Saints TE Jared Cook has been better than the team expected, according to ESPN's Mike Triplett. HC Sean Payton has praised Cook's hands, catch radius, yards-after-catch ability and work ethic. “Anytime you’re in free agency, you gather as much information as you can. And then when the player arrives, there’s certain things you weren’t aware of that are good and maybe sometimes weren’t so good. In his case, it’s all positive,” Payton said. “He’s a tremendous worker, dedicated, I think someone who’s a true pro in every sense of the word. And I think he’s been a really good addition for us.” TEs coach Dan Campbell added that Cook and QB Drew Brees have quickly built a strong rapport. With question marks at WR behind Michael Thomas, there's room for Cook to finish 3rd on the 2019 Saints in targets (behind Thomas and RB Alvin Kamara).
Saints HC Sean Payton said RB Alvin Kamara's usage won't change this season, despite the loss of RB Mark Ingram. “It will be similar to what we’ve been seeing,” Payton said. “We’ve been pleased with the balance we’ve had with him. We think it’s been a good count.” Kamara averaged 22.8 touches per game over the first 4 weeks of last season with Ingram suspended. That sunk to 17.2 touches per game over his final 13 outings, including the playoffs. It sounds like we should expect something around that latter mark in 2019. Of course, Kamara still ranked 5th among RBs in PPR and non-PPR points from Week 5 to 16 with Ingram in the mix. He remains a locked-in top 4 draft pick across fantasy formats. The other fantasy takeaway here is that free-agent addition Latavius Murray should see something similar to the 13.4 touches per game Ingram averaged alongside Kamara last year. That'd be enough to make Murray at least a weekly RB3/flex option.
The Saints and WR Michael Thomas have agreed to a 5-year, $100 million extension that makes him the league's highest-paid WR. He gets $61 million guaranteed, which is the most in NFL history for a non-QB. Thomas will end his brief holdout and is safe to target in the late 1st or early 2nd round of fantasy drafts. He's finished 7th, 6th and 6th among WRs in PPR points through 3 NFL seasons.
Saints WR Michael Thomas did not report for the start of training camp on Thursday as he angles for a new contract. He's set to make just $1.15 million in the final year of his rookie contract. The 2 sides have been negotiating for a while, but Thomas is reportedly looking for $20+ million per season. Odell Beckham is currently the league's highest-paid WR with an average annual salary of $18 million. We'll see how long this standoff lasts.
The Saints have signed RB Buck Allen. The 27-year-old mustered just 3.7 yards per carry across 4 seasons in Baltimore. He was better in the passing game, tallying 35+ catches in 3 different campaigns. But he averaged just 6.3 yards per catch, failing to reach even 5.7 in each of the last 3 years. Allen figures to battle RBs Dwayne Washington and Devine Ozigbo for a roster spot in New Orleans. And if he makes the team, he'd need an injury to Alvin Kamara or Latavius Murray to have a shot at fantasy value.
The Saints are set to sign TE Jared Cook, according to NFL Network. No word yet on the terms of the deal. Cook is coming off the most productive season of his career, posting a 68-896-6 line in Oakland and finishing 5th among TEs in PPR points. He might not see another 101 targets this year behind target hog Michael Thomas in what's become a run-heavy Saints offense. But Cook could be even more efficient with his targets going from Derek Carr to Drew Brees. He looks like a rock-solid TE1 with top-5 upside.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Saints have agreed to a 4-year, $14.4 million deal with RB Latavius Murray. That positions him as the replacement for Mark Ingram, who will also hit unrestricted free agency Wednesday. Murray sports a similar skill set and should present a fantasy outlook similar to Ingram's. Of course, Ingram's inconsistent workload was the frustrating thing for fantasy owners. As long as his ADP remains modest, however, Murray will make sense as an RB3 or even an RB4 in fantasy football drafts.
