The Saints have a new-look offense heading into 2023. They signed Derek Carr, Foster Moreau, and Jamaal Williams. Then the team drafted Kendre Miller and AT Perry to the team. They made friendly with Michael Thomas, and he is coming back too. The Saints used to be a powerhouse for a dynasty, but recently, things have looked down on this NFC South team. Can their 2023 outlooks bring back some dynasty glory?
Quarterback – Derek Carr
After years with the Raiders, Carr has signed a four-year deal with the New Orlean Saints as their new starting quarterback. Carr had a down 2022 season as QB17 but is looking to bounce back with the Saints. For dynasty, Carr still has a borderline QB1 potential in 2023. Carr will have a more well round offense with Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, Juwan Johnson, and Alvin Kamara. Carr seemed to be a relevant fantasy quarterback before the Jon Gruden situation and his beef with Josh McDaniels. He succeeded with the deep ball, and a new receiver, Olave, should help more efficiently. Carr also worked well with short underneath routes. If Thomas can get back to some form with this slant route ability, then that should also help Carr.
Carr is more likely a QB2 for dynasty and 2023. He can provide a solid QB2 role for a contending dynasty team. I think the more balance in weapons should get Carr on a more favorable route for performances. Without a rushing floor, his upside is limited. The weapons surrounding him should bring his numbers closer to that QB1 mark.
The Backup Plan
Carr is expected to start 17 games for the Saints, but if something happens, Jamies Winston would likely have a shot as the backup. Winston has been a solid fantasy player when he has been on the field for the Saints. Unfortunately, he has only played 11 games over two seasons. Winston is, at best, a depth-piece quarterback in superflex leagues hoping that his situation changes next year or finds a chance to be on the field in 2023. The Saints drafted Jake Haener in the fourth round but aren’t likely to beat out Winston for the backup job. He is a good taxi squad stash for a rebuilding team to see if the Carr situation fails in New Orleans.
Running Back – Alvin Kamara
He is probably one of the toughest players to gauge in dynasty, especially for his 2023 outlook. We know that the legal side of things for Kamara hasn’t been completed. The NFL has yet to decide on a punishment if they will give one. Based on their codes of conduct, Kamara broke a violation, which could still be up to a six-game suspense. Four games are also possible, but it would be a shocker to see it go past six games.
The question is, what do you do with him in fantasy, and is he worth having? Contending teams should have been looking to buy low on Kamara all off-season. Even to this point, since the number of games he will be suspended hasn’t been announced, it’s a great time to buy low. While we saw a dip in production in 2022, Kamara is still an elite running back that likely is more of an RB2. Once Kamara returns from suspense, he should lead the offense. My only concern with Kamara is his touchdown upside. After only producing four last year, the team continues to bring in players who can prevent him from getting double digits. Jamaal Williams was a goal-line machine, and with Taysom Hill stealing touchdowns away, Kamara’s touchdown upside may be capped.
He should resume the receiving role on the team. The fewer touches may open the door for more efficiency as a pass catcher like in his early seasons. Kamara has exceeded the 200-carry mark over the last two seasons, and he hasn’t been the same player when he sees fewer carries. That’s why Kamara is a good buy because if he can get back to being more efficient, he can put up an RB2 season in 2023. Since he hasn’t been a workhorse back, he could last a few more years in the league than you can have on your team. As a rebuilding team, if you own Karama, hold off until he sees the field, or you aren’t getting his max value for your rebuild.
The Fill-in Starters
If Kamara is going to miss time, the Saints have prepared for that situation. They went out and signed Williams and Kendre Miller. Williams had a fantastic fantasy season with 1,066 yards and 17 touchdowns. I’m not expecting Williams to be able to do that again in 2023. The Saints had a long history of having two backs be great simultaneously, and Williams could show that but as a high-end RB3. It’s an excellent time for a rebuilding team to sell high on him. He has the opportunity to be the starter on day one if Karama is suspended.
Williams can get off to an excellent RB2 start but then fades with Karama back as an RB3. It will be interesting how they use Williams since Kamara used to be a stud in getting red zone rushing touchdowns. Williams should be able to provide a flex play with the potential of getting eight to nine touchdowns on the season.
Miller is a better long-term play in dynasty since Kamara and Williams could be gone after the 2024 season. Miller had a breakout college season with 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns on TCU’s way to the championship game. He has the potential to start his career like Kamara as the third back but works his way to be the starter. While I don’t believe that happens, Miller could get early work with Kamara out at the beginning of the season. Miller had limited opportunity as a receiving in college but flashed every time he got the ball.
