The 2014 Fantasy Football season is here, and Jake Ciely of RotoExperts.com will be providing exclusive expert fantasy coverage for NewOrleansSaints.com. Throughout the preseason and regular season, Jake will give you the expert deal on Saints players from fantasy perspectives, while letting you know which players will help you take home a championship.
The Saints defense/special teams is a popular sleeper unit and for good reason. The unit (NFL.com ADP of 145.6) reached double-digit Fantasy Points four times, while only posting a negative score once. The best part is that their Top 15 finish came without a single defensive or special team touchdown. How is that the best part? Well, it's rare for a team not to score any touchdowns via defense or special teams. Just imagine what the Saints could have done with just a few touchdowns.
Not only did the Saints put together a solid season, they did so with Rob Ryan transitioning them into a 3-4 front. Cam Jordan broke out with 12 sacks (good for fifth in the league) and is a great defensive line target in Individual Defensive Player leagues.
In addition to Jordan, the aforementioned Vaccaro is a great IDP target and easily a Top Five safety given his ability to finish with 80-plus tackles and a handful of interceptions. Byrd in town means both starting safeties are worth drafting, as he won't be far behind Vaccaro in tackles or interceptions. At linebacker,
Even thought the Seahawks (NFL.com ADP of 49.2) dominated last year and are the consensus No. 1 DST, don't overdraft your defense. There is too much change in outcome each year, and the last defense to repeat as the top unit were the 1993-94 Steelers. The Ravens (138.3) are moving back into the DST1 group with promising youngsters. Another DST outside the Top 10 worthy of your attention is the Texans (143.4). They have a scary duo in J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.
With the preseason wrapping up, it's time for a "what we've learned" breakdown.
Owners aren't shying away from
All of the Saints running backs are undervalued even late in the preseason.
As with the running backs,
Le'Veon Bell has seen his ADP fall thanks to concerns over LeGarrette Blount's share of the snaps, and he is a fine value in the second round. Likewise, Benny Cunningham's usage for the Rams, plus Sam Bradford's torn ACL, has cause Zac Stacy's ADP to slide, and he can be a nice bargain in the third round. Meanwhile, Doug Martin and Roddy White have seen their ADPs rise as owners are expecting rebound campaigns. Drafters are obviously concerned with the quarterback depth, as Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and a few others have started going earlier, while Cam Newton, Robert Griffin and Colin Kaepernick are falling back to the points where they can be nice value plays. Don't panic. If you miss on the big three of Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, you can still double up with high-upside options such as one of the sliders and a Jay Cutler or Tony Romo.
As we enter the final week of Fantasy Football drafting, stick to your guns and rankings. The preseason answers questions about position battles, but it can also cloud your judgment. Draft smart, and remember value is key.
Jake Ciely is a Senior Fantasy Writer at RotoExperts.com. For more in-depth Fantasy Football analysis from Jake and the team at RotoExperts.com, click here to register for the Xclusive Edge Fantasy Football Package and take advantage of a very special discount offer for Saints fans!