SMITTY: If you need a RB this week, consider grabbing Travaris Cadet, as many sources expect the rusher to be ‘heavily involved’ in the team’s passing game in Week 8. As Russ Bliss said on his Tuesday Radio Show, he could be used a lot more than people think with Pierre Thomas out for a bit. Looking for Week 8 Power Rankings?
SMITTY: It’s tough to say who will benefit more from Pierre Thomas’ absence, but clearly both Khiry Robinson and Mark Ingram will see an uptick in touches with this news. Both runners are boom or bust plays each week, as you just don’t know which will get more run. Plus, it seems like the Saints want to mix in some Travaris Cadet here and there, so the situation is still very cloudy even with Thomas’ injury. If you breakdown last week’s usage, Ingram commanded the early-down work, and Robinson dropped down to three rushes compared to Ingram’s 10. Our guess is that Ingram will benefit most, especially now that he is a week healthier, but anything can happen due to flow of game/hot hands. Looking for Week 8 Power Rankings?
SMITTY: It looks like Mark Ingram (hand) could be close to “full go” for Week 7, but it wouldn’t surprise us if he was eased back either. Regardless, this just makes the Saints backfield cloudy and confusing again, as Pierre Thomas has proven to be a beast when given the touches/targets, and the same can be said for Khiry Robinson. Start any of these guys at your own risk moving forward. Looking for Week 7 Power Rankings?
SMITTY: He is definitely considered ‘out’ for Week 7, and expect to miss at least another game, but we will certainly keep you updated should things change. For now, Ben Watson has some appeal if you are absolutely desperate at the position. Looking for Week 7 Power Rankings?
According to Nola.com, “it has become apparent Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson “have moved ahead of [Pierre] Thomas, who has been listed with the third team on the unofficial depth charts.”
SMITTY: It’s important to note that Pierre Thomas didn’t make the trip on Friday for “unspecified reasons”, so Friday’s game can’t be looked at as any kind of playing time indicator. That said, Mark Ingram, a player I’ve always liked (just not in New Orleans) looked solid in his preseason outing, rushing for 83 yards and one touchdown on eight carries. Khiry Robinson is the dark horse runner in that three-headed rotation; he is the guy I’d bank on if I was hoping for insane upside given the investment. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?
Saints WR Brandin Cooks pulled in five passes for 55 yards and 1TD in Friday night’s preseason opener against the Rams.
SMITTY: There is a reason this kid once sat at our No. 2-ranked rookie receiver spot (ahead of Mike Evans) — and that was back when almost no site around head him inside the top five rookie receivers. He is back in the two spot, sorry Evans. The kid has mad skills and it’s crystal-clear that the Saints aren’t going to sit this ultra-talented speedster on the bench in 2014. Check out these monster full-season projections for Brandin Cooks. Also, check out where he falls on our Dynasty Rankings.
According to nola.com, Saints QB Drew Brees had this to say about rookie WR Brandin Cooks: “Feed me, feed me information. He absorbs it very quickly and goes out and applies it. I’d say that’s pretty rare for a young guy.”
SMITTY: Brandin Cooks has all kinds of “home run” upside, even as a rookie. Occasionally rookie wide receivers come along and post 1,000-yard seasons during their first campaigns. Well, if anyone can do that, it’s Cooks, who arguably has one of the best situations any rookie could ask for (pulling in passes from Drew Brees, and having defensive attention on Jimmy Graham, who is 80/1,200/12+ capable). Any receiver in this situation would have rookie upside, but when you mix in Cooks’ skill set with that Saints air attack, the sky is the limit, and this is especially the case entering his second NFL season. Looking for 2014 Brandin Cooks Fantasy Football Projections?
According to ESPN, teammates of Saints WR Brandin Cooks claim that the rookie is playing at a different speed than everyone else when on the field.
SMITTY: His teammates have also nicknamed him “lightning”. Brandin Cooks and Jordan Matthews are in a competition to be this year’s Keenan Allen. Both receivers have been drafted into high-octane passing attacks and both should have enough targets to feed a five-year veteran. These two will absolutely have a shot at Rookie of the Year honors in 2014.
According to Jimmy Graham on Twitter, the Saints and Jimmy Graham have agreed upon a contract extension. “It’s official I’m bleeding black and gold this morning! Thank you WhoDatNation for all the support,” Graham tweeted.
SMITTY: The deal reportedly makes Jimmy Graham the highest paid tight end in the league. The deal is said to be a four-year deal worth $40 million (with $21 million guaranteed). Graham had his best season as a pro in 2014, dropping 86 receptions for 1,215 yards and 16TDs. While it’s hard to imagine even Graham duplicating such a season, we wouldn’t bet against the “receiving” talent. Our Draft Analyzer has Graham dominating all other tight ends entering 2014, and it has him scoring like a top 8 wide receiver.
According to Ian Rapoport on Twitter, Saints TE Jimmy Graham has been ruled a tight end for franchise designation purposes.
SMITTY: Jimmy Graham was used as a wide receiver well over 60% of the time in 2013, but will be paid just over $7 million on his one-year deal vs. what could have been over $12 million had he been ruled a wide receiver. Expect Graham to once again lead all tight ends in fantasy scoring – He remains a top 12 overall fantasy player walking into 2014 and beyond. Looking for 2014 fantasy football projections for Graham and others?