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New Orleans Saints Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2022

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Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle) posted video of himself running routes on Friday. Thomas didn't participate in any of New Orleans' offseason program, but HC Dennis Allen said back in May that he expects Thomas to be ready for the start of training camp. His health will be 1 of the biggest fantasy storylines of August. Thomas has gone in the early 8th round of recent FFPC best-ball drafts.

Pro Football Talk hears that Saints RB Alvin Kamara is "bracing for a suspension of at least six weeks." Kamara is facing felony battery charges for a fight he was allegedly involved in over Pro Bowl weekend in Vegas. His next hearing isn't scheduled until August, though, and it's unclear how long the legal process will take beyond that. The NFL usually waits for that process to play out before making its own ruling. So, even if Kamara is eventually suspended, it might not come this season. Until this situation is resolved, Kamara is a risk/reward fantasy pick. He's going in the late 2nd round of recent FFPC drafts.

ESPN’s Mike Triplett writes that WR Chris Olave “has looked the part” through minicamp practices. Triplet points out the rookie’s “fluid route-running” and “big-play ability.” That certainly backs up Olave’s tape at Ohio State. He’s simply not coming at a major discount in drafts, as his FFPC ADP currently sits in Round 10/11. Michael Thomas’ ability to get close to pre-injury form will be key for Olave’s 2022 upside.

Saints DE Marcus Davenport is enduring "a particularly rough offseason health-wise," according to Katherine Terrell of The Athletic. The 5th-year edge player has had 2 surgeries for his injured right shoulder and 3 on his left pinky. The finger injury dates back to college, with the most recent setback being an infection developing after he broke a plate previously inserted into the finger. Davenport says the digit is down to a "nub." The combo of operations have kept Davenport out of workouts this offseason, and it's not yet clear whether he'll start training camp on time. "Training camp would be the goal," HC Dennis Allen said recently. "We've just got to wait and see where he's at." Davenport is in the final year of his rookie contract and coming off a career-high 9 sacks in just 11 games. If he can get all the way back far enough ahead of Week 1, there's plenty of upside. But Davenport also has yet to play more than 13 games in a season. So we'll be tempering expectations.

Saints QB Jameis Winston has yet to be cleared for 11-on-11 workouts, according to the team website. Winston has been seen on the field in OTAs but is awaiting that final clearance to practice in full. We'd expect it to come at least by some early point in training camp but will keep an eye on the situation. Andy Dalton has run the starting offense in Winston's absence this week.

Saints K Wil Lutz was cleared early this week to return to action and hit the practice field Wednesday for the 1st time in 10 months, according to the team website. Lutz missed all of last season with a core-muscle injury that required surgery. We'll watch for setbacks, but he should be ready to reclaim the New Orleans kicking job.

Saints HC Dennis Allen said WR Michael Thomas is making "significant progress" in his recovery from his lingering ankle injury. “I’m good with where Mike Thomas is,” Allen said. “I would much rather him be 100 percent healthy and out here and all those kinds of things, but that’s not where we’re at right now. He is busting his tail to get himself ready to go, and I feel like he’s making significant progress. I think mentally he’s in a great place and, again, we’re just going to let that process play out and get him healthy. And look, we have a long time to go before we play a game. … I’m not looking for a huge jump, I just want to see him keep getting a little better every day.” Thomas won't participate in this week's minicamp, though, and we still have no timetable for his return to the field. He's a risky fantasy pick until we know that the ankle issue is behind him.

