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2024 Player Outlooks: New Orleans Saints

By Michael O'Hara | 7/6/24 |

QB Derek Carr
(2023 QB Rank – No.22, 14.7 FPts/G)

A lack of success in New Orleans has led to Derek Carr becoming one of the NFL’s most highly criticized quarterbacks. This is especially true in fantasy football circles, as he hardly finished as a QB2 in FPts/G during his first season with the Saints.

Carr is not much of a fantasy asset as he offers very little on the ground (zero rushing TDs the last three years). He has spent most of his career as a middling QB2 and will likely continue this trend in 2024. However, he does provide value due to the offensive environment he can create.

Carr has consistently supported top-ten fantasy wide receivers. Amari Cooper, Davante Adams, and Hunter Renfrow (yes, Hunter Renfrow) all had seasons as the WR10 or better with Carr under center. He also captained a highly underrated Saints offense in 2023. New Orleans ranked 9th in scoring offense last season, beating out teams like the Packers, Texans, and Chiefs.

Carr should not be circled on anyone’s rankings sheets heading into drafts, but there is reason to be optimistic for him as a bye-week filler given the offensive weapons around him.

RB Alvin Kamara
(2023 RB Rank – No.3, 17.9 FPts/G)

Alvin Kamara is one player who highly benefits from Derek Carr’s presence in New Orleans. Carr’s little-known alter ego as Captain Checkdown pairs perfectly with Kamara’s pass-catching abilities out of the backfield. We saw this in full force last season. Kamara led all RBs in targets per game with 6.6.

The fantasy community is concerned with Kamara’s age and declining efficiency. However, there is still reason to believe that Kamara can be a valuable asset in PPR leagues as there is little competition in New Orleans for Kamara’s underneath targets. Top receivers Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed have historically had high aDOTs and Jamaal Williams has 36 total targets the last two seasons.

Even if Kamara ends up splitting rushing work with Kendre Miller and gets vultured at the goaline on occasion by Taysom Hill, his usage as a receiver could easily make up the difference to return value on his RB18 price tag.

RB Kendre Miller
(2023 RB Rank – No.60, 5.4 FPts/G)

A slew of injuries prevented Kendre Miller from ever finding a groove during his rookie season (41 rush attempts). Heading into his sophomore season, the Alvin Kamara skeptics believe Miller will play a meaningful role.

This is a somewhat reasonable expectation given Kamara’s age and struggles as a rusher. However, the talent and capabilities of Miller are largely unknown. He only appeared in eight games last season and cracked a 20 percent snap share just twice. He was impactful in both of those contests, finishing as a weekly RB2 in both.

The question comes down to how new OC Klint Kubiak views this running back tandem and whether or not he can beat out veteran Jamaal Williams for the No.2 running back job in camp. There is certainly an outcome where Miller is once again kept in a highly limited role. But with Kamara approaching the age cliff, taking a shot on Miller as a flier is fine if you believe Kamara is over the hill.

Chris Olave

WR Chris Olave
(2023 WR Rank – No.19, 14.5 FPts/G)

Through two seasons, Chris Olave has displayed the traits and had the peripheral metrics of someone who can be an elite fantasy option. Unfortunately, Olave hasn’t been able to put all the pieces together thus far.

Last season, he proved to be a target earner and saw the high-value targets that lead to fantasy production. He ranked 17th in target share, 12th in total targets, 6th in air yards, and 4th in deep targets.

There is hope that Olave will be in line to see a larger number of “layup targets” that bump his catch rate in Kubiak’s offense. Easy receptions are likely the key to unlocking Olave and pushing him into the upper tier of fantasy receivers along with more trips to the endzone. Olave has just 9 TDs over his first two seasons.

Given his age, performance through two seasons, and position as the clear top option in New Orleans, betting on Olave to put it all together in year three is a good idea. He’s a solid WR2 in most formats with WR1 upside.

WR Rashid Shaheed
(2023 WR Rank – No.45, 10.4 FPts/G)

Rashid Shaheed is another Saints wideout entering year three of his NFL career. To this point, Shaheed has been a downfield burner known for his big play ability. He effectively utilized his speed last season, often connecting with Derek Carr for long touchdowns. These splash plays resulted in five games with 15-plus fantasy points.

Heading into 2024, Shaheed is an attractive upside pick given the expectation that he will play a full-time role in the Saints offense. In 10 games as a full-time player (80+ percent snap share), he has averaged 12.1 FPts/G on an 18 percent target share and 28 percent air yards share.

Shaheed has shown flashes of true talent while playing in a limited role. He will by no means be an elite fantasy option due to his role as a deep threat. But with more snaps and big play ability, he is the type of player who can win you a matchup in any given week.

TE Juwan Johnson
(2023 TE Rank – No.18, 7.5 FPts/G)

Early in the offseason, Johnson was regarded as a popular late-round option at tight end. The departure of Michael Thomas would allow Johnson to compete for short and intermediate targets. TD vulture Jimmy Graham has also left town, allowing Johnson to play a bigger role in the red zone.

These hopes were quickly brought into question after Johnson suffered a foot injury during minicamp in June. As of now, Johnson is expected to be available for Week 1 but there is no guarantee on this timeline or his effectiveness upon return.

This will be a situation to monitor throughout the offseason. If reports indicate that Johnson is progressing well and will be good to go for Week 1, he once again becomes an interesting selection late in drafts. But if a setback occurs, there are likely better TE options that do not have the same risks.

TE Taysom Hill
(2023 TE Rank – No.15, 9.0 FPts/G)

As always, Taysom Hill provides one of the most unique fantasy outlooks in the entire NFL. It should be noted that Hill only provides any sort of value on platforms where he is classified as a TE. If he must be played as a QB, Hill is not worth any consideration.

The offseason ritual of reports about Hill’s usage are already in full swing. Beat reporters are already talking about how Taysom has been lining up all over the formation in a variety of packages. While these reports make for mildly interesting content to fill off-season news feeds, they don’t help us much as fantasy players.

Hill’s value in fantasy football is fully driven by his red zone usage and ability to find the end zone. In weeks where he does not score, he is often worthless. However, Hill is no stranger to the endzone, scoring six times in 2023. This resulted in Hill being a weekly TE1 in 50 percent of games last season.

Ultimately, Hill is nothing more than a bye-week fill-in or emergency option if your starter is injured. It is incredibly difficult to predict when he will score and if he doesn’t score, he will be a liability in your lineup.

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