Note: all points are calculated with PPR scoring
Team Reception Breakdown
Drew Brees: 274 total, 17.1 ppg (390/550 passing, 4455 yards, 28 TD, 10 INT; 18 yards rushing, 1 TD, 2 fumbles lost)
Unfortunately the rise of New Orleans coincided with the fall of Drew Brees. Instead of continuing his string of elite QB finishes, Brees finished as a back end QB1, producing consistently but without much in the way of pizzazz. With Mark Ingram suspended and better receiving weapons outside Brees might throw a little more than last year, but the defense and running game is still mostly intact. Brees should once again be considered a back end QB1 option, one who will never lose you the game but likely won’t win the game for you either.
Alvin Kamara: 328.8 total, 20.6 ppg (180 carries, 936 yards, 9 TD, 1 fumble lost; 80 Rec, 792 yards, 4 TD)
Mark Ingram: 178.1 total, 14.8 ppg (170 carries, 844 yards, 5 TD, 1 fumble lost; 38 Rec, 277 yards, 0 TD)
With Ingram suspended for the first 4 games, Kamara is set to inherit an increased work load to start the season. Even when Ingram comes back it’s going to be hard to take too many touches away from the electric playmaker. Of course it’s insane enough that Kamara was able to keep up that efficiency for all of last year. Expect regression. Sean Payton has also made it clear that he does not want to wear Kamara out, so Kamara will not be given a workhorse load (good news for Ingram when he does come back). Despite the attempts to limit Kamara’s touches, he will be a solid mid-range RB1 this year. Ingram should be a solid RB2 with RB1 upside once he returns.
Michael Thomas: 257.9 total, 16.1 ppg (95 Rec, 1169 yards, 8 TD, 1 fumble lost)
Ted Ginn: 128.5 total, 8.0 ppg (45 Rec, 675 yards, 3 TD, 1 fumble lost)
Cameron Meredith: 103.2 total, 6.5 ppg (35 Rec, 462 yards, 4 TD, 1 fumble lost)
Tre’Quan Smith: 99.0 total, 6.2 ppg (30 Rec, 450 yards, 4 TD, 0 fumbles lost)
Thomas will continue churning away the consistent WR1 games, the perfect complement to Drew Brees’s consistent QB1 games. As for the other players around him, it could get interesting. Ted Ginn appeared to solidify his grasp on the deep threat role last year, and there’s little reason to believe he won’t continue to hold it this year. Continue to treat him as a boom-or-bust flex. Cam Meredith comes in to man the slot, but don’t be surprised to see Smith stealing some snaps. Competing for the WR3 role will likely relegate both to fantasy obscurity, but if there’s a key injury or 2 one may emerge as a season winning waiver pickup later this season.
Ben Watson: 111.6 total, 7.0 ppg (45 Rec, 486 yards, 3 TD, 0 fumbles lost)
After a short stay in Baltimore, Watson returns to New Orleans. Unfortunately, he’s not getting any younger and the team receiving talent is much stronger than before. Watson may provide some bye week value and might even be worth drafting as a decent backup if you grab a risky TE1, but don’t count on anything major from him.