Saints QB Jameis Winston was on the field with his team at OTAs this week. Katherine Terrell of The Athletic noted that he wore a "bulky" brace and sported a limp that "seemed more prominent when walking versus running." Neither of those things should be surprising for a player coming off an ACL repair, and it's obviously good that Winston was even taking part in the voluntary workouts. The QB said, though, that overcoming the ACL tear hasn't been the biggest challenge in this process. “The biggest thing about my specific injury was the meniscus,” he said. “It wasn’t the ACL and MCL. The MCL actually healed on its own before surgery and the ACL, Dr. Neal ElAttrache did a phenomenal job. … It was a pretty simple procedure. But the meniscus repair has been the biggest limiter for me right now, in terms of moving, rolling out, in terms of certain movements that I’m not able to do just because of the timetable of the recovery. But my ACL is very stable, my MCL is very stable. Right now I’m building around and fighting with the meniscus.” Again, the fact that Winston is on the field at all this early keeps us from worrying too much. But his progression through summer will certainly be worth tracking.

Per NFL insider Albert Breer, Saints QB Jameis Winston is nearing full clearance from his October ACL tear. Winston will meet with surgeon Neal S. ElAttrache around the end of next month. “End of June is when I’ll be fully cleared,” Winston announced. “Camp, I’ll be full go.” With Michael Thomas, Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry as top targets, Winston could supply some spot-start value this fall.

Saints QB Jameis Winston was a limited participant in OTAs this week, according to The Athletic's Katherine Terrell. Winston took part in individual drills, 7-on-7s and some 11-on-11s but was sporting a "bulky" brace and had a noticeable limp, per Terrell. Winston just resumed running earlier this month after last October's season-ending left knee injury. “The biggest thing about my specific injury was the meniscus,” Winston told reporters. “It wasn’t the ACL and MCL. The MCL actually healed on its own before surgery and the ACL, Dr. Neal ElAttrache did a phenomenal job. … It was a pretty simple procedure. But the meniscus repair has been the biggest limiter for me right now, in terms of moving, rolling out, in terms of certain movements that I’m not able to do just because of the timetable of the recovery. But my ACL is very stable, my MCL is very stable. Right now I’m building around and fighting with the meniscus.” The fact that Winston was on the field at all in May is a positive sign. We're expecting him to be under center for the Saints come Week 1.

Saints HC Dennis Allen told reporters Thursday that WR Michael Thomas "isn't ready yet," according to John Hendrix of Allen added that he expects to have Thomas back in time for training camp. That kind of report on a veteran this time of year is often not a big deal, but Thomas missed all of last season with an ankle injury that dates all the way back to Week 1 of 2020. So we'll consider him high risk at least until he's back on the field -- and probably even after that.

Saints HC Dennis Allen gave his evaluation of RB Abram Smith during rookie minicamp. “Tough, smart, competitive, really good special teams value,” Allen said. “I think any time you’re looking at an undrafted free agent, the first thing you’re looking at is, No. 1, how does he make the team? And then No. 2, does he have the ability to be active on gameday? And for a young player, the best chance you have to be active on gameday is to contribute on special teams. And so, that was an area we felt like he was really good at.” A projected late round pick, Smith went undrafted — perhaps due to 2 past ACL tears (2014 and 2017). New Orleans supposedly had better than a UDFA grade on the Baylor product. With the Saints, Smith has a decent shot at earning a roster spot — especially with Alvin Kamara's status in limbo.

The Saints are signing WR Jarvis Landry, according to insider Jordan Schultz. No word yet on the terms of the deal. Landry, who's from Louisiana and played college ball at LSU, returns home to join WRs Michael Thomas and 1st-round rookie Chris Olave. All 3 guys are position-versatile and figure to move around the formation. But, in what projects as a run-leaning offense with questionable QB play, it's not an exciting spot for Landry's 2022 fantasy value. The 29-year-old is coming off an injury-riddled 2021 season that saw him post a 52-570-2 line across 12 games.

