Can Jameis Winston repeat his high-ceiling fantasy performance with the Saints?

Andy Behrens & Scott Pianowski discuss the injury to Drew Brees and his likely replacement, former number one overall pick Jameis Winston. Now, we never know what the Saints will ultimately do with Sean Payton at the helm and Taysom Hill in the wings, but if Winston assumes the role of starting QB in New Orleans, what sort of fantasy production can we expect from the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, who threw 33 TDs and 30 INTs in 2019?

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Video Transcript

ANDY BEHRENS: There's a lot of us who also play in 16-team leagues and greater-- obviously super flex formats. And those of us in those formats are going to have to get comfortable with some Jameis Winston bids this week. I want to talk about Winston separate from the rest of the quarterback field. We don't yet know officially that the Saints are going to start Winston in week 11. He was the direct replacement for Drew Brees, obviously in week 10. I think this was more Sean Payton just sort of being evasive and not necessarily tipping his hand fully until the end of the week. But I would expect it to be Winston. I'm going to bid as if it's going to be Winston.

Let's talk about him as-- like, we got a limited view of what it would look like for Jameis to drive the Saints' offense. He was 6-10, which doesn't seem bad, but he had a couple of ugly misfires. There was a Michael Thomas touchdown that should have been and Jameis just missed him, just sailed the ball over his head. So it wasn't great. It wasn't pretty.

We do know that Jameis is coming off a season in which he led the NFL on passing yardage, right. He also led the NFL in interceptions. It's a bit of a roller coaster ride with him. He loves to chuck it deep, which is one thing that I think is really-- is really going to be interesting about what this offense looks like, assuming it's him at the controls. Brees has been last in the league in intended air yards per target, like the entire year-- less than six air ads per target. Jameis averaged 10.5 last year. He was at the top of the league, right.

So, like, Jameis is more of a YOLO quarterback, right, willing to put the ball into traffic, certainly willing to push the ball downfield. So what does that look like? Does Sean Payton constrain him in any way? The match-up ahead is beautiful. It's about as good as it gets. It's Atlanta. They give up 310 passing yards per week. They give up over eight yards per attempt. Like, it is a dream match-up. And even with a smattering of Taysom Hill plays, I feel like Jameis can put up 300 yards against 'em.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: A lot to unpack there.

[LAUGHING]

I really like-- well first of all I've missed Jameis. I mean, last season was so fun.

ANDY BEHRENS: Right? Yeah.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Because he just-- you know, YOLO is the right word. I could use other acronyms that mean we shouldn't say on this show, but he just doesn't care.

[LAUGHING]

He just goes out there. I'm throwing it. My guy catches it. The other guy catches it. You know, if it's a pick-six, so what. We'll just reboot. So I've missed Jameis in my life. I do think he's going to be their starter. I know you could never really say that 100% certainty because of Sean Payton. We all know the hill that he will choose to die on his Taysom Hill. We've known that for a while now.

But the schedule is so favorable, not just Atlanta. You know, if Brees doesn't come back for several weeks, which almost looks like a certainty now, the Saints have a bunch of get well-- you know, if Michael Thomas is going to be introduced to this season, it's going to happen in the next few weeks when he's just going to-- a schedule he should feast on. And whenever a quarterback gets hurt in mid-game and somebody comes in, I want to be careful. You know, Winston didn't take first team reps. You know. The fact that he looked kind of shaky and rusty--

ANDY BEHRENS: Yeah.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: --is to be expected. Now they can give him the stuff that you do during the week with the first team. He'll be prepared to play. I'm not going to take much from-- I'm not going to like, grind the tape of what he did in the second half and apply that forward. I think that's just a fool's errand. But I believe in Payton. I still there's a lot of talent here. I don't really have a great answer of why Michael Thomas is having the year he's had. But you would think now he's presumably healthy.

And who knows, maybe just a different quarterback in his huddle would be a good thing. I mean, I hate to say anything bad about Drew Brees but maybe at this point Thomas needs something different, just to kind of get him going. And so I think this offense is going to be fun, maybe a little bit more mistake-prone, because Brees doesn't turn the ball over at all and we know who Jameis is.

But I think this is going to be a fun offense, and I think you're going to want a piece of it, whether it's, you know, secondary receiver with Sanders. You know, maybe the tight ends can start to get going. We know Kamara's having an outstanding fantasy season. But I'm excited to see what Jameis will do, and I will bid on him in all of my formats.