NFL News & Analysis

New Orleans Saints name Jameis Winston as starting quarterback

Aug 14, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) runs on the field before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints have named Jameis Winston as their Week 1 starting quarterback.

Winston was near-perfect in Monday night’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, his first start since the end of 2019, completing nine of his 10 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

The former No. 1 overall pick signed with New Orleans last offseason with the intention of learning from Drew Brees and Sean Payton.


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FANTASY FOOTBALL IMPACT

Alvin Kamara’s targets are safe: The biggest fear of having Taysom Hill at quarterback was that his mobility would lessen Kamara’s target share in the offense. When Hill started in 2020, Kamara’s target share tanked (21% versus 13%) as a result of the quarterback’s tendency to run. Crisis averted. Click here to read the optimal approach for picking RBs in 2021.

Buy wide receiver Marquez CallawayWinston’s average depth of target ranks first since 2019, so expect him to keep chucking deep to Callaway, who has emerged as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver in the wake of the Michael Thomas injury. Callaway/Winston connected five times for 104 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2 of the preseason (19.8 aDOT). Click here to find PFF's 2021 fantasy rankings.

Take a late-round flier on Juwan JohnsonThe wide receiver-tight end convert looks to have a sizable role as the team’s primary pass-catching tight end, and that’s a recipe for success with Winston under center. He and Winston should have a chance to build a strong connection in the red zone, as the polarizing passer has found success targeting his big-bodied tight ends in potential scoring situations. Since 2015, Winston has 32 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions when targeting tight ends in the red zone.

PFF's 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit includes links to every article, tool and chart to best prepare you for your fantasy football draft. This will be updated regularly between now and Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.

NFL IMPACT

Big-time throws won Winston the job: Winston made two big-time throws in Week 2 of the preseason, demonstrating how much higher his ceiling is than Hill's. Throughout his time as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback, Winston never ranked worse than fourth in percentage of throws earning a positive PFF grade in a single season. Click here to read PFF's 2021 QB Annual.

Mistakes are still likely: Winston never ranked better than 25th in percentage of throws earning a negative grade. He comes with baggage and is likely to be the same kind of volatile player he was in Tampa, but this is the best-case scenario for the New Orleans Saints.

Hill remains in more of a gadget role: The arm talent just isn’t there for Hill to be an effective starting quarterback in the NFL. He earned a 69.8 passing grade across 154 dropbacks in 2020. He attempted nine deep passes on those reps with only one resulting in a big-time throw and two being a turnover-worthy play.

BETTING IMPACT

The Saints are currently 3-point underdogs Week 1 at home against the Green Bay Packers. PFF's new Power Rankings Tool offers projections based off 10,000 season simulations given Team Point Spread Ratings, Strength of Schedule and team records.

The Saints' season-long win total over/under is 9 at DraftKings. PFF's Betting Futures Tool reveals betting opportunities within season win total and future markets.

Know tomorrow, today. Western Southern Financial Group.
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