When August rolls around, the fantasy football community usually reaches a consensus on most players. Cameron Meredith isn't one of those players. While he's averaging somewhere around WR59, he has been ranked between 35 and unranked at his position. What are your thoughts on him? Is he underrated or overrated? Or neither?
Daniel Simpkins: This is a tough one. He’s been cleared for practices but is taking it slow with ramping up his repetitions. The money they paid him in free agency makes you believe they view him as their potential answer opposite Michael Thomas. I’m going to assume that he’ll be full-go by the start of the season and that makes him a value in this high-powered offense.
Jason Wood: I rank him 57th so he’s fairly valued. Meredith flashed at times but is coming off a major injury and joining a new team with plenty of depth at receiver. The Saints underwent a profound transformation last year and re-committed to the run. This isn’t a 650 pass attempt offense anymore. Meredith will have his moments but he’s not going to be central to the game script which makes his WR5 ranking feel spot on.
Chad Parsons: The Saints are one of the few passing offenses where the secondary wide receiver can be in the WR3 mix for fantasy purposes. However, I think Ted Ginn Jr and Tre'Quan Smith are going to be roadblocks to Cameron Meredith getting the necessary volume to be on the upside track. I have yet to draft Meredith as there are still potential No. 1 receivers for their teams available and certainly better No. 2 bets.
Andy Hicks: Jason and Chad have made points that I agree with wholeheartedly. He was an undrafted free agent that took advantage of a poor Bears depth chart and an injury to Alshon Jeffrey to post a solid 2016 season. An ACL in 2017 means that we need to see how he plays once the pads are on to see if he can be productive in this offense. The Saints are going to rely more on the run than Brees this year and they have options other than Meredith opposite Michael Thomas. I’d much rather leave him to the waiver wire and see what he does.
Phil Alexander: Meredith is fairly valued at WR59, but his ADP has risen since training camp started. It's an odd development since the Saints are (wisely) still treating him with kid gloves.
Maybe the spike has something to do with Brandon Coleman's release, which seems misguided. Sean Payton has already hinted Coleman would be brought back at some point. Besides, it would be much easier to make the case Coleman's release was a vote of confidence in rookie Tre'Quan Smith. While Meredith has been mostly limited to side work with Drew Brees in practices, Smith has been described as eye-popping, special, and game-breaker by beat writers.
The more bullish people get on Meredith, the more I'd rather spend one of my last picks on Smith or Ted Ginn Jr in an attempt to find value in New Orleans' ambiguous wide receiver corps. If we see Meredith ramp up his practice reps and earn his spot on the depth chart with a strong preseason, this becomes a different discussion. Until then, let someone else reach for him.
Will Grant: When thinking about WR59, it's helpful to ask "What does this guy mean to my team?" In a 12 team league, WR59 is probably #5 or #6 on the depth chart for your fantasy team. A guy you want to be able to plug into a flex position in the event that one of your starters is injured or you have bye week issues and need a guy who won't get you a zero. He's likely the last wide receiver you take in your draft and he's one of the first candidates you consider when making a waiver wire drop. You're hoping that he turns into more by the time the season starts, but you're not expecting Julio Jones numbers either.
I think Cameron Meredith is exactly that guy right now. As Andy pointed out, the only real view we have of Meredith was one season with Chicago where he was the last man standing in a decimated wide receiver group. His prospects last season were good because Chicago still had one of the worst receiving corps in the league. But his injury took him out for the season.
Now he's on a different team. Different offensive focus. Clearly better talent around him. Still not 100% after the injury. The potential for fantasy irrelevance is high.
I like Meredith and I hope he succeeds in New Orleans. But when it comes to my fantasy drafts, if he lands on my roster, he'll be one of the last guys I pick and one of the first I consider dropping until we see more from the pre-season. I think he's appropriately valued.