2022 New Orleans Saints Preview

The 2022 NFL Season is nearly upon us. As part of the run up to the season, we’re preview all the teams, culminating with our picks for who makes the playoffs and who wins the awards this season. Check back each day through September 5. Let’s get ready for some football!

The Saints had an up-and-down campaign in 2022. The team saw quarterback Jameis Winston go down for the season while the team was 5-2 and in playoff contention. Despite beating Tom Brady and the Buccaneers twice, the Saints finished just 9-8 and narrowly missed the playoffs. Following the season, Head Coach Sean Payton retired, leaving the Saints to begin a new era in 2022.

Off-Season Changes

Payton is out but the team retains some continuity as Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen has stepped into the role of Head Coach. And, the Saints have added some fun new pieces on defense for Allen, including safeties Tyrann Mathieu, from the Chiefs, and Marcus Maye, from the Jets. But it wasn’t only the defense where the Saints made changes.

The Saints worked on the offensive line, drafting tackle Trevor Penning in the First Round and signing former Raiders’ center Nick Martin. The Saints also brought in veteran quarterback Andy Dalton to back up Winston and added weapons. After struggling with finding weapons in 2021, the team added veteran Jarvis Landry in free agency and drafted Chris Olave out of Ohio State. Olave caught 175 passes for 2,702 yards and 35 touchdowns in four years. He figures to give the Saints another weapon.

Fantasy Prospects

Winston is back and that will hopefully provide stability for the Saints. He was decent as a starter in 2021, throwing for 1,170 yards and 14 touchdowns against three interceptions. The Saints have decent weapons and I like Winston to finish as a QB2. He seems to have improved on the turnovers that plagued him while with the Buccaneers.

The backfield is only a question because of the potential league issues for Alvin Kamara. When healthy and available, Kamara is a Top 10 option at the position. With the legal process delayed, the risk of a late-season suspension exists. Kamara is going as RB10, but I’m OK with the value. As a hedge, I like Abram Smith as a late-round flier. He rushed for 1,601 yards and 12 touchdowns with Baylor in 2021. He’s going under-the-radar after signing as an undrafted free agent.

In the passing game, I’m not trusting any of the Saints tight ends. Adam Trautman was hyped when he came out but we just haven’t seen it yet. But I am excited about the receiving corps, led by the return of Michael Thomas. Thomas has had a rough few years, catching just 40 passes for 438 yards in seven games in 2020 and missing the 2021 season entirely. By all accounts he’s healthy and ready to go in 2022, and I’m starting to believe again. He’s going as WR33 and I like the value. I also like Olave in rookie drafts and going forward. He will have some nice moments this season, while Landry should also provide potential deep-league flex value.

Prediction

The Saints have talent on both sides of the ball and I suspect they’ll be competitive again this season. I see them in the eight-to-10-win range and in the playoff race in the NFC throughout the season. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them slip in as a Wild Card once again.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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