Saints Fantasy: Start Winston or Hill at QB1 in 2021?

New Orleans Saints quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill enter an offseason battle to claim to reins as the starting quarterback. But should either be considered a fantasy football QB1 in 2021?
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The New Orleans Saints will witness a starting quarterback competition for the first time in fifteen years. Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill are ready to battle for the rights to Drew Brees' vacant throne. 

However, will either hold the same fantasy value in the Saints offense as Brees did in his prime?

A month ago I wrote about the value both Winston and Hill would hold in fantasy if they won the starting quarterback job.  Both are coming off of strong fantasy stretches (Taysom Hill in 2020 and Jameis Winston in 2019) but neither earned consideration as a top QB1 player from week to week. 

This could change this season.

Making the Case: QB Taysom Hill 

21.1 PPG as a Starter in 2020

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Taysom Hill miraculously led thousands into their Fantasy Football League playoffs in 2020. Despite his inconsistencies during his four-week audition as the Saints starter, Hill's athleticism and speed as a mobile quarterback made him an intriguing QB1 option. 

If there is a red flag on Taysom Hill's fantasy value, he fares best if he can effectively run the football. Without his ability to snuff out the end zone with his legs, Hill was average at best in fantasy last season. His four rushing touchdowns in four weeks provided a spark for those who started him. 

Should Hill become the starter for the Saints, he will need to rely more on his receiving weapons and less on his feet. While this may hurt his immediate fantasy value, his ability to find the end zone and turn a scramble drill into a 20-yard gain is enough reason to pay a close on him. 

I called Hill a "roster lock" for fantasy football owners if he is the Saints field general come September.

If Hill continued his 21.1-point output for an entire season, he would have ranked in the top eight fantasy football quarterbacks for the 2020 season and top three for the 2019 season. These lofty rankings are due to his ability to gash defenses through the run, propelling him into a QB1 position for most fantasy matchups. Hill has only started four games at quarterback in his NFL career, but he has proved to be a quality fantasy option despite the small sample size. If Hill wins the reins to New Orleans’ offense in 2021, he will be a roster lock in all leagues.

Taysom Hill's Fantasy Projection in 2021, Saints News Network (04/14/2021)

Making the Case: QB Jameis Winston 

19.1 PPG as Bucs Starter in 2019

Jameis Winston - Saints Quarterback

The 2019 Fantasy Football world had a love/hate relationship with Jameis Winston. The former Buccaneers quarterback passed for over 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, but his 30+ interceptions kept him back from being the top fantasy play at QB1 during that season. Even with the outrageous amount of turnovers, Winston finished in the top-five scoring quarterbacks in fantasy without an abundance of talent around him.

Should Jameis earn the starting quarterback job, he should be considered a Top-10 QB1 play in standard-scoring fantasy football leagues. 

Winston will have two of the top offensive weapons in the league at his disposal in Kamara & Thomas.  New Orleans' stellar offensive line will allow him to be a game manager rather than be a gunslinger. 

Even with a new playing style, I predict Winston to be a potential elite fantasy option in 2021.

If Winston ends up starting on the Bayou, expect a similar output to his days in Tampa Bay. Winston averaged between 16.6-19.1 points during his tenure with the Buccaneers. A similar points per week average in 2021 would elevate Winston to a solid starter in an average 10-12 team fantasy league. His production should fall right around the 18.7 average that the Saints’ backup quarterbacks over the last two years possessed with a chance to exceed that level and become a perennial elite fantasy football quarterback.

New Orleans is still trying to determine if the 2015 first-rounder can be the next Saints’ franchise quarterback. However, fantasy football owners can trust Winston to manufacture a starter-level season with a chance of even greater upside as a mid-round draft pick.

"Jameis Winston's Projected Value in 2021, Saints News Network, 04/05/2021

Regardless of who starts for the Saints in the 2021 NFL regular season, it is a safe bet to roster either man.  Both Winston and Hill have shown the ability to win games their franchises and fantasy owners. 

Keep a close eye on them during your drafts in the late summer and early fall because you may get a fantasy draft day steal with either member of the Black and Gold.


Follow Saints News Network’s Writer, Brendan Boylan, on Twitter & Instagram at @btboylan.

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