Dez Bryant's Fantasy Outlook After Signing 1-Year Saints Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2018

Dallas Cowboys' Dez Bryant in action during an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Philadelphia. Dallas won 6-0. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The New Orleans Saints signed veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant to a one-year deal on Wednesday, ending his sabbatical from the NFL and returning him to the fantasy football conversation.  

But just how valuable will Bryant be in New Orleans?

Well, if you're expecting Bryant to be an elite wideout or fantasy option, think again. That ship has sailed. Besides, New Orleans already has a clear No. 1 receiver in Michael Thomas (70 receptions on 79 targets for 880 yards and five touchdowns) and an offensive focal point in running back Alvin Kamara (490 rushing yards, 51 receptions on 66 targets for 427 yards, 12 total scores). 

Bryant isn't going to eat into either player's production, and at best might be the team's No. 3 option in the pass game.

For that role, he'll be competing with tight end Benjamin Watson (26 receptions on 32 targets for 292 yards and two scores) and wideout Tre'Quan Smith (12 receptions on 20 targets for 214 yards and three scores). 

The benefit of a player like Bryant, however, is that he doesn't need a ton of usage to be valuable from a fantasy perspective since he's a threat in the red zone given his leaping ability. Bryant has 73 touchdown receptions in his career, averaging 0.6 touchdowns per game. 

If he maintains his career average he should offer the Saints something down the stretch. And if he does so while seeing a decent amount of targets and receptions, Bryant could very well post flex numbers for fantasy players. 

Plus, Bryant should benefit from playing under an elite quarterback like Brees. With Thomas and Smith more than capable of stretching the field, and Kamara seeing the underneath targets, Bryant could potentially feast over the middle for the Saints. If he can slip into that role, he could eat into Watson's targets and carve a niche for himself. 

Of course, that may be the glass-half-full outlook. There is also a glass-half-empty perspective:

Still, it's hard to ignore that Bryant offers a more robust skill set than Cameron Meredith or Watson. For that reason, he has legitimate WR3 and flex upside and should absolutely be rostered in all formats. He may not hit that upside, but he's worth a roster spot to find out.

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