Another talented receiver has found a home as Jarvis Landry recently signed a 1 year contract with the New Orleans Saints. Landry joins a Saints team that is looking to move their franchise into a new chapter after the departure of Drew Brees and Sean Payton in back to back years. Although these losses are significant, the New Orleans Saints still boast a talented roster that could compete for a playoff spot. On offense Landry joins an accomplished group of skill players that includes Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, and Chris Olave. In this article I will go over how the addition of Jarvis Landry changes the 2022 outlook of the New Orleans’ offense. Due to this article being a little late I will also discuss the overall dynasty value of these players as well.
Although Landry is the player that sparked this article, he is hardly the most exciting Saints piece to be writing about. Landry signed a relatively modest 1 year/$3 million contract deal with the Saints with additional incentives. He will look to add a veteran presence to a receiving room that lacked one without Michael Thomas last season. While Landry has had a stellar career, his play has declined rapidly the last two seasons. He’s coming off of back to back years setting career lows in targets and receptions. After finishing as a top 24 Wide Receiver in five straight seasons, Landry was the WR33 and the WR54 in 2020 and 2021. Landry has never been a threat after the catch, or in the red zone either. He will have a hard time being fantasy relevant this season unless he receives really high target volume. This may not be possible at this stage in his career as he turns 30 in November. He’s my current WR63 in dynasty, and a late round flier in redraft. If Thomas were to ever go down with an injury again though, Landry has WR3 potential based on volume.
Unlike in 2021, Winston comes into 2022 as the clear starter Quarterback in New Orleans. Drew Brees is gone, and Taysom Hill has been transitioned to Tight End full time this year. The Saints also forgoed taking a Quarterback in the NFL draft, which should be viewed as a vote of confidence in Jameis Winston. What remains to be seen is the type of Jameis Winston the Saints and fantasy managers will be getting this season. Prior to his time in New Orleans, Winston was considered an aggressive Quarterback with a gunslinger mentality. In 2019 he led the league in both passing yards (5109) and interceptions (30).
This is in stark contrast to the measured game manager we saw last season. Winston threw the ball only about 23 times a game over his seven starts. In those games he managed just 167.1 yards passing a game (31st) on 7.3 yards per attempt (18th) (ESPN). Sean Payton rarely relied on Winston heavily, using Kamara more as a runner than he ever has been used in his career. Did the Saints lack confidence in Jameis Winston, or was this simply a result of an injury ridden Wide Receiver core? That is the most important question in regards to the fantasy prospects of the whole offense. If Winston is given 550+ attempts, and pushes closer to 300 yards a game passing, we could see multiple fantasy relevant receivers in this offense.
On the other hand, if the Saints take a more measured approach like they did last season the offense as a whole could be boom or bust. This is one of the more volatile and hard to predict fantasy situations in the NFL. It centers around the play and production of Jameis Winston who has been wildly inconsistent in his career. His value in dynasty leagues is hard to pinpoint as well as 2022 will be his audition to be the future at the position. The Saints don’t have a first round pick next year either, giving Winston extra security going into 2023. Considering his erratic history as a starter, I’m ranking Winston as a low end QB2 with upside going into 2022 in both dynasty and redraft leagues. He carries a lot of risk, but a ton of upside if he can reign in the interceptions that plagued him in Tampa Bay. Winston is also a Quarterback you may want to adjust in your rankings depending on the scoring of interceptions in your league.
Kamara comes into 2022 in a precarious situation, and his dynasty value has been in flux all off-season. The largest hurdle being a possible suspension due to assault charges in Florida while he was attending the NFL Pro Bowl. It is hard to say what the status of the case is, but graphic videos of the encounter have surfaced on the web. A hearing is scheduled for August 1st, however the NFL typically does not rule on cases until criminal investigations are complete. There is a chance Kamara could not be disciplined till the 2023 season. However, it is still unclear how long the case could last in court, and it is certainly an added risk to his fantasy value this season. Particularly if he is suspended for a key stretch later in the year.
