2023 Fantasy Football New Orleans Saints Preview

by Blake Gambino
2023 Fantasy Football New Orleans Saints Preview

The NFL off-season is fully underway. That means it's time to really be doing your research for the upcoming 2023 Fantasy season. Today, we've got for you the 2023 Fantasy Football New Orleans Saints Preview. 

The New Orleans Saints had a decent season last year, all things considered. Finishing the season 7-10 in the NFC South with journeyman QB Andy Dalton at the helm isn't something to be proud of, but it is not the worst outcome for a Saints season. We even had a few years of 7-9 records with HOF QB Drew Brees under center.

And even with Dalton at QB since Week 4, the Saints had compelling fantasy seasons from a few players. Those players should be even better with the addition of QB Derek Carr, who was signed to a 4-year, $150 million contract in early March.

As a Saints fan myself I'll tell you we enter every season cautiously optimistic. And in NOLA baby, we throw caution to the wind! Black and Gold to the Super Bowl!

Now let's get to this roster.

2023 Fantasy Football New Orleans Saints Preview

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As I mentioned above, Derek Carr was brought in to be the starting QB. Over his career he's never won a playoff game but he's been a solid stat padder. That's what you're looking for in a QB with his late-round ADP. I foresee a jump into the top-15 QB rankings with some solid games and an easy schedule.

The Saints have the easiest schedule this year according to win % of teams from last year. The best team we play in Weeks 11-18 are the Detroit Lions, and they aren't known for their tough defense. So keep Carr in mind as a plug-and-play starter nearing and into the fantasy playoffs (based on match up of course).

Having only thrown 30 TDs in a season once, I'm not looking at DC to be a league-winning Fantasy QB this year but with the right knowledge he could spot start for your team and perform above average. The Saints have offensive weapons and Carr is an upgrade on Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton

I expect a pretty exciting fantasy season from guys like Chris Olave, Juwan Johnson, and Alvin Kamara

Running Back

The Saints had a tough season fantasy wise for RBs. Alvin Kamara only totaled 1,397 yards rushing/receiving with 4 TDs. Based on his top-5 round ADP you would expect more production.

Kamara has always been best in a tandem. Lucky for him, the Saints signed Jamaal Williams. He's the perfect compliment to Kamara's speed, agility and pass catching abilities. Williams scored 17 TDs last year for the Lions and was a goal line monster. With Williams taking the bulk of the 1st down and goal line carries, I see both RBs being drafted at a lower ADP than their true Fantasy value.

That means you can get a game-breaking RB like Kamara in rounds 6-10 in most leagues. Don't forget he scored a record 6 rushing TDs on Christmas day just a few years ago. The only thing to keep an eye on with Kamara is his legal trouble from the off-season. Most believe when his court case is resolved in late July early August the league office will come down with a 6 game suspension.

I, myself, am not too worried about that either way. Fantasy championships aren't won in weeks 1-6. Keep an eye on his ADP throughout this off-season and you may be able to draft a player with RB2 upside in double-digit rounds!

The Saints also drafted an electrifying rookie Kendre Miller. He's quick and runs hard. He even has decent pass catching abilities. Look at Kendre Miller late in redraft leagues as a handcuff to either Kamara or Williams.

Wide Receiver

Chris Olave is the highly touted and drafted receiver in this group. Last year with extremely underwhelming QB play he racked up 119 targets in only 15 games.  His skill in route running helped him achieve a separation and allowed him to average nearly 15 yards a catch. I expect a similar target share in 2023 and he should be able to score double digit TDs.

He only had 4 TDs last year. But with Michael Thomas injured since Week 4, Olave was always tasked with facing each team's top cornerback. His production was more than solid as a rookie under those circumstances.

Speaking of Michael Thomas, the catches in a season record holder, hasn't had much on-field success since that very season. Oft injured, he's done more flexing on the sidelines and in the weight room than on the field the last few seasons. The positive news for MT13 is that he seems to be fully healthy and if you watch his Instagram workout videos he's coming back stronger.

Another positive note for the so-called "slant boy": his new $150 million QB loves a possession receiver. In 2021, Carr targeted fellow underneath route runner Hunter Renfrow 128 times. That was good enough to have Renfrow nearly crack the top-10 for PPR WRs that season, coming in at #11. Last year Carr targeted big underneath target Mack Hollins 94 times. It's safe to say Carr loves targeting players before the first down marker.

Now that doesn't mean a deep threat burner like Rashid Shaheed won't be utilized in this offense. The Saints offense has long been described as a run heavy scheme, but the downfield shot is one of the key components to keeping defenses honest. Expect Shaheed to have a solid sophomore campaign; if your fantasy league awards points for kick/punt return yardage than he has even more value.

I don't expect Smith, Perry, Edwards or Washington to have much fantasy value this season, even in deeper leagues, due to the fact the Saints TEs are a solid receiving group, that should be pretty heavily targeted by the short throw obsessed Derek Carr. 

Tight End

Any three of these TEs could be a top 10 TE any given week. As mentioned above, Derek Carr loves to check down to any target before the first down marker.

Last year I actually started Juwan Johnson most of the Fantasy season. My keeper TE Darren Waller was hurt nearly all season. Johnson finished the season as TE15, which is great considering he was most likely not drafted in any redraft fantasy leagues. He finished as TE2 in two separate weeks and as a top-eight TE in three other weeks of last season. Which again, I believe is pretty great for a waiver-wire TE with Andy Dalton as his QB.

Foster Moreau played well in replacing Darren Waller last season but wasn't much of a fantasy asset. He never caught more than three passes in game last year except for one game last year where he played every offensive snap and hauled in six catches for 31 yards. Funny enough, that was against the Saints. Maybe we saw what we liked from Foster and that's why we signed him. We needed another TE, specifically a more blocking oriented TE after trading non-receiving threat Adam Trautman.

Expect Juwan Johnson to move into the top-10 TE race this fantasy season, unless, of course,  Taysom Hill is featured even more in the offense this season. Hill was technically TE9 last season, while only garnering nine catches on 13 targets. (Yes, you read that right). That's because he rushed nearly 100 times for 575 yards and seven TDs.

If your fantasy league allows Hill to be listed and started as a TE he could be a valuable fantasy asset for teams not rostering TE studs like Travis Kelce, George Kittle and T.J. Hockenson. Hill in my eyes is a weekly boom/bust TE. I value consistency more so for me though, I'll be targeting Juwan Johnson. I think he will have a higher floor weekly and won't have an expensive ADP relative to his production. 

Final Verdict

The New Orleans Saints upgraded at QB, invested in running back depth and are getting back ALL-Pro WR Michael Thomas from injury. Derek Carr should have no trouble supporting a top-five WR in either Thomas or Olave. Kamara if avoiding suspension can again be a top-10 fantasy RB, and if not, goal-line guru Jamaal Williams is a nice RB2/3 target in later rounds of drafts.

Derek Carr should even be able to support a top-10 fantasy TE if all goes well down in the bayou.

For more Saints related content and fantasy advice in general follow the Fantasy on Tap podcast. You can find the pod on the Fantasy Six Pack youtube channel. WHO DAT!

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