Chances are, all of the Saints' receivers and tight ends will see slightly more targets instead of any one player replacing Jimmy Graham's production. That could mean a little more from Brandin Cooks, Kenny Stills, Benjamin Watson and Josh Hill. But the player that New Orleans will likely count on most is receiver Marques Colston, who works the middle of the field and the red zone in a similar fashion.
Colston has been up and down all season with some clutch catches but also a costly fumble in Week 1 and several drops. Quarterback Drew Brees will remain confident in him on those crucial third-down throws, though.
"I don't think it affects the receivers with Jimmy being out, other than it gives them more opportunities. I mean, Jimmy's balls have to go somewhere," Brees said. "Listen, that's Ben Watson, that's Josh Hill, the tight ends as a whole. And those guys are certainly capable and will do a great job, I've got so much confidence in them. But as a receiver corps, you just know throughout the course of a game those balls are getting spread out … you don't know how things are going to shake out."
The article identifies Colston as the biggest beneficiary, so owners should be more willing to plug him in the lineup after a rough start to the season. We believe that Josh Hill is the best play of the two tight ends, though it doesn't sound like he's going to see a huge number of snaps with Graham likely sidelined.
The Saints could choose to reduce the number of multiple tight end packages and go with more four-receiver looks against Detroit. That would mean increased snaps for Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston, Kenny Stills and Robert Meachem. It could also mean the Saints choose to activate a fifth receiver on game day -- either Joe Morgan or Nick Toon.
Graham's absence will increase the workload for Ben Watson and, to a lesser extent, Josh Hill. We'll start to find out this week if recent tight end acquisition Tom Crabtree will have a meaningful role in the offense.
Hill is more of a "move" TE than Watson, though it was Watson who was targeted heavily (7) when Jimmy Graham was injured. Hill has a couple of touchdowns on the season and can run. Hill played a season-high 32 snaps in Week 5, so he figures to get extra snaps with Graham out.
Monday, September 15, 2014, 11:24am
Brandin Cooks had 14 more snaps than Marques Colston who wasn't targeted in the game. Cooks had 55 to Colston's 41. It wasn't a great day for Saint WRs though as non had more than three catches. Robert Meachem led the way with 37 yards. Cooks played the most but had just 17 yards. He did have two rushes for 31 yards. As long as Jimmy Graham remains a target, Saint WRs will have a lot of up and down weeks.
Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm
Saints WR Kenny Stills (quadricep, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 2. The probable tag means that Stills should make his return in Week 2. He will likely play alongside Marques Colston and Brandin Cooks in three-wide sets, replacing Joe Morgan in the lineup.
Monday, September 8, 2014, 2:34pm
“He’s impressive,” Brees said. “He can do a lot of things. He’s a very smart player. He’s intense, when he’s out there, it’s business. He can do a lot of things for us.
“We’re really excited about him as we go along here, continuing to build packages around him and give him opportunities. Brandin can do some things. He’s explosive.”
Likewise, Cooks sees where there will be myriad opportunities for him to thrive in the Saints' offense. He was one of four players Sunday with at least five receptions and 58 receiving yards.
Although it was probably best to wait-and-see how Cooks was used before putting him in lineups, it's safe to say he'll be inserted starting Week 2. There will likely be up and down weeks for Cooks, however, as there are just too many targets in the Saints lineup. Kenny Stills was out of the lineup which certainly helped Cooks' targets and playing time. He was second among WRs in snaps behind Marques Colston.
Monday, September 8, 2014, 11:07am
The following are snap counts for the Saints RBs and WRs for Week 1 vs. Atlanta:
Running back: Pierre Thomas 34, Mark Ingram 20, Travaris Cadet 12, Khiry Robinson 12
Receiver: Marques Colston 64, Brandin Cooks 52, Joe Morgan 49, Robert Meachem 19
A couple of notes here: Thomas led all backs with 34. So much for being the Saints RB3. It looks like Thomas will have a big role with the offense but so will Ingram. Ingram had 14 touches while Thomas had 13, six of which were receptions. Robinson also had a TD in the game on six rushes. The other note is rookie WR Brandon Cooks who had 7 catches for 77 yards and a TD and even rushed one for 18 yards. Morgan played on 49 snaps but didn't record a catch.
he development of wide receiver Jarrett Boykin last season was a major reason why the Green Bay Packers felt comfortable allowing valuable veteran James Jones to depart for Oakland in unrestricted free agency. Boykin's further development this summer might limit the playing time of rookie Davante Adams.
In February, coach Mike McCarthy predicted that Boykin, who would be entering his third season, had another performance jump in him. On Tuesday, McCarthy left no doubt that he would think he was right.
"Clearly, Jarrett Boykin has taken the next step," McCarthy said. "I just love the way he plays. He's had an excellent camp.
"He's physical, his toughness, he's relentless. I think he's exceptional at the top of his route. You see his strength and balance to separate from a DB."
Adams, a second-round draft choice, has been feeling his way as the team's No. 4 receiver. He's had good days and some not so good ones.
