Cameron Meredith burst onto the fantasy football scene in 2016. Injuries to Kevin White and Alshon Jeffery bumped him up the depth chart to WR2 and even WR1 for a few weeks. Two years later, he is on a new team looking to prove himself once again. The New Orleans Saints signed him to a two year, $9.5 million contract this offseason after the Chicago Bears declined to match that offer. Meredith missed the 2017 season because of a torn ACL and MCL, but he has since made a full recovery and has been practicing with seemingly no restrictions in training camp so far.
Brees connects with Meredith. pic.twitter.com/2vXUNw5mFq
— Luke Johnson (@ByLukeJohnson) July 26, 2018
The role planned for Meredith is relatively clear with Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Ted Ginn, and Brandon Coleman all returning for the 2018 season. The Saints also invested a 3rd round pick in wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith. The Saints have options on offense and will likely decide to continue to use players in specialized roles. Meredith will be the slot receiver. Thomas will retain his spot as the WR1, while Ginn and Smith will compete for playing time as a deep threat on the other boundary. Meredith will essentially be replacing the role held by Willie Snead in 2016. That role was replaced by a committee in 2017 after a suspension and injuries derailed Willie Snead’s season.
The Saints offense does look incredibly crowded. This is still a good situation to buy into because the Saints have historically done well producing multiple fantasy relevant players every season. It isn’t unrealistic to believe that Meredith will be the 3rd receiving option in the Saints offense behind Thomas and Kamara. At worst, Meredith will compete with Ginn for the WR2 share of targets in the offense.
Meredith has an average ADP of about 150 and is roughly viewed as a WR5 in most drafts. To meet the expectations of that draft position, based on last year’s scoring, you would need 120-130 points out of Meredith in a standard scoring PPR league. Anything above that would be considered extra value. Let me explain why I believe that he will exceed those expectations this year.
In 2016, Meredith recorded 66 catches for 888 yards and four touchdowns in just 14 games. This came with Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley throwing him the ball. Meredith’s 2016 campaign would have been the equivalent of a very solid WR3 last season. With Drew Brees now throwing him the ball, Meredith will be due for another impressive season if he can maintain the same level of performance that he showed in 2016.
Last year, as the 3rd receiving option on the Saints, Ted Ginn caught 53 of 70 targets for 787 yards in 15 games. He ended the season as the 34th highest scoring WR in PPR formats. One year earlier, Willie Snead caught 72 of 104 targets for 895 yards as the 3rd receiving option in the Saints offense. He finished that season as the 32nd highest scoring WR in PPR formats. If you apply Meredith’s 2016 catch rate and yards per target to those seasons you get a floor of 51 catches for 685 yards with a ceiling of 75 catches for 1,015 yards.
In the graph above I project Meredith to score 4 TDs, which is the exact amount that he scored in 2016, the same that Snead scored in 2016, and the same that Ginn scored in 2017. Even disregarding any additional points earned from touchdowns, Meredith is essentially being drafted and valued at his floor.
The WR2 in the Saints offense has averaged nearly 197 fantasy points over the past three seasons (post-Jimmy Graham era) while the WR3 has averaged just under 128 fantasy points per season in that same timespan. Meredith, as the WR2 for the Saints, is being projected to score right around what the average WR3 scores in that offense. To me, that does not make sense.
The worst case scenario for a healthy Cameron Meredith is that you get exactly what you pay for: A WR5 that will give you a handful of really good games throughout the season. If everything goes as planned with Meredith earning a solid role in the offense and developing chemistry with Drew Brees, you will be getting a consistent WR3 for the price of a WR5. With a little bit of touchdown luck or extra targets as a result of injury, you just might get a week-winning WR2 at less than half the price.
Go out and trade for Cameron Meredith or target him in any startup draft. He has great value in virtually every format and will be an increasingly valuable asset in dynasty leagues after he puts together another quality season as a 26-year-old. Buy into him now while you can still get him at such an affordable price!
Follow me on Twitter @DFF_Blizzard and follow the rest of the #DFFArmy. Let me know what you think of Cameron Meredith for this season and going forward!