2022 New Orleans Saints Odds, Schedule, & Fantasy Football Team Preview
Hello Grinders, welcome to the New Orleans Saints preview. We’re just weeks away from the start of the 2022 NFL season so I’m excited for what’s on the horizon. There are a ton of question marks surrounding the Saints, and most importantly they surround their key offensive weapons in Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. Let’s dive in and break down this New Orleans team.
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2022 New Orleans Saints Schedule, Lines, and Best Bets
Projected Odds, derived & modified from data originally published by Sean Koerner here.
Win Total and Total Games Favored:
8 (-130) / 6 Games Favored ( 2 Big Favorites / 1 Big Dogs)
The Saints went 9-8 last season but are projected for a 8-9 season, so they are expected to have some negative regression. Being in the NFC South is a bit of a double-edged sword in that it means having to face the Bucs twice in a season, but they also get to their face division rivals the Falcons and Panthers twice. Currently, they are favorites in those four games so it’s overall a net win for the Saints.
As mentioned above, the Saints’ success will ride on the health of Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas, as well as the status of Alvin Kamara. Winston tore his ACL in late October but is expected to be available in Week 1. The team brought in Andy Dalton as insurance, and have moved on from Taysom Hill at quarterback. Hill remains with the team but will instead be primarily a tight end and used in short-yardage situations. As for Michael Thomas, he missed all of 2021 due to an ankle injury and is reported to be running without limitations, but note he’s played just seven total games over the last two seasons so it’s fair to remain skeptical of his prospects for the 2022 season. Lastly, Alvin Kamara was arrested in Las Vegas back in February after a nightclub fight following the Pro Bowl. The Saints are still waiting for the legal proceedings to finish but there is a chance the NFL hands Kamara a suspension of some kind for the 2022 season.
Best Bet: Under 8.5 Wins // -120 on FanDuel
While playing their division-mates twice a season is a good thing for the Saints given the Panthers and Falcons don’t profile too hot, there are too many scary question marks surrounding the Saints right now. Winston will only have been a year removed from his ACL tear, and while Andy Dalton is a competent NFL quarterback, Dalton will be 35 in October and had a modest 8:9 touchdown-to-interception ratio last season over six starts. With rumors that Alvin Kamara could be suspended for at least six games and with nobody knowing for sure how Michael Thomas will hold up over a full season, there’s too many what-ifs for me to trust that the Saints will have a winning season. I like the Under 8.5 wins bet for the Saints.
New Orleans Saints Props
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Favorite Prop: Chris Olave Under 60.5 Receptions
Don’t get me wrong, I like Chris Olave as a receiver and he does have a clear path to starting on three-wide sets. But I’m taking the Under here for a few reasons. The first is that he’s still going to be running behind Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, for however long Thomas can stay healthy. Secondly, Olave profiles more as a downfield threat than a possession receiver, which is what Landry was brought in for. Taking the Over would mean Olave would have to average around 3.6 receptions per game assuming he plays all 17 games. With the Saints being so run heavy last season, no receiver had more receptions on the Saints than Marquez Callaway and his 46 receptions. Again, I do think that changes with Thomas/Landry/Olave now in town, but putting faith in a rookie wide receiver to have have nearly 15 more receptions than any receiver had on the team in the prior season seems like a big task. Last season, there were five rookie wide receivers who reached the over 60.5 receptions (Jaylen Waddle, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Ja’Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts, DeVonta Smith), so it’s not the easiest prop to hit.
New Orleans Saints Fantasy Football Projections
Team Rankings and Ratings
Offense Ranks: Rank 21/ Average Rush / Average Pass/ Rank 21 Points For)
Defense Ranks: Rank 13/ Strong Rush / Very Strong pass / Rank 13 Points Allowed)
Opponent Strength – Rushing: 8 difficult vs. rush. 4 soft vs. rush.
Opponent Strength – Passing: 7 difficult vs. pass. 6 soft vs. pass.
The Saints’ defense has been their strength, and they bolstered that defense this off-season by bringing in Tyrann Mathieu. The Saints were among the top half of the league in defense last season and the Saints’ success this season likely depends on whether their defensive unit can be strong again. Mathieu was brought in to help replace the loss of Marcus Williams, who left for a five-year deal with the Ravens. PFF graded the Saints as having the 5th best coverage unit but Mathieu is 30 years old, so it will be interesting to see if New Orleans can maintain a similar level of elite defense as last season.
It’s also worth noting that the Saints lost LT Terron Armstead to free agency where he signed a five-year contract with the Dolphins. Armstead’s 2021 season was marred by injuries but Armstead was a Pro Bowler between 2018-2020 so this is a sizable loss for the Saints on their offensive line.
New Orleans Saints Top Fantasy Football Plays & Picks
Noteworthy Depth Chart
QB: Jameis Winston – Underdog Rank: 167 (ADP 149 / -10.78% ADP Gap)
RB: Alvin Kamara – Underdog Rank: 52 (ADP 34 / -34.62% ADP Gap)
RB: Mark Ingram – Underdog Rank: 150 (ADP 175 / 16.67% ADP Gap)
WR: Michael Thomas – Underdog Rank: 76 (ADP 79 / 3.95% ADP Gap)
WR: Chris Olave – Underdog Rank: 93 (ADP 96 / 3.23% ADP Gap)
WR: Jarvis Landry – Underdog Rank: 124 (ADP 127 – 2.42% ADP Gap)
TE: Adam Trautman – Underdog Rank: 202 (ADP 259 / 28.22% ADP Gap)
New Additions of Note: Andy Dalton, QB // Jarvis Landry, WR // Chris Olave (Draft), WR // Tyrann Mathieu, S
Departures of Note: Trevor Siemian, QB // Ty Montgomery, RB // Terron Armstead, OL // Marcus Williams, S
The Saints focused on improving their receiving corps this offseason, bringing on Jarvis Landry and drafting Chris Olave with the #11 pick. Landry is coming off a down year where he totaled just 52 receptions and two touchdowns with the Browns, but his addition gives Jameis Winston a reliable #2 target assuming #1 option Michael Thomas is healthy. Meanwhile, Olave was drafted in the 1st round and is coming off a college career that saw him lead Ohio State in all-time receiving touchdowns. Olave has a chance to make an immediate impact as a starter and likely runs in front of Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith. Olave will operate more as a down-field threat so he’ll have some appeal as a boom/bust DFS option as Thomas and Landry likely see the bulk of the passing volume.
It’s worth noting that the Saints still have reliable Mark Ingram as their RB2 should Alvin Kamara get suspended. Ingram split time between the Texans and Saints last season, finishing with just two total touchdowns. The Saints actually had a 48.5% run rate last season, 3rd highest in the NFL. With Taysom Hill now at tight end it’s possible the Saints go more pass-heavy this season, especially with their additions of Landry and Olave. But this is something worth monitoring because New Orleans did show a propensity to go run-heavy last season and if we see Kamara suspended and/or Winston not ready for the season, it’s possible the Saints once again lean more on the run.
How I treat the Saints for DFS purposes will then ultimately depend on the health of Winston/Thomas, and the looming suspension status of Kamara. This offense may get stale quickly if we see Andy Dalton under center and Mark Ingram as their every-down back, but we should have a better sense of this Saints team as the preseason rolls on.
Image Credit: Imagn