New Saints HC Dennis Allen confirmed that QB Jameis Winston is on track to start Week 1. Recall that Winston suffered a torn ACL in Week 8 of last season. "Well, certainly that's certainly the plan," Allen said. "There's a lot of days between now and Week 1, but we certainly like where he's at right now. We like the progress that he's making. Man, I really loved a lot of the things that he did last year for us -- 14 touchdowns, three interceptions. There was just some really good stuff that you see. And my vision and my hope is that he continues to progress on the same level as he gets another year in the system." New Orleans passed on adding a QB in the draft. Instead, they bolstered the offense with WR Chris Olave and OT Trevor Penning. Winston, for now, profiles as a clear QB2 with spot-start potential.

Saints HC Dennis Allen said Friday that WR Michael Thomas is still working his way back from the ankle issue that cost him the entire 2021 season. "There's still a few hurdles that we've got to climb," Allen said, adding it's his "hope" that Thomas is ready for Week 1. Thomas suffered 2 separate injuries to that left ankle. He had 1 surgery last June and and might have had a 2nd in the wintertime. It's concerning not only that he's still rehabbing, but that Allen wouldn't even commit to him being ready for the start of the season. We'll continue to keep a close eye on the situation.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Saints are expected to sign S Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu spent the past 3 years with the Chiefs, collecting 13 INTs across 47 regular-season games. Assuming the move comes to fruition, he'll join fellow offseason signee Marcus Maye as the starting safeties in New Orleans. A stat profile that leans more on turnovers than tackles generally keeps Mathieu from being a DB1-level fantasy option.

The Saints traded up to grab Ohio State WR Chris Olave with the 11th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. Olave broke out as a sophomore, leading that 2019 Buckeyes squad with 840 yards and 12 TDs – ahead of redshirt senior K.J. Hill and freshman Garrett Wilson. Olave was even better in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, averaging 7.1 catches, 104.1 yards and 1 TD across 7 games (all team highs). He ranked top 12 in the nation in both Pro Football Focus receiving grade and yards per route run. Olave made a somewhat surprising decision to return for his senior season last year and saw his production take a step back. He averaged 5.4 catches, 78 yards and 1.1 TDs per game, finishing 2nd on the team in TDs per game behind Wilson and 3rd in catches and yards per game behind Wilson and sophomore Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who’s widely expected to be a 1st-round pick next year. Olave set 3-year lows in PFF receiving grade and yards per route run. The 2021 campaign is slightly concerning, but his overall production profile remains strong. Olave’s tape shows a dangerous downfield weapon with 4.39-second speed and excellent ball-tracking skills. He’s also a refined route runner, making Olave arguably the most NFL-ready WR in this class. On the downside, Olave is just 187 pounds and offers nearly nothing after the catch. He looks to us like a #2 WR in the NFL. That’s what he figures to be at least in the short term in New Orleans behind Michael Thomas.

Saints RB Alvin Kamara had been due for a hearing Monday in the battery case against him, but that has been pushed to Aug. 1. The decision came after lawyers for Kamara and other defendants said they needed more time to review evidence, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The delayed timeline for the case likely helps Kamara's chances of opening the regular season on time. The NFL is notoriously slow to react with discipline in criminal cases, and even this scheduled date is just for a hearing. The uncertainty with Kamara has pushed him at least well into Round 2 of early best-ball drafting, and often even into Round 3. He's a high-upside target in that range.

Saints S Malcolm Jenkins has announced he's retiring after a 13-year career that took him from New Orleans to Philadelphia and back. His departure means the Saints will hit 2022 without either of the safeties who started for them last season. (Marcus Williams left for Baltimore in free agency.) New Orleans has signed S Marcus Maye to a multi-year deal and S Daniel Sorensen for 1 year. As it stands, that could be the starting duo to open 2022, with slot CB C.J. Gardner-Johnson a candidate to compete with Sorensen. We'll see whether free agency or the draft adds competition.

The Saints signed QB Andy Dalton to a 1-year deal. It contains $3 million in guaranteed money and can be worth "up to" $6 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That's backup money, which is what Dalton figures to be behind Jameis Winston in New Orleans. The signing will allow Taysom Hill to focus on TE, as HC Dennis Allen said he would earlier today.

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