Fantasy Football: 9 Sleeper Wide Receivers to Target in 2018
Cameron Meredith, New Orleans Saints
Targeting the Saints' offense in fantasy drafts has long been advantageous, and this year should be no different.
In the Sean Payton era, New Orleans' dynamic attack has historically supported quality fantasy outputs from two wide receivers, and in 2017, that trend continued, as Michael Thomas was the WR6 and Ted Ginn Jr. the WR34 in point-per-reception (PPR) formats. While the Saints skewed more to the run in 2017 than in previous seasons, they will be without Mark Ingram for the first four games due to suspension. Payton has vowed to not drastically increase Alvin Kamara's workload despite Ingram's absence, so there will be opportunity in this passing game in the first quarter of the year.
Taking a look at the Saints' depth chart from last season, they are losing a combined 68 targets from the departed Brandon Coleman and Willie Snead. They did add explosive playmaker Tre'Quan Smith in the third round of the draft, but Cameron Meredith should have the opportunity to inherit plenty of targets.
The last time we saw Meredith, he broke out with 66 receptions, 888 yards and 4 touchdowns on 97 targets in 2016 with the Bears. He had Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley throwing him the pigskin that year, and now he gets to catch passes from Drew Brees. It doesn't take much analysis to conclude that he is getting a substantial upgrade in supporting cast, and the value of his targets are going to increase in a big way in a much more fantasy-friendly offense.
Our own JJ Zachariason outlined here how valuable the "big slot" role has been in the Saints' passing attack, and by all accounts, Meredith is progressing nicely from the ACL injury that cost him all of 2017. There has even been reports that Meredith has been getting special attention from Brees after practice, which is always a positive sign.
Going off the board as the WR50 in fantasy drafts, Meredith has substantial upside at this draft cost, and finishing as a WR2 (top-24) is certainly within his range of outcomes. - Drew Crawford