Aside from his legal issues, Alvin Kamara will soon be 27 years of age in a completely overhauled New Orleans Saints offense. He was mostly dominant in the games he played, but missed four games in the middle of last season with an injury as well. Kamara is likely at a cliff in dynasty, as his value is likely to take a steep decline no matter what kind of season he has this year. This combined with the fact he could miss a significant part of the 2022 or 2023 season makes him a big sell for me in dynasty leagues. If I could still get top 15 RB value for him, and exchange him for another top 15 WR I would be ecstatic. In redraft leagues where you have to take more risk, I’d still be willing to draft Kamara as a low end RB1 and hope for the best. In the games he does play, he is likely to get a heavy workload and be locked into an RB1 role.
After having only played in seven games the past two years, Michael Thomas has taken a dramatic fall in most dynasty rankings. Once the consensus WR1 in start up drafts, Thomas now finds himself as the WR30 in DLF’s latest ADP (DLF). He will look to rebound this season, playing in his first full year without Drew Brees as the starting Quarterback. This combined with his age and injury history makes him a very volatile fantasy asset. Twenty-nine is a typical age when we see a decline in many Wide Receiver’s fantasy production. Thomas has only played significant snaps in four NFL seasons though, and could be considered a “young ” 29 years old. A great season or two is completely within the realm of possibilities for Thomas, who is still very talented. Nonetheless, acquiring him will depend on your risk tolerance, as there aren’t many cases of Wide Receivers bouncing back at this age after multiple injury plagued seasons.
Honestly, it’s really hard to speak with any kind of confidence about Michael Thomas. Any analyst who claims to be is simply making a prediction, and choosing stats that fit their narrative. If he’s on the field, it’s hard to see him not being a major contributor, as he should be the clear cut best receiver on the team. It wouldn’t shock anyone though to see another injury, or a general decrease in productivity with his increased age. His production will also rely heavily on Jameis Winston, creating a lot of “what ifs” for Thomas in 2022. Obviously as an older player Thomas has more value to me in redraft leagues as opposed to dynasty. In single season formats, he’s a high ceiling/low floor option who I’d be willing to take a risk on at the low end WR2/high end WR3 line. In dynasty, he’s a bit further back as the WR38. I just don’t like the chances of a major come back in his 30s, and there are plenty of younger receivers I’d rather take a chance on.
Olave has been one of the biggest rookie risers since the beginning of the off-season. Many projected him as a mid to late first round pick, but an early Wide Receiver run led to him being selected 11th overall by the New Orleans Saints. He profiles as an outstanding route runner, with great hands, and top line speed. His agility gives him the ability to win on both shorter and longer routes. Olave is one of the more pro ready prospects in terms of technique, and should step into a starting role right away with the Saints. His frame is the biggest concern on his profile. He’s 6’0” and 185 lbs, which is smaller for a receiver. This gives some scouts concerns about his capability of competing with the more physically imposing corners in the league. The addition of Jarvis Landry affects Olave’s fantasy prospects little for me, although he may get a slight downgrade in redraft leagues.
What is more concerning to me is the play of Jameis Winston. Without a first round pick next year, the Saints and Olave are likely tied to Winston for two seasons. If Winston performs well, and the New Orleans Offense is successful, then Olave could blossom into a WR2 sooner rather than later. If Winston struggles though, there may be little room for fantasy relevancy behind Michael Thomas. Olave is currently my WR28 in dynasty, but that ranking could rise significantly if he flashes in his rookie season. In redraft leagues he’s a WR4 with upside, who could be a nice late round flier at the end of drafts.
Adam Trautman/ Taysom Hill/Tre’Quan Smith/Marquez Callaway
This is a list of second tier options for the Saints that could provide relevancy on bye weeks and if injuries occur. Trautman and Hill figure to compete for playing time in camp, and each brings a unique upside to the position. It would be hard to see either of them being more than a low TE2 though whoever the starter may be. Smith and Callaway took turns leading the Saints receiving core last year with mild success. They will be depth pieces behind starters Thomas, Landry, and Olave. All four players can be ignored for now except in deeper dynasty leagues. In the event of an injury however, these players could be prime waiver pickups, and potential low end flex options.
What do you think of the Tyreek trade? You can follow Emerson on Twitter @Dynasty_Analyst to keep up with his work. Keep your eyes peeled for more articles from our great Dynasty team, coming soon. Remember to tune into the 5 Yard Dynasty livestream every Tuesday at 8pm (GMT).