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New Orleans signs Jameis Winston: Fantasy football fallout for 2021

After re-signing with the Saints, Jameis Winston will compete with Taysom Hill for the chance to succeed future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.

Taysom Hill, Jameis Winston, and what to expect from the Saints

The Drew Brees era came to an official end on Sunday when the future Hall of Fame quarterback formally announced his retirement on social media. While expected, the decision left Brees’ longtime NFL team, the New Orleans Saints, without uncertainty under center for the first time in more than a decade.

To help resolve that uncertainty, the Saints brought back Jameis Winston, the former No. 1 overall pick and one of Brees’ backup quarterbacks in 2020. The deal provides Winston a path to the starting job with one of the most productive offenses in the modern NFL.

Jameis Winston signing: Fantasy football impact

While not even the Saints have seen what Winston can do running their offense in a game, the quarterback’s value derives in large part from keeping Hill on the sidelines. During Brees’ four-game injury absence in 2020, the Saints handed the reins over to Hill, a decision that severely limited the team’s top playmakers. Running back Alvin Kamara averaged 72.1 yards from scrimmage in those contests while wideout Michael Thomas failed to reach the end zone. Hill’s limitations as a passer prevented head coach Sean Payton from running a significant portion of his staple plays, an issue that seems likely to continue should he replace Brees as the full-time starter.

Winston, for all his faults, would allow the Saints to run an offense that more closely resembles the one Brees piloted since 2006. Winston also offers upside on deep shots that Brees lacked late in his career, an element that could raise the floor for receivers like Tre’Quan Smith and whomever the team acquires in free agency and the draft. Kamara would also figure to benefit as much of his football and fantasy value came from his work as a pass catcher.

As for the quarterback himself, Winston has the upside of a solid fantasy starter if he wins the job. In 2019, Winston finished third in fantasy scoring for quarterbacks despite leading the NFL with 30 interceptions. In Payton’s offense, Winston figures to cut down on the turnovers to some degree while not sacrificing too much elsewhere.