The New Orleans Saints aren’t the prolific fantasy football producer they were when Drew Brees was in his prime. But there are still players making plays in 2021. There’s a heavy emphasis on the running game and no superstar pass catchers. Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway have been making plays when they need to, but are they starters in fantasy lineups in Week 12 and beyond?
Neither Tre’Quan Smith nor Marquez Callaway has become the focal point of the offense
Callaway is the most-targeted WR on the team. Inefficiency and struggles turning those targets into receptions have plagued his season, though. It was always unlikely that Callaway would replace Michael Thomas or even Emmanuel Sanders. Despite that, fantasy managers were hoping for more consistency. He has just 25 catches on 47 targets for 372 yards. The factor that can’t be overlooked, however, is his ability to score touchdowns.
Callaway has found the end zone 6 times already this season. He has only caught 6 passes in the last three games, but that has included 3 touchdowns. He’s scored in each of the Saints’ last three games, and while it’s a risk to expect that to continue, we all know the value of players who score touchdowns in fantasy football.
Smith’s role has continued to grow every week since he returned from a hamstring injury. He has 15 targets in his last two games, catching 9 for 108 yards and a touchdown. The Saints are a low-volume passing offense, so that will limit his ceiling. Still, Smith is the Saints’ top option at wide receiver at the moment and looks to be building chemistry with quarterback Trevor Siemian.
The third option, who is leading the Saints in receiving yards per game, is Deonte Harris. Harris is a big-play threat. He’s averaging 16.1 yards per reception and has caught 26 of his 40 targets for 418 yards, the highest mark on the team. Harris has also had 4 or more targets in five of his last six games. He is a part of the offense. If the Saints need to move the ball downfield, then Harris is one of the primary options.
The Saints face a lockdown Bills defense in Week 12
When it comes to fantasy matchups for wide receivers, no team is limiting the position’s output as much as the Buffalo Bills are. The Bills allow the fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers in both standard and points per reception (PPR) scoring. Sometimes fantasy points can be distorted by a particularly strong performance in one metric or weak performance in another, but the statistics back this up.
The Bills are one of 22 teams who have only played 10 games. No team has allowed fewer receiving yards to wide receivers, though. The 3 touchdowns from WRs against them are 2 fewer than the next best mark in the league. They have caused better quarterbacks than Siemian to struggle, and there’s no guarantee that the Saints don’t try a different game plan this week.
Which Saints WR should you start in Week 12?
All three players are risky starts this week, and you’ll likely have better options available to you. Taysom Hill, the versatile offensive weapon, started games at QB last season. He could receive an increased workload after being eased back into the rotation following a concussion.
Hill’s a run-first quarterback, and wide receivers have struggled to produce with him under center in the past. Head coach Sean Payton is known for his fondness for Hill. Already low fantasy ceilings would get lower if he saw increased playing time.