Coby Fleener hits fantasy gold with Saints

Mike Tagliere talks about how Coby Fleener hit the jackpot in free agency and why it cements him as a TE1 in 2016.

| 7 months ago
(AP Photo/R Brent Smith)

(AP Photo/R Brent Smith)

Coby Fleener hits fantasy gold with Saints


Coby Fleener and the New Orleans Saints have agreed to terms on a new five-year deal worth $36 million dollars, taking one of the most sought after tight ends off the market.

After four years with Andrew Luck in Indianapolis, Fleener decided it was time to leave after seeing now-former teammate Dwayne Allen get a massive contract. He will now go on to play with one of the best quarterbacks of the past decade, Drew Brees.

The 82 targets per year average that Fleener saw in his four years with the Colts will look small in comparison to what Brees’ top tight end has over the last five years. While Jimmy Graham was a physical specimen, he saw an average of 133.5 targets per year with the Saints. And then Ben Watson, at the ripe old age of 35, racked up 102 of them this past season.

Prior to this last season where Fleener saw a merry-go-round of quarterbacks, he was coming into his own and had racked up nearly 1,600 yards and eight touchdowns in the previous two seasons. On top of that, he was much better when Allen was out with an injury.

From 2013-2014, Fleener had played in 13 games with Allen and 19 without him. Despite averaging just 0.5 more targets with Allen out of the lineup, he averaged 50.3 yards and 0.42 touchdowns (7.6 fantasy points per game) compared to the 32.7 yards and 0.31 touchdowns with him (5.1 fantasy points per game).

The move to Brees will also increase his productivity, considering that his starting tight ends haven’t been below 1.15 fantasy points per target over the last five years. Even if you project Fleener to see the same amount of targets as Watson did last year, you can’t project Fleener to finish with anything less than 120 fantasy points. That would have been the No. 7 tight end in fantasy last year.

With the loss of Marques Colston, the Saints are in desperate need of another playmaker to go along with Brandin Cooks, and Fleener is the one they are paying to be that guy. You shouldn’t be shocked if Fleener sees nearly as many as Graham did in his time with the Saints.

There are a few things in football that are essentially guaranteed, like – the Patriots slot receiver will be at minimum a WR2 on a weekly basis – The Cowboys starting running back should be started, regardless of opponent – the Saints tight end will score a lot of fantasy points.

If Fleener stays healthy and sees 120 targets from Brees next year, he will finish inside of the top-five tight ends. And he should.



Mike Tagliere is a Lead Writer for PFF Fantasy. He's ranked as a top-six fantasy football expert twice over the last four years by FantasyPros.com.

  • crosseyedlemon

    The Saints offense is a house of cards. If Brees gets hurt the team will be in the same situation the Cowboys were in last season when they lost Romo.

    • Saint

      Actually, they’ll be in even worse shape than the Cowboys, since Brees is about 10 times better than Romo.

    • Gregory Duplantis

      How did that work for you the last 10 yrs?? And you could say that almost about any team..so stop hating