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State of the Saints - Training Camp Preview
David Dorey
July 27, 2009
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This series of analysis on the 32 NFL teams takes a look at where teams have been over the last three years for each position - where they have ranked in the most notable categories and the hard statistics produced. This is to give a view of each team heading into training camp and what they most likely need to improve on this season and where their strengths lie that likely won't need any changes. Ending each team review is a brief summation of what to watch in training camp in August to uncover those developing situations that you can take advantage. Combining where teams have come from and what they have done in free agency and the NFL draft gives you the very same thing that NFL coaches are looking at as they attempt to improve their team for 2009.
Team Menu
ARI ATL BAL BUF CAR CHI
CIN CLE DAL DEN DET GBP
HOU IND JAC KCC MIA MIN
NEP NOS NYG NYJ OAK PHI
PIT SDC SEA SFO STL TBB
TEN WAS  

Training Camp Opens: July 30
Head Coach: Sean Payton (4th year)
Stadium: Louisiana Superdome (Dome)  Surface: Sportexe Momentum Turf
2009 Schedule   2009 Roster   2008 Statistics   2008 Record: 8-8

QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2006 41 32 0 579 373 64% 4632 12.4 27 12 1 4
2007 26 49 1 652 440 67% 4423 10.1 28 18 3 9
2008 22 -1 0 635 413 65% 5069 12.3 34 17 1 1

Quarterback - The Saints may only be average in terms of wins and losses but in fantasy football, they are the super team. Drew Brees grabbed the #1 spot in virtually every quarterback category last year and the worse you'll get from him in New Orleans is a top three performance. Brees passed the magic 5000 yard mark in 2008 and did it while there were injuries to Reggie Bush, Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey. It boggles the mind what this passing offense could do if they all remain healthy.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2006 426 1700 4 18 210 159 76% 1256 5 15 2 5
2007 366 1442 3.9 12 191 147 77% 898 3 26 11 10
2008 371 1542 4.2 19 166 122 73% 944 9 22 10 2

Running Backs - Reggie Bush is a gem in point per reception leagues but only when he plays healthy. Unfortunately that hasn't been that often since his rookie season with at least four or more games missed in the last two years. But this offense is so prolific and passes so well that giving up a seven yard run is like a victory for the defense. This rushing attack has remained top ten in yardage and rose to #2 with a total of 19 rushing and nine receiving scores by the running backs. Bush mainly handles the receiving touchdowns with at least six per season and last year the rushing scores were mainly from Deuce McAllister (5) and Pierre Thomas (9). The Saints put up a respectable 1542 rushing yards on 371 carries but no runner had more than 129 attempts. The previous season the high was 157 by Bush. But back in 2006 when McAllister remained healthy, he had 244 runs which would be more along what Thomas should see this year.

Bush expects to be 100% healthy for training camp but Thomas showed last year he could handle the heavy load if needed. McAllister is gone and Thomas looks to inherit a very attractive fantasy role.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 286 169 59% 2965 17.5 21 4 4
2007 345 219 63% 2831 12.9 21 8 8
2008 305 181 59% 2932 16.2 22 5 2

Wide Receivers - The wide receivers all contributed last year but none had a huge year. Marques Colston spent most of the year on the sideline but was fine later in the year. He only had 47 catches on the season though and is looking to rebound this season and match his 2007 campaign when he had 98 catches for 1202 yards and 11 touchdowns. Lance Moore was the true surprise as the leading receiver with 928 yards on 79 catches and scoring ten times. Devery Henderson hangs on as the #3 receiver mainly because Robert Meachem has never delivered on his first round draft status. There's always a lot of passes to distribute inside this group but surprisingly none have really stepped forward to be that super elite player commensurate with what would be expected with the #1 passer in the league. Colston comes the closest but even in a good year only ranks top ten.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 70 45 64% 411 9.1 1 24 31
2007 102 75 74% 706 9.4 4 13 22
2008 155 110 71% 1193 10.8 3 2 16

Tight Ends
- The Saints ranked #2 in tight end yards last year but it used five different players to get there. Jeremy Shockey came over last season and instead of his standard one game missed he was gone for four matchups. He still has not scores for the Saints but could turn in a good year if he remains healthy somehow unlike the last... well ever really. Billy Miller stepped in and had a career best 45 catches for 579 yards. Brees is going to find a receiver from many options on this team and the tight ends get their fair share of work between the 20 yard lines.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - There should be no earth-shattering news from camp since all the same skill players return other than Deuce McAllister has been replaced by Pierre "How do you like me now?" Thomas. The best thing that could come out of camp is that Jeremy Shockey remains healthy and Robert Meachem somehow gets his groove on after spending much of his first two seasons either injured or benched. If there are any reports about Brees connecting well with a player, it should be considered a very good sign.

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Team-by-Team Offensive Line Review and Ratings
Head Coaching Changes and Their Fantasy Impact
Ease of Schedule for Quarterbacks
Ease of Schedule for Running Backs
Ease of Schedule for Receivers
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