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Who won Saints WR battle between Marquez Callaway, Tre’Quan Smith

Smith had a chance to secure the role last season, but Callaway emerged in the preseason and appears to be the lead receiver.

 New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway (1) performs receiver drills during a New Orleans Saints training camp session at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility.  Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints hope to get back to the playoffs even though Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees is no longer leading the offense. The Saints will also be without WR Michael Thomas indefinitely as the receiver recovers from an ankle injury. That has left the lead receiver role open for the taking, with Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway coming into the season as front-runners for the gig.

Verdict

Smith had a chance to secure this role last season when Thomas missed time, but disappointed with just 34 receptions and 448 yards in 10 starts. Callaway broke out in the preseason and appears to have a connection with Jameis Winston. He’s listed behind Thomas on the team’s depth chart, but the star is out for now. Smith is listed as the other starting receiver.

Fantasy football implications

With Jameis Winston starting at quarterback, it’s going to be a wild ride for the Saints. The gunslinger will attempt to take less risks, but that will also eliminate some of his best plays. Brees was unable to throw the ball deep late in his career, something Winston will do regularly. The Saints can be more dynamic offensively and Callaway stands to be the big beneficiary based on preseason results. Until Thomas comes back, Callaway is the receiver to roster in fantasy football.