
Carries 32
Rush Yards 21
Rush TDs 2
Fumbles Lost 1
2PT 1

Brees is one of the most recognizable names in the fantasy community, but those paying closer attention know New Orleans doesn't need him to win games with his arm as often as in years past. Instead, the Saints have been able to lean on their rushing attack and stout defense to power them to victories. Brees failed to crack 4,000 yards last season for the first time in over 12 years and his 489 pass attempts were his lowest mark since 2004. He should be viewed as a low-end QB1 moving forward.

Quarterback depth: Teddy Bridgewater is one of the few noteworthy NFL backups who could presumably keep an offense going while putting up streamer-worthy fantasy stats. He'd be an intriguing waiver wire pickup in the event of a Brees absence.

Alvin Kamara, RB

Fantasy Points 358.9
Carries 209
Rush Yards 1065
Rush TDs 10
Fumbles Lost 0
Targets 106
Receptions 83
Rec. Yards 774
Rec. TDs 4
2PT 4

Kamara is one of four running backs with a stranglehold on the top four picks in fantasy drafts this year. However, he's the only one with a talented sidekick capable of siphoning off touches, especially around the goal line. Even so, Kamara's been an unstoppable force since entering the league, and Sean Payton wisely increased his carries as a sophomore. If you're selecting fourth and you end up "settling" for Kamara, you'd be getting one heck of a consolation prize.

Latavius Murray, RB

Fantasy Points 163.3
Carries 174
Rush Yards 748
Rush TDs 7
Fumbles Lost 0
Targets 29
Receptions 23
Rec. Yards 159
Rec. TDs 0
2PT 0

That talented sidekick we mentioned is Murray, a free-agent signing brought in to replace Mark Ingram. Murray can capably take over as the Saints' power back and fourth-quarter closer and brings more athleticism to the role. He should see enough work in the run game and around the goal line to secure a spot among the top-30 fantasy backs.

Running back depth: The Saints have a trio of rushers contending to be next in line behind Kamara and Murray. Undrafted rookie Devine Ozigbo seems like the perfect big-bodied understudy to Murray, with veteran Javorius Allen ready to take the field in case of emergency as a very poor man's Kamara. Dwayne Washington is also in the mix, so we may have to wait until deep into the preseason before the depth chart is solidified.

Michael Thomas, WR

Fantasy Points 307.2
Targets 151
Receptions 120
Rec. Yards 1392
Rec. TDs 8
Carries 0
Rush Yards 0
Rush TDs 0
Fumbles Lost 0
2PT 0

Thomas has been a student of the game since being drafted by the Saints, attaching himself to Brees' hip and using hard work to hone his craft. The results have been season-long stat lines of 92-1,137-9, 104-1,245-5, and 125-1,405-9. His 85 percent catch rate in 2018 was an unprecedented level of efficiency for a wide receiver. Until someone else proves they deserve a major chunk of the Saints' targets, Thomas will continue to thrive as a top-seven fantasy wideout.

Tre'Quan Smith, WR

Fantasy Points 100.8
Targets 52
Receptions 33
Rec. Yards 498
Rec. TDs 3
Carries 0
Rush Yards 0
Rush TDs 0
Fumbles Lost 0
2PT 0

Smith is my choice to take over as New Orleans' primary field-stretcher this season after posting a pair of 100-yard games and a handful of touchdowns as a rookie. The problem with investing in Smith is the presence of veteran Ted Ginn. Ginn has earned Brees' trust and, when he was healthy, got the nod over Smith last season. Whoever receives the call will be a very valuable fantasy best-ball option and a pure upside pick in re-draft.

Receiver depth: The Saints are going to have some tough decisions to make with a very deep receiving corps that features veteran Rishard Matthews, serviceable talents in Keith Kirkwood and Austin Carr, and late-round/undrafted rookies Emmanuel Butler and Lil'Jordan Humphrey. Keep an eye on how this develops, but don't waste any draft capital on one of them ... yet.

Jared Cook, TE

Fantasy Points 159.6
Targets 83
Receptions 54
Rec. Yards 675
Rec. TDs 6
Carries 0
Rush Yards 0
Rush TDs 0
Fumbles Lost 0
2PT 0

Cook has a chance to serve as the Saints' No. 2 receiver. His new head coach suggested as much after the team signed him. Payton also recently raved about his shiny tight end toy while speaking to NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms. Cook will have a tough time matching the 101 targets thrown his way in Oakland last year, but life will be easier catching passes from Brees. He'll also have more opportunities to find the endzone in an offense that'll often be in scoring position. Cook has moved up to seventh in my tight end fantasy rankings.

Tight end depth: Josh Hill and Dan Arnold weren't able to get the job done last season, which lead to the signing of Cook and the drafting of Notre Dame product Alize Mack. It's clear the Saints want to involve their tight ends more, and as an accomplished pass-catcher, Mack could be Cook's eventual successor.

2019 Fantasy Projections

AFC East
NE | BUF | NYJ | MIA
AFC North
BAL | CIN | PIT | CLE
AFC South
JAX | IND | HOU | TEN
AFC West
DEN | KC | OAK | LAC
NFC East
DAL | PHI | NYG | WAS
NFC North
DET | GB | MIN | CHI
NFC South
ATL | NO | CAR | TB
NFC West
LAR | SF | SEA | ARI

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Fantasy: 2019 Projections - Is Cook exactly what the Saints need?
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