Don't Forget About Ted Ginn in Fantasy Football
Now linked to Drew Brees in one of the most fantasy friendly offenses, both of these wideouts have drawn intrigue from the fantasy community heading into the 2018 season. But somewhat forgotten on the Saints' explosive offense is Ted Ginn Jr., a receiver who posted some career-best numbers in his first campaign with the Saints last year.
Now entering his age-33 season, Ginn shouldn't be written off due to his age or new competition for targets. At his current cost in fantasy leagues, he is an appealing choice in certain formats.
An Excellent First Season in New Orleans
On the season, Ginn ranked third among the Saints receivers in snaps played, trailing Thomas and Brandon Coleman, but he ranked second on the team in wide receiver targets with 70.
Although Ginn wasn't a high-volume receiver, his first season in New Orleans was one of the most effective of his 11-year career. According to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, which you can read more about in our glossary, Ginn made the most of his opportunity. Thanks to his big-play ability, he posted a 0.91 Reception NEP per target, best on the Saints, better than both Thomas (0.76) and Kamara (0.57).
Ginn's numbers were also impressive when stacked against the rest of the league. Of the 62 receivers with at least 40 receptions in 2017, Ginn's Reception NEP per target ranked third, behind only JuJu Smith-Schuster (0.97) and Marvin Jones (0.98).
Playing with Brees also helped Ginn post the best catch rate of his career as he caught 75.71% of his targets, leaps and bounds better than his previous best of 60.22%, which he posted way back in 2008, his second year in the league.
Reasons For Optimism Despite New Competition
While that leaves little room for Ginn to soak up extra targets, the Saints could be set for more passing volume in 2018. Last year, the Saints went run-heavy behind Ingram and Kamara, and, as a result, Brees finished with his second-fewest pass attempts in a season as a Saint (536). He also threw for just 23 touchdowns, his fewest since 2003 (11).
Despite this run-heavy approach, Ginn found success in fantasy leagues, finishing as the WR34 in PPR scoring. But there wasn't much consistency, with Ginn seeing more than six targets in a game just twice. This made him a boom-or-bust player, and there were a lot of spiked weeks for the veteran receiver. Although he finished outside the top-30 in season-long scoring, Ginn was a top-25 receiver in six weeks last season, including two weeks in which he was a top-10 scoring option.
The Saints will likely trend back toward being more pass-heavy as they are unlikely to lead for such a large chunk of their snaps again in 2018, and Brees' 4.3% touchdown rate -- his worst clip since 2007 and well below his 5.3% career average -- is due for positive regression, as well. All of this bodes well for the team's pass-game weapons.
Meredith will be Ginn's biggest competition for targets behind Thomas. While Meredith may steal some looks away from Ginn, he may also take some opportunity from Thomas, who had one of the league's highest target market shares in 2017. Last season, Thomas saw 28.0% of the Saints' targets, up from 19.0% in his rookie year.
Meredith is also coming off a serious knee injury after he had a breakout season in 2016 with the Bears. In his sophomore season, Meredith led the Bears in targets, totaling 66 receptions for 88 yards and 4 touchdowns. Then Meredith tore his ACL and MCL in the preseason last year, which forced him to miss all of 2017. The reports on Meredith this preseason have been mostly positive, but he has been in-and-out of practices as he works his way back.
On the other hand, the rookie Smith is a big-play threat out of Central Florida. At UCF, he posted 41 plays of 20-plus yards in his three seasons.
With Coleman cut early in camp, Meredith looks poised to take his place in the slot should he be healthy for Week 1. This leaves Ginn to run opposite of Thomas on the outside, and for Ginn to lose playing time, it would likely have to be Smith emerging to take his place on the depth chart.
In later rounds of best-ball leagues, we generally want cheap pieces of great offenses. Since we don't have to worry about setting a lineup each week, we can deal with the volatility of players like Ginn.
Ginn is currently the 65th receiver drafted in best-ball leagues, according to FantasyPros.com. While he is available in the 14th round of 12-team drafts, his teammate Meredith is being drafted nearly four full rounds ahead of him in the 10th as WR48.
Landing Ginn in the 14th round of a best-ball draft is ideal, but his appeal is somewhat limited in standard redraft leagues. Ginn is currently going undrafted in 12-team PPR leagues, according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com. In these leagues, Ginn is probably better suited as a bye-week fill in during the year.
Depending upon your league format, Ginn can be a strong fantasy option despite the new competition for targets.