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Klint Kubiak’s fantasy impact: Saints wide receivers

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By: benestey

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How will Kubiak’s new offensive system effect the WRs when it comes to fantasy football?

Football never stops for the New Orleans Saints so why should we? We may have just watched the Kansas City Chiefs hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy but it’s never too early to start thinking about fantasy football. NFL teams don’t wait around until August to start planning for the football season so why should you wait on the fantasy season? It’s the moves that are made all throughout the off-season that shape these teams and player situations. This is the time of year when NFL organizations are finalizing their coaching staffs: general managers. head coaches, coordinators and even positional coaches. Each of these may have an impact on your favorite fantasy targets.

The Saints were in the thick of it to start the off-season in this exact category with the firing of long-time offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and the subsequent hiring of Klint Kubiak. This long-awaited move comes with the anticipation that the offense will look vastly different in 2024 than it did in the last few Carmichael years. So how should we expect the Saints weapons to look when it comes to fantasy football next season? Let’s take a look at Klint Kubiak throughout his coaching years and forecast how he might impact each positional group moving forward.

Wide Receivers:

The Saints receivers in 2023 were just about as consistently inconsistent as Derek Carr was and that is no surprise. As the quarterback goes the wide receivers will certainly follow. Coming into the year, there was quite a bit of fantasy hope and expectations coming out of New Orleans. Will Chris Olave take the superstar leap in year 2? Can Rasheed Shaheed continue the momentum after breaking onto the scene the year prior? If Michael Thomas stays healthy enough, could be worth a flier? All of these questions were answered but not with the utmost of confidence. Olave did improve in year two to the tune of 15 more catches and almost 100 additional yards from 2022. But for most of the season, he and Carr were not on the same page and Olave never leveled up to be that true WR1 for your team. Rasheed Shaheed nearly doubled his number of targets and yards this season. But he still was too boom/bust to trust in your lineup each week. Lastly, Michael Thomas played the first 10 games of the year before getting hurt yet again. Thomas appeared to be a better real-life receiver than a meaningful fantasy receiver. His production was consistent, but you could have done better. As you can see each player had a valid “yeah, but” attached to them this season. Hopefully Kubiak can change the “yeah, but” to a “yeah, and”.

If you are looking for wide receiver fantasy success for Klint Kubiak, you don’t have to look much further than his days with the Minnesota Vikings. His first year featured a WR19 finish for Stefon Diggs which is solid. But the following year is where we struck absolute fantasy gold. The 2020 Vikings with Kubiak as the QB coach saw not one but two receivers finish in the top 10 that season. Adam Thielen at WR9 and Justin Jefferson at WR7. While you may think “Okay, but Klint Kubiak was just the QB Coach. How did he impact the receivers that much?” To that I say “See 2021” where Kubiak took over as offensive coordinator for the Vikings and we saw Justin Jefferson explode. 108 catches, over 1600 yards and double-digit touchdowns. Massive season finishing at WR4 for the star receiver with Kubiak running the offense. The Saints new OC established multiple years and different players with fantasy success during his time in Minnesota.

Kubiak followed up his Vikings tenure with a stop with the Denver Broncos for the 2022 season. As previously mentioned in our Quarterback segment of this review, the 2022 Broncos offense was not a pretty sight. So, we won’t travel down misery lane taking about the offense. But we will mention that it wasn’t all dooms day for the wide receivers that year. Even with shaky QB play and Nathaniel Hackett, the Broncos receivers did find some success. Courtland Sutton finished the year with over 60 catches and 800+ yards, which doesn’t move the needle in fantasy but still is notable considering the surroundings. Jerry Jeudy finished the season as a backend WR2 for your team with nearly 1000 yards and 6 touchdowns. So again, the offense wasn’t ideal, but Bronco wide receivers still found a way to make an impact for your fantasy team.

2023 brings us to our favorite Kubiak coaching stop and brings back the outstanding success from the wide receiver corps. As the Passing Game Coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, Kubiak had a big influence on how well their receivers did. Both Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel finished WR13 or better in total points scored. These results include Samuel missing a handful of games during the season. Aiyuk finished with a career high in catches and yards on his way to being the 12th best receiver last year. Both of them were high end players for your roster all season long. Solid #1 receivers if you went RB heavy or took a TE early. Or they were outstanding #2 receivers for your team, and you coasted against your opponents. No need to over explain this situation, the 49ers receivers were stellar last season for fantasy and Klint Kubiak and his coaching played a big role in their production.

As we saw with the quarterback position in our last review, wherever Kubiak went wide receiver fantasy production followed. The receiver room at each stop not only featured one high end option, but it also often showcased two fantasy relevant receivers. Jefferson/Thielen, Jeudy/Sutton, Samuel/Aiyuk… Olave/Shaheed next? The outlook for 2024 and beyond looks promising for Olave to propel into that high end WR1 role we all knew he was destined for and expected this past season. As for Rasheed Shaheed, we can look for him to step into that other productive receiver slot. Depending on Shaheed’s growth and route tree expansion we can see him turn from a boom or bust WR3/4 for your team to an every week back end WR2 with upside. We should also see A.T. Perry continue to elevate his game and take on a bigger role assuming we may have seen the last of Michael Thomas in the Big Easy. There’s also a chance the Saints go out and sign another depth receiver in free agency or draft a young player come April. This offensive won’t be limited to just two productive pass catchers, there should be room for other players to get theirs as well. Bottom line is the 2024 Saints receiver room should be fruitful in producing high end and solid receiving options for your teams.

Originally posted on Canal Street Chronicles – All Posts