The 2021 NFL Season kicked off on Thursday, as the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium by the score of 31-29. However, these were not the only champions to make their 2021 debut, as millions of championship winning Fantasy Football Owners began their title defense on Thursday as well.
When it comes to the Saints in fantasy this season, it is highlighted by a familiar face in Alvin Kamara. And while AK went in the first round in nearly every draft, that does not mean he is the only member of the Black and Gold who will produce this season.
Join me throughout the 17-week NFL regular season as I break down the Saints you should start, sit, and stash to reclaim a title or dethrone last year's champion. Below begins my 2021 Saints Fantasy Football: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em, and Stash 'Em with Week 1.
Start 'Em: WR Marquez Callaway (21.3 Fantasy Points in 2020)
Marquez Callaway provided a needed boost to the Saints receiving corps last season during a plethora of injuries. The UDFA out of the University of Tennessee impressed many fans and analysts in his rookie campaign despite playing in only 11 games, not reaching the end zone, and posting less than 2 standard fantasy points per game.
So why should fantasy owners be so high on a guy who did not produce over 300 receiving yards last season? Well to start, Callaway was PFF's highest graded offensive player this preseason at 95.9 overall through two games. The second year man was expected to see an expanded role in the offense prior to the beginning of the offseason, but between injuries and an excellent camp, now finds himself as the Saints number one receiver for Week 1.
Saints starting quarterback Jameis Winston showed his trust in the young wide receiver, and has developed chemistry throughout the preseason. Despite the Packers earning a Top-10 finish against the pass this year, Callaway has emerged as Winston's favorite target and looks to see his dominant pre-season translate into the regular season.
Sit ' Em: TE Adam Trautman (23.1 Fantasy Points in 2020)
The 'Big Fish' could find himself with a solid fantasy season as a sophomore, but has a long way to go. As a rookie, Trautman made the most of his opportunities collecting 15 receptions for 171 yards, a touchdown. But in 2021, the Patriot League Player of the Year finds himself as Sean Payton's number one tight end, a position that has seen a lot of success in New Orleans.
New Orleans has found continued successful production from the tight end position dating back to the early 2010s with Jimmy Graham, who produced over 225 Fantasy points (PPR) per season between 2012-14. Tight ends Ben Watson (190.5 PPR in 2015) and Jared Cook (167.5 PPR in 2019) also sported solid fantasy production during their time in the Black and Gold. However, Trautman is a different animal.
The near 6-foot-6 tight end is an incredible in-line blocker who will serve as more of a true tight end than the fore-mentioned Saints of past. Until he can prove to be a high-catch volume guy, particularly in the end-zone, No. 82 should remain on your bench as an emergency option at best.
Stash 'Em: RB Tony Jones Jr. (1.3 Fantasy Points in 2020)
Tony Jones Jr. has shot up fantasy wavier wires over the past few days following the release of RB Latavius Murray. Jones showed off an impressive training camp and preseason that included an 82-yard performance against the Baltimore Ravens. Expect Jones to see a similar work-rate as Murray over the past two seasons in New Orleans (146 carries per season) but I am not ready to jump on the Jones Jr. hype train yet.
All in all, this is Alvin Kamara's show and the only running back worth giving a start to at RB1 or RB2 in the Black and Gold. Even looking back at Murray's 2020 season, he ranked 32nd in the league among eligible running backs (113.2 points) making him a FLEX option at best.
If you're in a really deep league and need a FLEX play, I might give you the okay to start Jones but in any other case Sit him this week and see what happens. Jones Jr., the second year man from Notre Dame, is the perfect example of a fantasy stash player.
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