QB Teddy Bridgewater is set to re-sign with the Saints, despite receiving a more lucrative offer from the Dolphins, according to NFL Network's Jane Slater. "I’m told Bridgewater values the locker room culture and prospect of one day becoming the Saints starting QB," Slater adds. With Drew Brees now 40, Bridgewater's shot shouldn't be too far away. He remains a nice stash in dynasty leagues.
Saints WR Keith Kirkwood (calf) is inactive for today's NFC Championship game against the Rams. He played 69% of the offensive snaps last week -- 2nd most among New Orleans WRs. So his absence should mean more playing time for Ted Ginn and especially Tre'Quan Smith. Ginn remains the better fantasy bet, but Smith is an intriguing DFS flier.
QB Drew Brees, RB Alvin Kamara and WR Ted Ginn are all healthy scratches for today's meaningless finale against the Panthers. RB Mark Ingram and WR Michael Thomas are active, but don't expect them to play. Dwayne Washington figures to serve as New Orleans' lead back, with Tre'Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood, Austin Carr and TommyLee Lewis at WR.
Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater will start this weekend's finale against the Panthers, HC Sean Payton said Friday. So QB Drew Brees will get the day off. We'd expect the same for RBs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram and WR Michael Thomas. Dwayne Washington figures to serve as New Orleans' lead back vs. Carolina, with Tre'Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood and Austin Carr handling most of the WR duties. It's unclear how much WR Ted Ginn will play after returning last week.
Saints QB Drew Brees said there's "no doubt" QB Teddy Bridgewater will play against the Panthers on Sunday. “It’s just a matter of how much." The last time the Saints had the #1 seed locked up heading into the finale, Brees didn't play a single snap. Don't expect to see much, if any, of him this weekend. Bridgewater is in play for DFS tournaments, although he probably won't get to throw to guys like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara.
The Saints have activated WR Ted Ginn (knee) from IR. Insider Nick Underhill reports that he's expected to play against the Steelers on Sunday. Ginn has been sidelined since Week 4, hauling in 12 of 22 targets for 135 yards and 2 scores before going down. “He’s a guy that runs, and I know he’s been working hard with the trainers and doing everything that he can to get prepared for this opportunity to come back," HC Sean Payton said Thursday. It's unclear how snap will be divvied between Ginn, Tre'Quan Smith and Keith Kirkwood behind Michael Thomas. Thomas is the only Saints WR that can be trusted in Week 16 fantasy lineups.
Saints TE Dan Arnold is inactive for today's game against the Bucs. He wasn't on the injury report, so it looks like he's a healthy scratch. That's a surprise after Arnold's role had grown in recent weeks. His absence leaves Josh Hill and Ben Watson at TE. Neither is a reliable fantasy play.
Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle) isn’t listed on the final Week 14 injury report. After sitting out on Wednesday, he put in full workouts on Thursday and Friday. Keep him glued into fantasy lineups for a plus matchup vs. the Bucs.
Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle) returned to a full practice on Thursday. His absence on Wednesday was precautionary. Thomas is safe to keep in fantasy lineups for a mouth-watering Week 14 matchup vs. the Bucs.
Saints WR Michael Thomas missed Wednesday's practice with an ankle injury. We haven't seen anything specific on the issue, which appears to be new but didn't keep him from playing 51 of 52 offensive snaps against the Cowboys last Thursday night. We'll certainly watch Thomas' participation the rest of the week.
Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith (foot) put in a full practice on Wednesday and isn't listed on the final injury report. So he'll play against the Cowboys on Thursday night. The last time we saw the rookie, he was exploding for a 10-157-1 line vs. the Eagles. It's worth noting that Smith has struggled on the road this season, but he'll be playing indoors in Dallas.
Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith (foot) remained limited in Tuesday's practice. His status for Thursday night's game against the Cowboys remains murky. We'll get another update on his status tomorrow.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Saints CB Ken Crawley will be inactive for Sunday night's game against the Vikings. Crawley didn't appear on the injury report at all this week, so it's pretty clear that newly acquired CB Eli Apple is immediately replacing him in the starting lineup. Crawley was just a low-level IDP option anyway, so drop him if you've had him on board.
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