Are the Saints still fantasy football gold?

      June 13, 2012 @ 17:41:58 PDT

We know the New Orleans Saints have had a pretty rough offseason. In fact, they've had pretty much the worst offseason you could probably have, minus significant injuries to stud players. The bounty scandal will have some sort of effect on the product on the field, but we won't know to what extent until at least preseason.

Losing head coach Sean Payton for the entire year is a huge blow; he was highly instrumental in the offense's success, and his chemistry with Drew Brees can't be overstated.

Speaking of Brees, the ugly contract dispute has become an unneeded distraction, and both sides are clearly frustrated with what has transpired. Although reports circulated late last week that both sides were close to a resolution, nothing has changed. ESPN's Andrew Brandt thinks this thing will last well into July.

Brees remains a very safe option as a No. 1 starting QB - even with the messy contract negotiations out in the open - but will the absence of Payton on the sidelines keep him out of a consistent rhythm? Brees and the New Orleans O didn't miss a beat with Payton injured and calling plays from the booth for a stretch last year, but that's different; they won't have him around at all in 2012. Makes you wonder, if only just a bit right now.

We know the Saints loved to air it out under Payton. Will that change drastically now? Doubtful, but it'll look different, at least.

The running back stable is deep, but I'm not so sure there is a ton of fantasy reliability here. Darren Sproles will have a tough time replicating his monster season, and Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory will all have a say at some point.

Ingram has the highest ceiling of the four, and his bruising work around the goal line will boost his value. From the looks of things, though, owning any piece of this RB situation could be more of a headache than a gift. I wouldn't consider any of these rushers more than a very weak No. 2.

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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