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Cameron Meredith Fantasy Profile 2018

Cameron Meredith Fantasy

Cameron Meredith Fantasy

Wide receiver Cameron Meredith signed a $9.6 million deal with the New Orleans Saints after the Chicago Bears declined to match the offer sheet this offseason. Meredith missed the entire 2017 season with a torn ACL. The injury came after his 2016 breakout season where he posted 66 catches for 888 yards and four touchdowns. Meredith achieved those numbers despite having a quarterback carousel of Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, and David Fales throwing him the ball.

Now Meredith will get the opportunity to play a role in a high-powered offense led by quarterback Drew Brees. With that being said, what does his addition to the Saints’ offense mean for his fantasy value?

In 2016, Cameron Meredith’s fantasy production finished him as WR41 in Half Point PPR leagues in 14 games played. He ranked 29th in fantasy points per game (10.5). Will Meredith improve in 2018 now that he is paired with Brees or will he just be another guy that has a solid fantasy week from time to time? I’ll address all these questions using some projection analysis to best predict Meredith’s fantasy outlook for the 2018 season.

Saints’ Offense 2018

Drew Brees FantasyAny offense that has Brees under center is going to produce fantasy viable assets. However, in 2017, the Saints were one of the most efficient teams at running the football. This resulted in less passing volume on average for Brees. He had less than 400 completions/600 attempts for the first time since 2009. However, Brees had a career-high completion percentage (72 %) and led the Saints to the most completions over 20+ yards.  Is 2017 representative of the new norm for the Saints’ offense? Or is it setting the stage in 2018 for positive regression? In statistics, positive regression is the phenomenon that if a variable is extreme on its first measurement, it will tend to be closer to the average on its second measurement. That’s the case here with the 2018 Saints’ offense.

With Mark Ingram already missing the first four weeks of the season and the Saints already looking to monitor Kamara’s workload expect to see the typical passing totals for Brees in 2018. Payton has already stated that on Kamara’s carries via New Orleans Saints Central that, “The mistake would be that Alvin gets 15 more carries. That’s not the direction we would expect to go. I don’t think that’s wise.”

With newly signed Terrance West and a cast of other running backs compiled of Johnathan Williams, Trey Edmunds, and Boston Scott (among others), trying to make up for Ingram’s touches I doubt they will be able to match his production from 2017. Ingram rushed for 1,124 yards, 12 TDs, at 4.89 yards per carry. Not very likely West or anybody else can match that in 2018.

Even with an improved defense last year the Saints still allowed the 7th most passing attempts per game, and the 14th most passing yards per game in the league. So the argument that offense will throw less because the defense will be shutting down opponents is not one people should buy into. With an expected increase in passing volume for the Saints in 2018, that is an attribute that bodes well for Meredith.

Cameron Meredith’s History

Cameron Meredith FantasyIn his first year, Meredith was hardly ever used and was buried on the Bears’ depth chart. It was not until his second season that Meredith flashed his ability. Injuries to other receivers granted him playing time, and he flourished when targeted in the passing game. Four games with over 100 yards receiving. He averaged just 6.9 targets per game and nearly put up 900 yards receiving within an inept Bears offense. Meredith also tied for the lead in red-zone targets with Alshon Jeffery with 12.

Considering how well Meredith actually performed as a route runner, these numbers could have probably even been better. According to Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception, Meredith in 2016 ranked 15th in success versus man coverage, ranked 7th in success versus zone coverage, and ranked 12th in success versus press coverage.

Career statistics

Year Team Rec Yards Avg Lng TD
2015 Chicago Bears 11 120 10.9 22 0
2016 Chicago Bears 66 888 13.5 50T 4
Total 77 1,008 13.1 50T 4

Meredith had a solid season in 2016 and looked like a potential breakout candidate in 2017, but unfortunately was lost for the season. Now finding himself on a new team can he find success?

Why Cameron Meredith Could Succeed

Meredith will be successful in New Orleans because he will be the second wide receiver in a top 5 passing offense. Even in 2017 when the Saints ranked as the 6th best rushing offense in terms of yards per game, they also had the 5th most passing yards! There will be enough passing volume in 2018 on the Saints with targets that can go potentially go to Meredith.

With Ingram’s suspension, he won’t see 71 targets again. Coby Fleener departing moves another 30 targets. Brandon Coleman is another guy that generated 37 targets last year, that Meredith could definitely dip into. Brees has always traditionally spread the ball to many different receivers, so Meredith should get his targets. Willie Snead saw great fantasy success as the WR2 in 2015 and 2016, so Meredith duplicating his yards output while having a better touchdown upside are definitely in the realm of possible outcomes. I say touchdown upside because he could succeed as a real threat in the red zone. He was a red-zone guy in Chicago and at 6′ 3” fits the frame.

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Why Cameron Meredith Could Fail

The biggest concern for Meredith outside staying healthy is if his target share is just not big enough. Meredith has shown volume need to reach full fantasy potential. In Chicago, he was most successful when he was the only show in town. Every game Meredith has played in which he has received 10 or more targets he has gone over 100 yards. This is worrisome because Michael Thomas will be first in line to receive targets. With Meredith at best coming in as the number two wide receiver there may not be enough to get him to 10+ targets. Not once in 2017 did Brees target two wide receivers 10+ times. Even in 2016, it only happened twice.

Additionally, it’s no guarantee that Meredith is able to take the number two wide receiver job from Ted Ginn Jr. who had a very productive campaign last year with the Saints. His skill set differs much more than Michael Thomas, whom Meredith is more similar to. If Meredith can’t get on the field in two wide receiver sets, his fantasy value will suffer tremendously.

Cameron Meredith Fantasy Forecast: My Take

The upside for Cameron Meredith Fantasy outlook is that of Willie Snead from 2015-2016. Snead finished 2015 as the WR35 and 2016 as the WR36. Snead over those two seasons averaged just under 70 receptions, 103 targets, 940 yards, and 3.5 touchdowns. These numbers should be attainable for Meredith if he can stay healthy.

This projection, of course, is based on Meredith solidifying himself as the number two wide receiver on the Saints. Ginn is concerning for sure, but I do think Meredith is a better overall wide receiver. Ginn is a one-trick pony with his deep threat ability, so it would not surprise me to see his usage decrease. Especially due to the fact that the Saints drafted another deep threat receiver in Tre’ Quan Smith.

Based on his ADP of WR54, I think that Meredith has great value across all draft formats. The potential number two wide receiver in a top five offense is hard to skip on in the 12th or 13th round. Lastly, Meredith could have a big game here or there when he sees an uptick in targets making him a guy to keep in mind through daily fantasy. Especially when the Saints play teams with top cornerbacks that may slow down Thomas.

How do you think Meredith fairs against some other wide receivers going at his ADP?

 

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