Apr 15, 2008
It was no forgone conclusion that RB Deuce McAllister was going to return to the Saints, but once he officially agrees to restructure his contract today, he’ll be back. And unless his knee is very problematic, it looks like McAllister will be a contributor for the Saints.
While the presence of McAllister creates more of a committee at running back, this has to be considered a good thing for the Saints. QB Drew Brees put up huge numbers throwing the ball a disproportionate number of times for most of the season, but the lack of a consistent running game was the main reason Brees was terrible for most of September. With Deuce and his power running game in the fold, Brees’ play and season will have more balance, and there will likely be more opportunities down the field for Brees to make big plays to guys like Devery Henderson, David Patten, and hopefully Robert Meacham. The long ball was definitely missing from the Saint offense last year, and their lack of a consistent running game was one of the big reasons why. Head coach Sean Payton simply couldn’t dictate to defenses like he did back in 2006. Instead, they had to scratch and claw on offense and rely on Brees’ ability to get the ball out quickly and accurately to his receivers.
If Deuce can give them 12-15 carries a game that will make Reggie Bush a better player. In fact, Bush is better off playing alongside McAllister than he is playing as a lone featured back. That’s a fairly clear at this point based on Bush’s rookie season and his so-so sophomore campaign. The player whose value should be minimal if Deuce is healthy is Pierre Thomas, who looked terrific once they finally gave him a chance in Week Seventeen.
But for now, we should be optimistic on the Saint offense. If Deuce is doing well in training camp and looks poised to help the ball club this year, we should be very optimistic. At this point, we should know what all these players are for fantasy, too. Brees is an excellent starter; Marques Colston is the real deal and a legit #1 fantasy WR; Bush is a shaky #2 RB but a damn good one still in a PPR league; and David Patten is a viable guy to have around for depth. TE Eric Johnson is a decent backup. The one player to watch is Meacham. It looks as though he’s over his injury issues from last year. If he’s ready to emerge, then the Saint offense will be even more potent. I’m nowhere near ready to tab Meacham as a sleeper, but he’s definitely someone who could come out of nowhere and do well. They drafted him for a reason: he has very good size, speed, and explosiveness.