Shark Bites

The Saints on Wednesday agreed to a deal with RB Terrance West, according to NFL.com’s Herbie Teope. The move followed a tryout that reportedly included multiple veteran backs — plus DeMarco Murray declining an invitation. West has averaged a mere 3.9 yards per carry career and appeared in just 5 games last season for a Ravens offense seeking backfield answers. New Orleans clearly felt the need to tap a veteran to help fill the early Mark Ingram void. We’ll see if West can work his way into fantasy relevance. If nothing else, he’s in the right place for it.

Saints HC Sean Payton told NOLA.com this week that WR Cameron Meredith is ahead of schedule in his return from last year's left ACL tear. That's often said of recovering players, but Meredith showed off his progress by taking part in OTA workouts. The Saints gave him $9.5 million on a 2-year contract as a restricted free agent and could turn Meredith into their #2 WR in targets as soon as this year -- if he can avoid setbacks.

Saints RB Mark Ingram has been suspended 4 games for violating the NFL’s PED policy. Entering a contract year, Ingram now won’t debut until Week 5 vs. Washington. Alvin Kamara’s clearly the winner here, but we’ll see how much more of a rushing role the Saints hand him. As a rookie, he tallied 81 catches but never topped 12 carries in a game. Either way, he’ll bring a ton of upside in all formats. Meanwhile, Jonathan Williams projects as the new #2, although he’ll surely face competition. New Orleans spent a 6th rounder on Louisiana Tech RB Boston Scott.

The Saints added Central Florida WR Tre'Quan Smith in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. This guy was one of our favorite sleepers in the WR class and lands in an intriguing spot. Smith led Central Florida in catches, yards and TDs in all 3 seasons there and tested as a 65th percentile athlete at the Combine. On film, he's one of the best contested-catch WRs in the class with his 6'2, 210-pound frame, 37.5-inch vertical and 87th percentile arm length. Per Pro Football Focus, Smith led all WRs in this draft class with 9 TDs on passes 20+ yards downfield last year. He'll battle Cameron Meredith and Ted Ginn for targets behind Michael Thomas this year and won't be more than a late-round flier in redraft leagues. But we like this landing spot long-term with offensive mastermind Sean Payton.

The Saints gave up next year's 1st-round pick to move up from 27th to 14th in Round 1 of the NFL Draft to take DE Marcus Davenport. The UT-San Antonio pass rusher tallied 15 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss over the past 2 season. He then posted the 3rd-best speed score in this edge class. Davenport will present lots of IDP upside in sack- and pressure-friendly fantasy football leagues.

The Bears have declined to match the Saints' offer to WR Cameron Meredith. So he'll head to New Orleans on a 2-year, $9.6 million deal. Meredith is rehabbing from a late-August torn ACL and MCL but flashed back in 2016 with a 66-888-4 line. He's still just 25 and owns a 74th percentile SPARQ score. He should at least settle in as the Saints' #3 WR and could even push Ted Ginn for 2nd on the team in targets behind Michael Thomas.

WR Cameron Meredith has signed a 2-year, $10 million offer sheet with the Saints, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Bears tendered the restricted free agent at the original-round level. That means New Orleans will owe Chicago no compensation, but the Bears get a chance to match the offer. Meredith missed all of last season after tearing his left ACL and MCL, so we'll need to watch his progress this offseason and see exactly when he's ready for full practice. If Meredith's good to go in plenty of time, he'll be in an interesting situation. New Orleans has been a passing-game party for most of Drew Brees' time there, but only Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara topped 70 targets among Saints last year. Ted Ginn drew 70 to rank 3rd on the team and 2nd among Saints WRs. A healthy Meredith could challenge Ginn's status as the #2 WR and approach Willie Snead's 2016 role. We would bet on a bit more passing from the Saints this year, though also not a total swing back from the 2017 rushing emphasis. Meredith makes for an upside late-round pick in best-ball drafts right now. His arrival adds a bit of risk to Ginn but certainly doesn't kill his value.