After Randall Cobb went down, Boykin stepped in and served as the Packers de facto WR3, catching 49 passes for 681 yards and three scores. In games where he played at least 59% of the snaps, he averaged 4.3-61-.27, which equates to 124 fantasy points over a full season. That’s about what Marques Colston scored as the #27 WR in 2013. Cobb is back, but James Jones is gone, so Boykin should play a lot in the Packers’ patented three-wide attack. The only concern is rookie Davante Adams, but first-year wideouts don’t usually play much in Green Bay. Boykin seems to have held off Adams for the WR3 job, which bodes very well for his fantasy value.
Monday, August 18, 2014, 9:35pm
This season, Saints WR Kenny Stills will team with first-round draft pick Brandin Cooks to give the Saints elite speed at receiver. Their ability to stretch defenses, coupled with Marques Colston and Robert Meachem's knack for finding openings in schemes, should help tight end Jimmy Graham better operate around the field.
Now that he's back, Stills is back to improving on his rookie season where his speed helped him catch 32 passes for 641 yards and five touchdowns.
Stills returns from a quad injury but missed out on team building at The Greenbrier in West Virginia and missed out on getting in better shape. Even missed offensive snaps with QB Drew Brees. Stills and Cooks were close on our WR list at one opint, but now Cooks shot up to 34th while Stills is 44th. Just about anyone in the Saints offense can have value but the downfall is there could be some boom and bust weeks with both Cooks and Stills.
Sunday, August 17, 2014, 7:21pm
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 4:30pm
Saints WR Joe Morgan is in a dogfight, though for the fourth and fifth roster spots with Nick Toon and veteran Robert Meachem (also known for his combination of excellent blocking and deep speed). It’s hard to imagine the Saints will keep all three of them, since they typically keep only four receivers active on game days. But it’s also hard to imagine any of the three getting cut just yet.
Saints beat writer Mike Triplett: Nobody needed replay to see rookie receiver Brandin Cooks put on another dazzling display later in team drills. Cooks reeled in a touchdown pass of more than 50 yards from Luke McCown by leaping up and outdueling safety Pierre Warren for the ball. He later ran free behind the third-string defense to catch another deep ball from QB Logan Kilgore. As I've said many times, we really aren't overhyping Cooks. He simply keeps makes the biggest highlights on an almost-daily basis. I didn't think he'd be in a position to catch the deep ball against Warren, but sure enough, he rose to the challenge.
Cooks's ADP has risen into the late 6th round in PPR formats, going ahead of more established players like Marques Colston, Mike Wallace and Golden Tate. While this is too rich for our blood, there's no doubt that Cooks has had a tremendous offseason and has quite a bit of upside in the Saints' potent offense. Other than typical rookie growing pains, we're worried about the team's spread-it-around style supporting the current expectations for the young receiver.
This is certainly good news for Hilton owners, or potential owners, as he looks to be running as the team's WR1 with Reggie Wayne as the WR2. After Wayne got injured last season, Hilton put up low-end WR1 numbers. While he comes in ranked 24th on our WR list, his ADP is the sixth round which is about a round higher than guys like Mike Wallace and Marques Colston who are ranked nearby. It looks like you may have to reach a little for Hilton, but this news should make you feel better about doing it.
Friday, August 1, 2014, 6:51pm
Saints RB Tarvaris Cadet is expecting a larger role in the offense.
"Coach Payton is a mastermind," Cadet said. "He knows all of our tendencies and what not. I'm pretty sure he will put all of his players in the right positions to be successful.
"I feel like my role is going to increase a whole lot."
For all his talent, Cadet hasn't shown enough as running back to move up the depth chart in front of Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas. Same at receiver, where Marques Colston, Kenny Stills, Robert Meachem, rookie Brandin Cooks and others are expected to form the rotation.
Maybe Cadet is ready to change the rotation.
Thursday, July 31, 2014, 6:30pm
After four straight top 20 seasons, Colston finished #27 in 2013. He got off to a decent start (#27 WR through the first four weeks) before a midseason swoon where he caught a combined six catches for 44 yards against the Bears, Patriots and Bills. Then, over the final 10 games (including the postseason), he averaged 6.1 catches for 76 yards and 0.50 TD, which equate to fringe WR1-type numbers. The 31 year-old should benefit from the loss of Lance Moore and Darren Sproles, who saw a combined 143 targets last season. Health is a concern, but Colston has only missed four games in the last five seasons.
Rookie wide receivers rarely make a cannonball entrance in Green Bay. Jarrett Boykin will be difficult to dislodge. With Davante Adams, there are unknowns. With Boykin, knowns. He was one source of reliability when the season turned upside down.
Yet he's on notice. Adams may be a more athletic playmaker at receiver long term.
After Randall Cobb went down, Boykin stepped in and served as the Packers de facto WR3, catching 49 passes for 681 yards and three scores. In games where he played at least 59% of the snaps, he averaged 4.3-61-.27, which equates to 124 fantasy points over a full season. That’s about what Marques Colston scored as the #27 WR in 2013. Cobb is back, but James Jones is gone, and Boykin is likely to play a lot in the Packers’ patented three-wide attack, which should be more productive with Aaron Rodgers under center. Rookie Davante Adams is the wild card, but at this point the feeling is that Boykin will hold him off. Randall Cobb only played 27% snaps as a rookie, so Adams should see a similarly limited role.
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