What is the fantasy outlook of Saints Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill?
By Jesse Moeller (Twitter: JMoeller05)
With Drew Brees retiring the Saints will have a new quarterback for the first time in sixteen years. Brees will forever be a legend for helping guide the city of New Orleans through the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Brees provided something much more than just football for a city desperately in need of it. Those are some monumental shoes that Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston are trying to fill. Is either one of these players up to the challenge? Let’s have a quarterback battle breakdown and see who I prefer in dynasty.
A few months ago I believed that the Saints were doomed to a salary cap abyss. This offseason really made me a believer in the fact that NFL salary caps are a “myth”. To put it in a better way, a team’s salary cap is extremely fluid. Money that does not count against the salary cap can be restructured to lower a player’s hit on the cap. We have seen copious teams go this path.
Jameis Winston has a one-year contract with a $5.5 million dollar cap hit. Winston is capable of hitting incentives built into the contract, it can max out at $12 million. The Saints added on two voidable years to help space out the money through the 2023 season. Winston will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) in 2022.
Taysom Hill has signed a contract extension of four years for $140 million this offseason. The kicker was that all four years are voidable as they kick in after 2021. What it allowed the Saints to do was move some of the money that they owed Hill through the 2025 season. Hill currently has a one-year $12.1 million deal. Hill will be a UFA in 2022.
I give the advantage to Hill due to the amount of money they are paying him this season. Hill has a cap hit that is ranked 21st among quarterbacks, whereas Winston is tied for 36th. Hill also has a cap hit of over $7 million in 2022. The Saints and coach Sean Payton adore Hill, and it shows in his contract.
Taysom Hill (FantasyPros QB28)
As you can see Hill is not for everyone. He is more of an acquired taste, which for dynasty managers can be a massive headache. We all love the consistency of a set it and forget it, player. That is not Taysom Hill. He was an undrafted 27-year-old rookie that the Saints picked up off waivers in 2017. Hill was never viewed as a starting-caliber quarterback by the masses. He is thought of as an “athlete” masquerading at the quarterback position who would come in for a couple of gadget plays each game.
Hill matured to much more than a gadget player in 2020. His offensive snap share has steadily increased last three years: Going from 17.32% in 2018, 22.65% in 2019, and 43.92% in 2020. While his special team’s snap share has gone in the opposite direction. Starting at 80.14% in 2018, 62.53% in 2019, and 18.60% in 2020. This makes sense, as you are not going to have the starting quarterback playing special teams.
He got his chance to show his capability of being the starting quarterback with the injury of Drew Brees. From week 10-13 Hill won three games and lost one, by completing 71.93% of passes for 208.5 passing yards on 28.5 attempts per game. Hill averaged one passing touchdown per game while adding one rushing touchdown and 52 yards on 10 attempts per game. Hill had a quarterback rating of 96.9, which would have put him 14th just ahead of Matthew Stafford for the year.
Taking his four-game stretch and extrapolating for a full season, Hill contributed 3,336 yards on 328 for 456 with 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He added in another 16 touchdowns and 836 rushing yards on 156 rushing attempts, and 4,172 yards with 32 touchdowns are nothing to sneeze at for any quarterback.
With his dual-threat ability, Hill showed he is problematic for defenses and will keep defensive coordinators up all night and all season long.
Jameis Winston (FantasyPros QB29)
The former first overall pick has experienced a completely different NFL path than Hill. That draft capital attaches so much cache to any player’s name. Winston was an enigma during his time in Tampa Bay, due in part to his tendency to consistently turn the ball over. Any play could either be a touchdown or interception, which made watching Bucs games some of the most fascinating each Sunday. I imagine Buccaneers fans view the situation differently.
Winston was expected to turn around the Buccaneers, a team that won just two games the year before he arrived. That never materialized, as the Bucs went 28-42 during his time as the starter, a less than ideal win percentage of .400. That is an average of 6.4 wins per season, and nowhere near enough for any player to remain the starting quarterback of an NFL team.
The Bucs added talent over the years to help Winston develop, yet his performance never advanced enough to guide them to the playoffs, as the team would continue to fall short every season. After his rookie season, they brought in Dirk Koetter as the head coach to help Winston become one of the best quarterbacks in the league. In 2017, his second season with Koetter, Winston had his best statistical season, although the team went 3-10 in the games he started. There was hope that in 2018 he could lead an improved roster to the playoffs. Winston regressed and was benched for his inefficient play. In 2019 Koetter was replaced with Bruce Arians, and Jameis was a true turnover machine throwing a monumental 30 interceptions! The most since Vinny Testaverde threw 35 in 1984.
A change needed to happen, as Winston moved on to New Orleans to learn under Drew Brees and Sean Payton. Winston has always had the arm talent to be a top-level quarterback in the league. His immaturity and decision-making have held him back from being a successful player in the league. He clearly is a more traditional quarterback than Hill, as his arm talent is infinitely better, but it has also been his biggest impediment. Winston trusts his arm too often to fit into impossible windows. Very much reminding people of how Brett Favre would play for the Packers. The DGAF method is rarely a successful strategy for NFL quarterbacks. Even the mightiest arm talents fail at that level if they do not make the correct decisions.
Conceivably Payton will help Winston grow into the quarterback many hoped he would be coming out of Florida State. If that were to occur Winston could be one of the best fantasy quarterbacks in the league.
As tempted as I was to pick Jameis strictly for the eating W’s Gif, I am going with the guy that gives you an edge in fantasy at the quarterback position. Hill averaged over 21 points per game in his four starts last year, due in part to the rushing upside. Over the course of a 16 game season that is around 340 points good enough for a top 12 season. I went back and forth on this decision, as both players have the potential to be top 12 QB in 2021 and beyond if they were to land the starting job. For me, it came down to Hill being handed the job when Brees was sidelined last year. He did more than enough commanding the offense to earn my belief in him as the guy moving forward.
Now if you believe Jameis is the guy, go out and acquire him. Neither player will be that expensive in dynasty at the moment. I personally want whoever will be the starting quarterback in New Orleans for 2021. If Winston does get the job, Hill will be involved in the offense one way or another. If Hill gets the job, it relegates Winston to backup duty. Although I do not see either guy being the long-term answer for New Orleans, as this is a short-term decision to try and help you win a championship this season.
Grabbing both players in dynasty would be a great way of hedging your bet for the season. Hill is the one I am pushing my chips in for this upcoming year. Do so and enjoy the rewards of having a top 12 quarterback rostered.