The Saints have signed TE Ben Watson to a 1-year deal. The 37-year-old made an impressive return last season from a torn Achilles, hauling in 61 of 79 targets (77.2% catch rate). He averaged just 8.6 yards per catch, though, and doesn't offer much playmaking ability at this point. It's certainly worth noting that Watson has plenty of experience with HC Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees, spending 2013 to 2015 in New Orleans. His arrival could spell the end of TE Coby Fleener's time with the Saints. That'd leave the team with Watson and Josh Hill. We'll see if they add to the position in the draft, but whoever the Saints deploy as their lead pass-catching TE will have some fantasy appeal.

The Saints and QB Drew Brees have agreed to a 2-year, $50 million contract with $27 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network. This deal took a bit longer than expected to materialize, but Brees was never leaving New Orleans. While his 10th-place fantasy finish this past season was his worst as a Saint, Brees remained as effective as ever. He set a career high with a 72.0% completion rate, averaged 8.1 yards per attempt and tossed 23 TDs vs. just 8 INTs. His fantasy ceiling has been capped in New Orleans' RB-centric offense, but Brees will remain 1 of the safest QB1 bets in 2018 fantasy drafts.

Saints WR Brandon Coleman (neck) is out for Sunday's playoff game against the Vikings. He played 50% of New Orleans' offensive snaps and hauled in 4 of 5 targets last week. His absence pushes Willie Snead into #3 WR duties.

Panthers S Kurt Coleman has put in 2 full practices this week after sitting out Week 17 with an ankle injury. That should mean he's ready for full duty in Sunday's playoff game against the Saints. We've added him to the playoff IDP rankings -- though Coleman remains a weak option, given that we don't expect Carolina to make it past Round 1.

Panthers S Kurt Coleman (ankle) is inactive for today’s game against the Falcons

Panthers S Kurt Coleman (ankle) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Falcons. He put in limited practices Thursday and Friday after sitting out Wednesday. The 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff makes it tougher to wait on Coleman, so you might need to go a different direction in your IDP lineup. We'll confirm his status around 3 p.m. ET when the late-game inactives come out.

Saints WR Michael Thomas (hamstring) was limited in practice all week but isn’t listed on the final injury report. He’ll play against the Bucs on Sunday and should be closer to 100% than he was last week. Thomas remains a must-start in season-long leagues.

Saints WR Michael Thomas (hamstring) was limited in Wednesday's practice. The fact that he was out there at all early in the week is a good sign, but Thomas will be a risky Week 17 fantasy play if we don't see him get in a full practice on Thursday or Friday. He set season lows in targets (5) and snap rate (62.5%) last weekend.

11:12am EST 12/24/17

Saints WR Michael Thomas (hamstring) is active for today’s game against the Falcons. He was added to the injury report on Saturday and was reportedly a game-time decision. It adds risk to his Week 16 outlook, but Thomas would be awfully tough to sit in season-long fantasy leagues.

Saints WR Michael Thomas is "considered 50/50 to play" against the Falcons today, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Thomas will test out his ailing hamstring before the 1 p.m. ET start, and then the team will decide his status. The situation obviously adds risk even if Thomas is active. Weigh that against your replacement option once the inactives arrive at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Saints WR Michael Thomas was added to the injury report on Saturday as questionable with a hamstring. We don't have any other details on the situation. The good news is that we'll find out Thomas' status by noon ET tomorrow. If active, he'll remain a must-start in season-long fantasy leagues.

Saints WR Ted Ginn (ribs) isn’t listed on the final Week 16 injury report. He’ll return for Sunday’s game against Atlanta but isn’t a great fantasy option. The Falcons have allowed a league-low 2 pass plays of 40+ yards this season.

6:12pm EST 12/19/17

The Saints on Tuesday placed LB A.J. Klein on IR with the groin injury that cost him the past 2 games. That should continue to leave a starting gig for Manti Te'o, who played 100% of the snaps in Sunday's win over the Jets.

 
 
 

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