Ted Ginn’s fantasy value in New Orleans will depend on Cooks deal

The Saints signed the ex-Carolina receiver, but Tyler Loechner says it's what happens with Brandin Cooks that matters next.

| 3 months ago
(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Ted Ginn’s fantasy value in New Orleans will depend on Cooks deal

The New Orleans Saints are signing former Carolina Panthers wideout Ted Ginn Jr., per ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

Ginn, who will be 32 when the 2017 season begins, is largely a one-trick pony — “go deep.” But he’s quite good at his one trick, and he remains one of the fastest players in the league. Ginn caught four touchdowns last year, and all of them came on passes 20-plus yards downfield.

I say “largely” a one-trick pony because, contrary to popular belief, Ginn actually sees a lot of volume within nine yards of the line of scrimmage, too. He just isn’t very effective with those opportunities. In 2016, Ginn saw 42 targets from 0-9 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, and he gained 235 yards with those looks and didn’t score. He saw just six targets 20-plus yards down the middle of the field, but he gained 236 yards and scored four touchdowns on those six targets alone. (That doesn’t include his deep targets to the left and right side of the fields, either.)

While Ginn is a speedy vertical threat, he isn’t faultless. His 16.98 percent drop rate in 2015 was eighth-highest among receivers, and he was only marginally better in 2016 (11.48 percent).

However, Ginn’s ability to expose defenses deep could do him well in New Orleans, where Drew Brees remains one of the most accurate deep passers in the league.

The Saints have been actively shopping Brandin Cooks, but if Cooks stays in New Orleans, it’s hard to see how Ginn would see enough volume to be on the fantasy radar. He’d be buried behind Cooks, Michael Thomas and Willie Snead. Ginn would still likely see a couple of quality looks per game, but his production would be far too sporadic for fantasy purposes. In this scenario, Ginn would be waiver wire fodder and desperate bye week fill-in material.

Obviously, if Cooks leaves and the Saints don’t replace him with someone new, Ginn could assume a larger role in the offense as the team’s No. 3 option behind Snead and Thomas. Ginn would be rosterable in this scenario, but he still wouldn’t be a weekly starter. This isn’t a bad thing: That’s exactly how the fantasy community viewed Ginn in Carolina, too.

Additionally, regardless of what happens with Cooks, the Saints have a new primary weapon in Michael Thomas. We can continue to expect Thomas to expand upon the growth he experienced as a rookie, when he caught 92 passes for 1,137 yards and nine touchdowns. Similarly, Snead’s fantasy production is linked more to what happens with Cooks than the presence of Ginn.

There were very few places Ginn could have landed where he would have legitimately retained fantasy intrigue as a boom-or-bust option — and lucky for us, New Orleans is one of those places. Ginn’s boom-or-bust profile makes him impossible to trust on a week-to-week basis in season-long leagues, but he is always worth a look on DFS rosters. And, if Cooks leaves town, Ginn will be a matchup-dependent, volatile flex option in season-long leagues.

Tyler Loechner is a lead writer at PFF Fantasy. He has played fantasy football since 1999 and has been a part of the PFF Fantasy staff since 2010. Tyler was also previously a fantasy football featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

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