There are two paths the Saints can go down in 2021, depending on whether they choose Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill. QB battles aren't exactly rare, but this one will fundamentally alter how the offense runs -- and how it works for Fantasy, too. This can be a good offense with either QB, but it's going to look a lot different than it has with Drew Brees in the past no matter who is there. And how Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara fare will be highly dependent on which one wins the job. 

2020 Review

Record: 12 - 4 (4)
PPG: 30.1 (5)
YPG: 376.4 (12)
Pass YPG: 234.9 (19)
Rush YPG: 141.6 (6)
PAPG: 32.6 (25)
RAPG: 30.9 (5)

2020 Fantasy finishes

QB: Drew Brees QB21, Taysom Hill QB33
RB: Alvin Kamara RB1, Latavius Murray RB34
WR: Michael Thomas WR41, Emmanuel Sanders* WR44
TE: Jared Cook* TE17
*No longer with team

Number to know: 456

That's how many pass attempts the Saints were on pace for in Taysom Hill's four starts, which would have been good for 30th in the league last season. The stakes of this quarterback battle are not just whether Hill or Winston might be better as Fantasy players, but what kind of offense the Saints will be. If it's Hill, expect a relatively low pass volume -- I'd bet on more than 456, but probably not much more than 500. If it's Winston, I could see a return to the days when the Saints were at least above average in pass attempts -- if not much higher, if Winston plays well. Both can be good Fantasy players, but Winston is better for everyone else in this offense, as you'll see in my projections for each situation below. 

2021 Offseason

Draft Picks 

1. (28) Payton Turner, DE
2. (60) Pete Werner, LB
3. (76) Paulson Adebo, CB
4. (133) Ian Book, QB
6. (206) Landon Young, OT
7. (255) Kawaan Baker, WR


TE Nick Vannett, DE Tano Kpassagnon

Key Departures

QB Drew Brees, DE Trey Hendrickson, CB Janoris Jenkins, DT Sheldon Rankins, CB Justin Hardee, WR Emmanuel Sanders, TE Jared Cook

Available Opportunity 

7 carries, 4 RB targets, 94 WR targets, 60 TE targets

Team Previews: Dolphins | Rams | Chargers | Raiders | Chiefs | Colts | Packers

2021 Preview

player headshot
Jamey Eisenberg
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Dave Richard
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Heath Cummings
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Chris Towers
Jameis Winston18312313
Taysom HillNR28NRNR
Alvin Kamara3352
Latavius Murray52474634
Michael Thomas81382
Adam Trautman11122329

Chris Towers' projections

If Jameis Winston starts at QB: 

QBJameis WinstonPA: 611, YD: 4582, TD: 30, INT: 15; RUSH -- ATT: 55, YD: 233, TD: 2
RBAlvin KamaraCAR: 231, YD: 1086, TD: 10; TAR: 110, REC: 83, YD: 701, TD: 5
RBLatavius MurrayCAR: 162, YD: 696, TD: 6; TAR: 43, REC: 30, YD: 207, TD: 2
WRMichael ThomasTAR: 161, REC: 121, YD: 1401, TD: 9
WRMarquez CallawayTAR: 81, REC: 48, YD: 580, TD: 4
WRTre'Quan SmithTAR: 52, REC: 29, YD: 383, TD: 3
TEAdam TrautmanTAR: 62, REC: 37, YD: 440, TD: 3

If Taysom Hill starts at QB: 

QBTaysom HillPA: 510, YD: 3823, TD: 23, INT: 13; RUSH -- ATT: 142, YD: 596, TD: 5
RBAlvin KamaraCAR: 221, YD: 1038, TD: 10; TAR: 82, REC: 61, YD: 520, TD: 4
RBLatavius MurrayCAR: 162, YD: 696, TD: 6; TAR: 43, REC: 30, YD: 207, TD: 2
WRMichael ThomasTAR: 142, REC: 107, YD: 1241, TD: 7
WRMarquez CallawayTAR: 71, REC: 43, YD: 514, TD: 3
WRTre'Quan SmithTAR: 52, REC: 29, YD: 383, TD: 3
TEAdam TrautmanTAR: 62, REC: 36, YD: 433, TD: 3

Biggest Question

Who starts at quarterback?  

This isn't your typical QB competition, because whether Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill starts for the Saints is going to go a long way in determining how the offense plays. If it's Hill, expect low pass volume and a lot of running -- with Hill scoring a ton of touchdowns near the goal-line. If it's Winston, this could be a much more aggressive Saints offense than we've seen in a long time. Personally, I'm rooting for Winston -- the ceiling is higher, especially for Michael Thomas.   

One sleeper, one breakout and one bust

DEN Denver • #82
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
2020 Stats

There isn't much room in this offense for anyone but Thomas and Kamara to do much, but Trautman probably has the best opportunity to provide a significant return on investment this season. Jared Cook was third on the team in targets in 2020 and 2019, and though it was only 65 and 60, maybe Trautman can better that -- especially if Winston is the QB. He's not an incredible athlete, but Trautman was quite good in college, and he's been getting talked up this offseason around the Saints. You won't want to draft him as your only tight end, but he could be worth a late-round flier if you want to grab two high-upside guys to see if one hits.

NO New Orleans • #13
Age: 30 • Experience: 8 yrs.
2020 Stats

I'm significantly higher on Thomas than pretty much anyone else in the industry, and that will be true no matter who the quarterback is. The Saints won't throw as much if Hill is QB, but Thomas dominated targets with Hill, and was on a 120-catch, near-1,400-yard pace in his four games. And that was with Thomas clearly less than 100% -- he went back on IR after Hill's fourth start. I think he's an easy bet for 100-plus catches no matter who is at QB, but where things get really interesting is what he might look like with Winston under center. Winston, for all his flaws, has hardly been a detriment for his receivers' Fantasy production. My assumption is that, while Thomas' ridiculously high catch rates from the Brees era won't be sustainable with the (significantly) less accurate Winston, but I think there will be more opportunities to make plays down the field with the (significantly) more aggressive Winston. Given the state of the Saints' receiving corps, Thomas is going to challenge for the league lead in target share; if Winston is the starting QB, he might challenge for the league lead in targets.

NO New Orleans • #41
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
2020 Stats

This is definitely one of those, "Someone has to be the pick," picks. Kamara is my No. 2 player overall if Winston is the QB, but obviously, it's harder to make that case if Hill is QB. Kamara, more than any other high-end running back, relies on receiving for his scoring, and running quarterbacks just don't throw to their running backs as often. Kamara got 16 targets in the four games Hill started, which wouldn't be bad for most running backs. But a 64-target pace would be nearly half of Kamara's usual total. If Kamara had the exact same stats but on 64 targets last season, he would've had 50 catches for 454 yards and three touchdowns. He still would have been RB3 in 2020, but it would have represented a 20% drop in total points. I'm not fading Kamara if Hill is the QB -- in fact, I reckon I would probably still like him more than the consensus -- but on a team where only two players will be drafted early, Kamara seems the riskier of the two to me. 

So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.