2013 Team Outlook: New Orleans Saints
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2013 Team Outlook: New Orleans Saints

A fantasy football preview of the New Orleans Saints this season. Profiled players include Drew Brees, Luke McCown, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, and Pierre Thomas.

Drew Brees enters the 2013 season as one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy football. Brees is coming off a season in which he threw for 5177 yards, 43 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions. Brees led the league in both passing yards and touchdowns, but his numbers were down from an even more spectacular 2011 season. Brees should have no problem keeping his fantasy dominance going this season; and right now, I would draft him as the number one fantasy quarterback.

Luke McCown will serve as Drew Brees' backup this season. He is not worth a roster spot, even in the deepest of leagues.

Mark Ingram could be poised for a big season in 2013. Ingram has struggled to make a big impression over his first two seasons, but with Chris Ivory now gone, Ingram should see the majority of first and second down carries for the Saints. Sean Payton has emphasized that he wants to run the ball more this season, making Ingram a breakout candidate in fantasy leagues. The drawback to Ingram is that he is almost never used in the passing game, and is unlikely to become more involved, with Darren Sproles being so good catching the ball out of the backfield.

Darren Sproles will enter the 2013 season as the Saints' main pass catcher out of the backfield. Sproles caught 75 passes in 2012 despite missing three games, and should continue to flourish in PPR leagues this coming season. Sproles will not be much of a factor in the running game for the Saints, but his pass catching skills are enough to make him a solid RB 2 in PPR fantasy leagues. He's going off the board in the late second and early third. If you happen to start your draft WR/WR and he somehow falls to the third, walk to the bank, you're a winner.

Pierre Thomas will have to compete for carries out of the Saints backfield this coming season. Mark Ingram is likely to handle the early down work, while Darren Sproles comes in to catch passes in passing situations. Thomas will have to outplay Ingram in the pre-season to cut into his carries once the season starts. Thomas should be drafted in fantasy leagues, as he could be a valuable asset if Ingram were to go down with an injury.

Update (8-16): Another preseason game, another impressive perfomance by Stills. Against the Raiders on Friday, he caught four passes for 64 yards including a toe-tapping touchdown in the front of the end zone. Nick Toon hauled in a 56-yarder for his only catch, but Stills is looking like the No.3 WR race leader.

Update (Aug 12): With the injury to Joseph Morgan, both Nick Toon and rookie Kenny Stills have a huge opportunity in front of them. Stills possesses the natural slot wide receiver skill set to succeed in the Saints offense, so he is better positioned to win the job over the taller more experienced Nick Toon. In 12 team leagues, Stills now represents a late round pick that could be immediately valuable in draft master formats where his big games are rewarded. For standard lineup leagues, he'll likely be hit and miss, until another injury befalls either Colston or Moore. It's nice to have an option or two on your bench from potent offenses like the Saints.

Rookie Kenny Stills could have fantasy value in the future if he has a good preseason for the Saints. Stills has too many players in front of him on the depth chart to make much of an impact this season, but could be a good player to stash for the future in the high powered Saints offense.