Saints 2021 NFL Preview: New Orleans 2020 Recap, 2021 Team Outlook For Fantasy Football & Betting

Frank AmmiranteSenior Sports Writer
Last Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Here’s The Game Day’s New Orleans Saints 2021 NFL Preview: 2020 Recap, Team 2021 Outlook, 2021 Betting Tips and 2021 Fantasy Football Outlook.

New Orleans Saints 2021 Preview: New Orleans 2020 Recap, 2021 Team Outlook For Fantasy Football & Betting

New Orleans Saints 2020 Recap

  • Final record: 12-4 (6-2 Home/6-2 Away)
  • Division regular-season finish: 1st
  • Result: Lost in NFC Divisional Game

The Saints had another promising season fall short, losing in the NFC Divisional game to the divisional rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints are headed for a transition year this season after future Hall-of-Famer Drew Brees announced his retirement.

2021 New Orleans Saints Offseason Changes

New Orleans Saints 2021 Offseason Departures

  • QB Drew Brees
  • WR Emmanuel Sanders
  • TE Jared Cook
  • CB Janoris Jenkins
  • DE Trey Hendrickson
  • DT Malcom Brown
  • DT Sheldon Rankins
  • LB Alex Anzalone
  • CB Justin Hardee Sr.
  • TE Josh Hill

New Orleans Saints 2021 Free-Agency/Offseason Additions

  • DE Tanoh Kpassagnon
  • FB Alex Armah
  • TE Nick Vannett

New Orleans Saints 2021 NFL Draft Picks

  • DE Payton Turner, Houston (Round 1, Pick 28)
  • LB Pete Warner, Ohio St. (Round 2, Pick 60)
  • CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford (Round 3, Pick 76)
  • QB Ian Book, Notre Dame (Round 4, Pick 133)
  • OT Landon Young, Kentucky (Round 6, Pick 206)
  • WR Kawan Baker, South Alabama (Round 7, Pick 255)

New Orleans Saints 2021 Preview & Outlook

The Saints continued to be one of the elite teams in the NFC last season, despite playing without quarterback Drew Brees for four games and Michael Thomas for nine games. It was impressive to see the way head coach Sean Payton remodeled his offense on the fly to suit Taysom Hill‘s strengths and it appears like the team will be moving forward with their mobile quarterback as the starter, with Jameis Winston acting as the backup.

Saints 2021 NFL Preview: New Orleans 2020 Recap, 2021 Team Outlook For Fantasy Football & Betting

With Drew Brees retired, Taysom Hill might lose the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback job to Jameis Winston, which would be good news for Michael Thomas’ 2021 fantasy football stats. (Image: USA TODAY Sports)

Second-year tight end Adam Trautman will have to fill the void left by Jared Cook’s departure. They’ll also need one of Tre’Quan Smith or Marquez Callaway to step up with Emmanuel Sanders now in Buffalo. Having said that, the offense still has the core pieces intact with Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Expect the team to go with a run-heavy approach in the early going with Thomas missing time due to injury.

The Saints finished 2nd in overall DVOA (3rd vs. pass, 2nd vs. run) on defense. They should continue to be one of the best defenses in football, led by defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport as well as a strong secondary that includes Marshon Lattimore and Malcolm Jenkins.

The team also used its first-round 2021 NFL Draft pick on defensive end Payton Turner to help add depth to their pass-rush. We often see defenses step up when in the absence of a star like Drew Brees. I believe will see that happen in New Orleans, with the defense really taking off to help out Jameis.

The coaching staff is one of the better groups in the NFL with head coach Sean Payton, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Continuity is key, but especially with this team because they’ll enter the season with a new quarterback under center.

Payton is a brilliant offensive mind, so I expect him to put Hill in a position to succeed as he continues to develop as a passer. If Hill struggles, they could always go back to Winston, who was able to learn from Drew Brees as the backup last season.

One of the biggest challenges for the Saints is their division: the NFC South became much stronger this offseason:

  • The Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers retained all 22 of their starters for a run at back-to-back Super Bowl championships.
  • The Carolina Panthers upgraded at quarterback from Teddy Bridgewater to Sam Darnold while continuing to improve their defense.
  • The Atlanta Falcons now have a better coaching staff along with the best tight end prospect of all time in rookie Kyle Pitts.

The Bucs are the favorite with the Saints looking like the next best team, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Falcons or Panthers surpass them for the second spot in this division.

New Orleans Saints 2021 Fantasy Football Tips

If Jameis Winston starts, he looks like a solid value to target in your fantasy football drafts. Let’s not forget that this is a quarterback who finished as QB4 in fantasy points per game in 2019. He’ll be surrounded by a strong supporting cast with terrific weapons and an innovative coaching staff. If it’s Hill, he’s also a decent value considering his rushing ability.

Alvin Kamara was the overall RB1 in PPR fantasy points per game last season, but he needs Winston to remain under center in order to sustain elite fantasy value. Taysom Hill tries to scramble instead of taking the check-down receiving options, so Kamara would no longer have the same ceiling in the passing game. The Saints would also become more run-heavy and low volume with Hill at the helm.

We can give Michael Thomas for his poor performance in an injury-plagued season. He looked like one of the best bounce-back players for the 2021 season, but is unexpectedly had to get ankle surgery, leaving him out for the first few weeks of the season.

Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway will battle for the WR2 spot in this offense. The most likely scenario is that both players eat into each other’s fantasy value. Adam Trautman is a former third-round pick who should beat out Nick Vannett for the starting tight end job. Trautman looks like a nice sleeper target due to his touchdown upside in this offense. Each of these players will take on larger role in Thomas’ absence.

New Orleans Saints 2021 NFL Futures Bet Tips

New Orleans Saints 2021 Preview futures bets, odds and lines are provided courtesy of BetMGM. BetMGM has a welcome offer for a Risk-Free Bet of up to $600. Use promo code THEGAMEDAY or click here to sign up for a new account and place bets with tips from this 2021 Saints Preview and outlook.

Saints to finish 2nd in NFC South (+1130) at BetMGM

The Bucs are the favorites in this division (-165), but the Saints aren’t too far behind. This team still has its core playmakers in place on offense. Drew Brees is gone, but clearly had declined as a quarterback, so there shouldn’t be too much of a downgrade with Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill. There is continuity on the coaching staff and the defense remains elite. The Saints might not win the division, but second place looks likely.

Saints Will Make The 2021-2022 NFL playoffs (-105) at BetMGM

We need to take advantage of the cheap price here on a 12-win team. This is putting too much stock in the loss of Drew Brees. I really think that Sean Payton will help refine Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill as a quarterback. We can project Winston to do a better job of protecting the football this time around. Add in the extra playoff spot and you have a likely scenario at a cheap price. The Saints should return to the postseason.

Saints OVER 9 Wins During 2021-2022 NFL Season (-115) at BetMGM

Nine wins isn’t really a high bar, especially since there is an extra game this season. The Saints have won 10 or more games in four consecutive seasons. In order for them to go below this number, they would need several injuries or Jameis Winston to totally bust at a quarterback. Even in that scenario, Taysom Hill could take over the reins and do a decent job. The Saints should win 10-11 games this year, but it definitely got tougher without Thomas. They’ll need to lean on Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray more.


Frank Ammirante

Frank Ammirante is a Senior Sports Writer at The Game Day. Previously, he wrote for 4for4 Football and RotoBaller. Frank is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer's Association while maintaining an active presence within the community. He has competed in industry contests like the Scott Fish Bowl, The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, and more. Frank will be making his debut in Tout Wars this year. He's got a diverse sporting background, but specializes in football and baseball.

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