The Extra Point: Grading the Saints fantasy football value

The Extra Point: Grading the Saints fantasy football value

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -

It's become a week one tradition. And given how strong the offense is year after year, grading the Saints' players in terms of fantasy football value remains very relevant. Not only will we narrow down who's worth a first round pick, but also who's not worth picking at all and who's the best bargain.

1. RB Alvin Kamara

Overall Grade: 9.7

Big-game potential: 10.0

Draft value: 9.0

Consistency: 10.0

He's going first overall in many leagues, thanks to his 14 rushing touchdowns a year ago. But what makes Kamara so unique among fantasy football circles is how much he breaks a trend.

At the end of the day, it's a numbers game. The most valued running backs and receivers are based on touches and targets. In that category, it's Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley that far and away lead running backs with carries. They average about 280 between the two of them compared to Kamara who had less than 200 carries last season. And then there's Christian McCaffrey, who not only had nearly 220 carries, but also caught an insane 107 passes. Still, A-K 41 remains a favorite in drafts because of his efficiency. Per carry, per reception, and per red zone appearance, he makes the most out of every situation thanks to the variety of situations the Saints use him. That means any game can be a big game.

All of this means that Kamara, despite his high draft cost, is 100 percent worth it, and he's my highest-graded fantasy player on the Saints.

2. WR Michael Thomas

Overall Grade: 9.0

Big-game potential: 9.0

Draft value: 9.5

Consistency: 9.5

With every year, Michael Thomas seems to break another record. Averaging more than 100 catches per year, there's no reason to think he won't have another stellar campaign, especially in PPR formats. He's typically going late in the first round of most drafts, and he's one of the safest picks you can make, thanks to his durability. As one of just a few pass-catchers that should bring in more than 100 receptions, you can't go wrong with him if you want to build a receiver-strong roster. The consistency factor is more of a reflection of the attention teams give him. There are games where the opponent's taken him away all game, but with Kamrara AND tight end Jared Cook, I don't see that happening quite as much.

3. TE Jared Cook

Overall Grade: 8.7

Big-game potential: 8.5

Draft value: 9.5

Consistency: 8.0

Jared Cook, for a number of reasons, might be the best value in fantasy drafts at the tight end position. He was signed for a reason: to be the big tight end target that Drew Brees and the Saints have been missing since Jimmy Graham. Given what we saw in training camp, it looks like he's already in sync with Brees and could become a go-to target down the field behind Thomas. You also have to take into account how well Cook should work hand-in-hand with Thomas and Kamara. That many weapons on the field means someone will have a favorable match-up. They should all put up impressive fantasy numbers. He's got a high ceiling and a high floor. Cook could be a top three tight end if the touchdown numbers are there, and by the way, he's played all 16 regular season games in five of the last six seasons. I don't think he'll do Jimmy Graham numbers, especially not weekly, because Thomas is such a high-volume target himself. So consistency takes a knock there, but that's no reason he's not worth a fifth or sixth round selection in fantasy drafts.

4. QB Drew Brees

Overall Grade: 8.3

Big-game potential: 8.0

Draft value: 8.0

Consistency: 9.0

If all of the guys mentioned before are expected to have a good year, so is the man dealing them the ball. Drew Brees is always a safe fantasy pick, but not the highest graded, mainly because quarterback is the easiest need to fill. Brees is more efficient at age 40, and with a good defense and the Saints ability to run the ball, gone are the weekly three, four and five touchdown. Still, he'll have his moments, and especially when paired with Michael Thomas, Brees can be a big fantasy football boost. But as a Saints fan, make sure not to obsess over the pick. His value as a FANTASY quarterback is 7th to 10th round at best.

5. RB Latavius Murray

Overall Grade: 7.2

Big-game potential: 6.5

Draft value: 8.0

Consistency: 7.0

Murray was signed to fill the role left behind by Mark Ingram. The good news is the Saints have led the NFL in rushing touchdowns the last two seasons. So Murray will have his opportunities. The bad news is the unpredictability. In 2017, Ingram was second in the league with 12 rushing touchdowns, while Kamara contributed eight. However, last year, even once Ingram returned from suspension, it was primarily the Kamara show, as Ingram's touchdown numbers were cut in half. I say all that to say that Murray will have value at some point, especially during by weeks, but I wouldn't count on him to be my RB2 or flex until we can determine how much of a role he'll have behind Kamara. At best, while Kamara's the top dog, Murray will have value IF he finds the endzone. Otherwise, reception numbers and yardage totals will leave a hole in your roster.

6. K Wil Lutz

Overall Grade: 8.7

Big-game potential: 8.0

Draft value: 8.0

Consistency: 10.0

He should always be on someone's fantasy roster. Kickers in good offenses that will have opportunties to show off the boot are always valued. The biggest knock is his draft value. Those around New Orleans tend to make him the first kicker off the board, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why people chase kickers so much before the final round when they're always available on the waiver wire.

7. Saints Defense / Special Teams

Overall Grade: 7.5

Big-game potential: 7.0

Draft value: 8.5

Consistency: 7.0

They're not necessarily a defense that I would start every week, but few are. Their biggest plus is creating turnovers. In big games in 2018, the Saints were great in that department, and that's what produces fantasy points. Most don't have much faith in this unit, especially how they've started seasons in the past, so you can probably get them in the last round of a draft.

Outside of those six players and the defense, the fantasy football value on the rest of the black and gold roster is few and far between. Ted Ginn Jr. and Tre'Quan Smith might warrant selections in deeper leagues, but they'll have to prove to be consistent performers to earn a regular spot on my fantasy roster.

As always, if you have any questions, be sure to submit them on the Final Word feature of the Final Play App or send an email to chagan@fox8live.com.

Copyright 2019 WVUE. All rights reserved.