While Kamara is out, there could be an even split between Williams and Miller. Miller could be the early down back for the team, while Williams handles the passing work and the crucial plays as the team veteran. Miller’s value would likely fall with Kamara back unless he showed off early. Overall it’s a suitable backfield to have in 2023 for your dynasty team, with Miller being the one you want for the long term.
Wide Receivers – Chris Olave
Olave is such a great player to own heading into 2023 for your dynasty team. The second-year player shined as a rookie and got a quarterback upgrade for this season. Some interesting stats on Olave was his vertical threat presence for the game; he finished eighth in Air Yards, third in Air Yards Share, and fourth in Deep targets. Enter Carr, who was fifth in deep ball attempts and Air Yards and, at times, has had an excellent deep ball completion at times.
Having Thomas back will help Olave, as some of his best games in 2022 were when Thomas on playing. There’s a strong shot of Olave breaking through to WR1 status in 2023. I’d expect him to be able to get over 150 targets and closer to the ten-touchdown mark. He is a fantastic receiver to have on your dynasty roster. I did a whole breakout on Olave for dynasty with more detail. You should check it out here.
Thomas is tough to evaluate because he has played ten games over the last three seasons. Thomas was a beast in the early days of the league, but injuries have kept him off the field. As a contending team, you could buy low or see if you can add him to a package to get him on the roster for cheap. It is risky because we aren’t sure how many games he will play, but the value is worth grabbing. Last season he put up ten fantasy points in two of three games. He doesn’t have much long-term value for us in dynasty, but he is a good bench player. Hoping he can bounce back to decent WR3 numbers if he can stay on the field.
The Best of the Rest
Rasheed Shaheed leads this grouping of AT Perry and Tre Quan Smith as the backups, which could be a fantasy relevant for the dynasty team this year. Shaheed had four of the final six games in 2022 with 50-plus yards and finished as WR38. Shaheed will likely work as the third receiver, but I’m keeping my eyes on him. For dynasty owners, he should be easily added to your team for cheap to see if he can develop into a fantasy option. I don’t see much breakout opportunity unless Michael Thomas misses games again. Shaheed is a solid bench option for any dynasty owner. Smith isn’t a player I’m holding on to my dynasty roster; he has had chances to step up but has failed. Perry is an exciting taxi squad player to hold, but it likely won’t make noise in 2023.
Tight End Juwan Johnson and Foster Moreau
Johnson has developed into a solid tight end that doesn’t seems to get appreciated on dynasty rosters. He had a breakout season in 2022 with 508 yards and seven touchdowns. He was third on the team in targets, and with an upgrade at quarterback in Derek Carr, he is on the rise. Carr has thrown over the last three seasons 24 touchdowns to the tight end position. Due to all the weapons surrounding Johnson, I don’t believe there is an upside for him to get top-five production, but he has a chance to be a low-end TE1 in 2023. I am concerned that he was only 17th in routes run and 19th in receptions. Adding Carr will hopefully get him more involved in the offense. Contending dynasty owners should be looking to add Johnson to their roster for cheap.
Moreau is back after battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma earlier this year. He has been cleared and will play in 2023. We can only hope that this hasn’t affected their ability to play at a football level, but he seems confident that he will not have issues. He is joining on a decent tight-end deal to play with his former quarterback, Carr. I’m unsure if he will come in as the starter, as I believe Johnson earned that job. Moreau has started 25 games over the last two seasons and only produced five games over nine fantasy points. Moreau likely won’t be starting worth in 2023 but is likely the last man on your bench unless you need to cut him. He is still young enough to find a starting gig one day but doesn’t have high dynasty value.
The Taysom Hill Effect
Hill has been a headache for many dynasty owners, as he has either been a steal to have or a touchdown stealer for many Saints players. In the last three seasons, Hill has produced 24 total touchdowns. Due to his ability to be used in different situations, he is worth a roster spot for all dynasty leagues. His outlook is hard to predict for the upcoming season. Hill’s games are so over the place that we don’t know when he will produce. He is worth a wild card spot for a team looking to make a run at the playoffs because of his crazy upside. Hill”s upside is a three-touchdown game, or he has just one target game. No one likely wants to trade for him, so you take the bad with the good for your dynasty roster. He is an elite boom-or-bust dynasty player in 2023.
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