Shark Bites

ESPN's Mike Triplett calls Mark Ingram the "most impressive" RB in Saints camp so far. He's looked especially good in the passing game. Triplett projects Ingram to lead a backfield that also includes Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara in both snaps and total yards. The crowded backfield caps his upside a bit, but Ingram is still plenty capable of beating his recent RB24 price tag.

The Saints this week placed DT Nick Fairley on the non-football injury/illness list. That deactivates him for the 2017 season, and he's likely done for good, according to the Times-Picayune. Doctors diagnosed Fairly with a heart condition this offseason, and the team reportedly sought out multiple opinions before making the move. It's a particularly unfortunate scenario considering that Fairley had just earned a big new contract after a bounce-back 2016. For fantasy purposes, it at least becomes easier to envision a worthwhile role for 2nd-year DT Sheldon Rankins.

Saints LT Terron Armstead suffered a torn shoulder labrum Wednesday that will require surgery. According to ESPN, he's expected to miss 4-6 months. The short end of that span would make Armstead available in mid-October, but it's tough to imagine his upper-body strength being ready for the rigors of NFL blocking right away. New Orleans will have to approach the season as though it won't have it's star LT. That's obviously a significant blow to Drew Brees' pass protection and a challenge for the Saints' running game. We're not downgrading their fantasy prospects at this point, because New Orleans has delivered big offensive numbers for so long under Brees and HC Sean Payton. But losing Armstead adds downside risk and could be a tie-breaker if you're weighing Mark Ingram or Adrian Peterson against the next guy on your fantasy football draft list.

Saints QB Drew Brees likes what he's seen from WR Ted Ginn so far. "I could not be more impressed with him," Brees said after Thursday's practice. "He certainly doesn't look like he's lost a step. He can fly." Ginn made multiple big plays in the practice, according to ESPN's Mike Triplett. These pad-less OTA workouts don't mean much, but it's nice to see Ginn building chemistry with his QB. Even as the #3 WR, he could be a fantasy factor in the Saints' high-powered passing attack this season.

The New Orleans Time-Picayune's Larry Holder expects the Saints to deploy a "3-headed monster" in the backfield this season. He points to the team's 2009 and 2011 backfields as blueprints. In 2009, Mike Bell led the team with 172 carries but caught just 4 balls. Pierre Thomas was next in line with 147 carries and 39 catches. Reggie Bush carried 70 times and hauled in 47 passes. In 2011, Mark Ingram was the lead ball carrier with 122 totes. He caught just 11 passes. Thomas again contributed in both facets, with 110 carries and 50 catches. Ditto with Darren Sproles, who carried 87 times and caught 86 balls. Holder pegs rookie Alvin Kamara for the Bush/Sproles pass-catching role. That'd presumably leave Ingram as Pierre Thomas as Adrian Peterson as Mike Bell/Mark Ingram. The actual touch distribution won't precisely match either of those past backfields. But the takeaway is that all 3 guys could have significant roles. That'd turn it into a fantasy football headache.

The Saints grabbed Florida Atlantic DE Trey Hendrickson in Round 3 of the NFL Draft on Friday night. Hendrickson racked up 23 sacks and 30 total tackles for loss over his final 2 college seasons and then delivered strong testing numbers at the Combine. His 4.65-second 40-yard dash produced the position's 3rd-best speed score (behind only Jordan Willis and Myles Garrett). Hendrickson also rated 81st percentile or better in the broad jump, 3-cone drill, and short and long shuttle. Hendrickson should be a DE in New Orleans' primarily 4-3 front. That would put him on an ascending line with Cameron Jordan, Nick Fairley and 2016 first-rounder Sheldon Rankins. There's nice upside to Hendrickson for dynasty IDP leagues.

The Saints added Alvin Kamara to the backfield with the 67th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. Kamara is a tough case to crack. He flashes elite burst and change-of-direction on tape and tested as an 83rd percentile athlete among RBs. But he totaled just 210 carries in 2 seasons at Tennessee after transferring from Alabama. His time at Tuscaloosa included a knee injury and a suspension for “behavioral reasons.” Kamara also suffered a sprained left LCL and meniscus this past year. He looks like a boom/bust prospect as a runner but should at least contribute in the passing game after totaling 74 catches for 683 yards (9.2 yards per catch) and 7 TDs over the last 2 years. That’ll be his only shot to make an impact in 2017 in a backfield with Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. Ingram is signed for just 2 more years, though, and Peterson is 32 years old. Kamara definitely has a shot to develop into the Saints’ lead back of the future, making him an intriguing dynasty pick.

The Saints spent a 2nd-round pick on Utah S Marcus Williams. He's probably not headed for an immediate starting role but should fight for one as soon as 2018. Williams grabbed 5 INTs in each of his final 2 college seasons and looks like more of a big-play league option than he is for IDP formats that lean more heavily on tackles.

