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Fantasy Scouting Report: New Orleans Saints D/ST

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 30: Linebacker Jonathan Vilma #51 of the New Orleans Saints yells during play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 30, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Joe FortenbaughCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2009

New Orleans Saints     

Bye Week:  5

Why We Like Them: 


Forget everything you know about the Saints defense. All of that changed this offseason with the hiring of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. If there is one thing Williams will instill in this unit, it will be accountability (just ask NFP Analyst Matt Bowen, who played for Williams in Washington). 


Williams runs a “ball disruption” style of defense, meaning players are graded out on Mondays based on how often they disrupt a play (tipped passes, forced fumbles, etc).


The Saints addressed some of their concerns this offseason by signing free agent safety Darren Sharper and cornerback Jabari Greer. Sharper brings some much needed leadership to a defensive unit that has struggled greatly over the past few seasons.


They used their first round pick on cornerback Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio State).  

Why We Don’t Like Them: 


There is still a long way to go. Williams inherited a defense that struggled big time against the pass last season, ranking 23rd (221.7 yards/gm) in the NFL. In addition, the Saints had difficulty getting after the quarterback (28 sacks, 22nd) and stopping opposing teams from scoring (24.6 points/gm, 26th). 


If defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant struggle this year getting upfield and causing pressure off the edge, look for New Orleans’ defensive woes to continue.

Fantasy Outlook: 


The words “Saints” and “defense” used to go together like “Pacman” and “role model”, but all of that has now changed with the hiring of Williams to run the defense.


The Saints still have one of the best offenses in the NFL. If quarterback Drew Brees and company can continue scoring at the rate they did last season, it will force opposing offenses to try and keep up, which will result in turnovers and sacks if the Saints get a good pass rush. 


There's a lot of fantasy potential here, but we advise you to consider them as a No. 2 D/ST in deeper leagues until they show us they can get the job done. Don’t be scared to take a flier on them late in the draft if you already locked up a quality starting D/ST.

You can check out more of these scouting reports in the 2009 National Football Post Fantasy Draft Guide.

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