The Saints spent the 11th overall pick on Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore. The Buckeyes corner lost 21 games across 2014 and 2015 to hamstring injuries. That left us with little to go on as we try to project fantasy numbers in the pros. Don't expect Lattimore to show up in draft range in our rookie or redraft rankings. We'll see what he can do in season.

The Saints and RB Adrian Peterson have agreed to terms. It's officially a 2-year, $7 million deal, but it'll play out like a 1-year contract with a team option for 2018. Peterson gets $3.5 million guaranteed this year, but none of the remaining $3.5 million is guaranteed for 2018. The contract -- and how long it took him to get 1 -- tells us how the league views AP at this point. He's a 32-year-old RB with over 2,600 career touches and a lengthy injury history. Saints insider Nick Underhill fully expects Mark Ingram to remain New Orleans' lead back, with Peterson as the backup. So he'll essentially be replacing Tim Hightower, who tallied 133 carries and 22 catches last year. Those 155 touches are a good initial projection for Peterson. He'll likely settle into RB3 range in our 2017 rankings -- albeit with TD upside. Ingram's stock takes a hit, but he could still average somewhere around the 14.6 carries per game he has over the past 3 seasons. And his pass-catching role should remain.

The Eagles have released QB Chase Daniel. Signed to a 3-year, $21 million deal last offseason, Daniel attempted exactly 1 pass in his illustrious Philly career. He figures to land a backup job elsewhere relatively soon. The Eagles, meanwhile, brought back QB Nick Foles on a 2-year, $11 million deal to back up Carson Wentz.

ESPN's Dianna Russini reports that WR Ted Ginn has reached a deal with the Saints. Ginn enjoyed his 2 most productive fantasy seasons over the past 2 years after returning to the Panthers. He has also posted his 3 largest season TD totals with Carolina, while struggling for even mild relevance elsewhere. Ginn will turn 32 in April and likely isn't headed for big target volume in New Orleans. But if the Saints finalize a Brandin Cooks trade, then more targets will come available. And it's hard to find a more efficient spot than catching passes from Drew Brees. Playing in New Orleans will make Ginn more relevant to fantasy football owners than just about any other spot. He'll belong in the double-digit rounds of fantasy drafts, though. We'll see how all the pieces settle around him.

The Vikings announced on Tuesday that they won't exercise the 2017 option on RB Adrian Peterson's contract, making him a free agent. That option would have paid AP $18 million this year, so this was a no-brainer move. But GM Rick Spielman suggested that the team is open to bringing Peterson back at a reduced rate. “We will continue to have conversations with his representatives and leave our future options open while determining what is best for both parties moving forward," Spielman said. We'll see how the open market treats AP. He turns 32 in March, has amassed over 2,400 NFL carries and averaged 1.9 yards on his 37 attempts last year.

Saints LBs Craig Robertson (shoulder) and Dannell Ellerbe (foot) are active for Sunday's game against the Falcons. Both have played through "questionable" tags in multiple weeks and are OK for normal use but low-floor IDP options.

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (groin, knee) is out for Sunday’s finale against the Bears. The 31-year-old finishes the season with an ugly 1.9 yards per carry across just 3 appearances. His days in Minnesota are numbered unless he agrees to a massive pay cut this offseason. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata will handle backfield duties for the Vikings this weekend.

Saints LB Dannell Ellerbe (foot) and LB Craig Robertson (shoulder) are active for today's game against the Buccaneers. Both entered the weekend questionable but should be fine to use if you had planned to do so.

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (knee, groin) has been ruled out for Saturday’s game against the Packers. It sounds like the groin is a bigger issue than the knee. So Minnesota will again turn to Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata in the backfield. McKinnon has quietly caught 23 balls over his last 4 games and is a RB3 or flex option in PPR leagues.

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (knee) didn't practice on Wednesday and admitted afterward that he's uncertain for Saturday's game against the Packers. "I'm taking it day by day," he said. AP managed just 23 yards on 7 touches in his return last weekend. He's now averaging 1.9 yards per carry for the season. Minnesota's offense is better without Peterson right now. Jerick McKinnon will be in the RB3 mix if AP doesn't play on Saturday.

Saints LB Craig Robertson (shoulder) is active for today's game against the Cardinals. He's fine to get back into IDP lineups after a game away.

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is officially active for today’s game against the Colts. He’s back exactly 3 months after tearing his meniscus. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported this morning that AP won’t be on a snap count but won’t be run into the ground. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said it’ll be a “3-RB rotation” with AP, Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata. Peterson is no better than a RB3 or flex for Week 15.

 
 
 

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