Sleeper Spotlight: Why Kenny Stills Is Primed To Emerge In New Orleans

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Most fantasy owners are focused on the Saints’ jettisoning Darren Sproles, leaving ample opportunities in the backfield.  However, Lance Moore also walked and, while Robert Meachem was ultimately brought back, he’s had 30 total receptions over the past two seasons.

Without Sproles and Moore, that’s 108 receptions from 2013 and 140 from 2012 that are no longer in the mix.  Throw in Marques Colston, now 30-years old, looking like he’s on the downside of his career and there are and there are going to be ample opportunities for the team’s young receivers to step up and entrench themselves as the next top option.  While Chris Givens was brought in from St. Louis and Brandin Cooks was selected in the first round, it’s Kenny Stills who should be drawing the focus of fantasy owners.

The 2013 fifth round draft pick gave the impression of a “boom-or-bust” type receiver in his rookie season, with 32 catches for 641 yards and 5 TD.  While the overall 20.0 yards/reception is a bit skewed by one big month, he still simply looked like a big play receiver:

  • September – 19.1 yards/reception
  • October – 32.2 yards/reception
  • November – 15.9 yards/reception
  • December – 17.1 yards/reception

However, is that really the type of player that he is?  Coming out of college, that certainly wasn’t the scouting report.  Walter Football said (click here for the full report):

“Stills doesn’t look like he has any special traits to be a mismatch receiver at this point. He does not have burner speed or overwhelming size and physicality. Stills is a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none.”

Meanwhile, NFL.com had a very similar take (click here for the full report):

“While Stills isn’t the biggest or the fastest, he has a knack for finding ways to get open. He has the ability to track the football, and make some extremely difficult catches.”

So, while he gave the impression of being nothing more than a big play threat that’s hardly what we should be expecting moving forward.  He could easily develop into a solid secondary target for Drew Brees, playing the role of second receiver extremely well.  What type of numbers would that yield, though?  Last season the team used their running backs more than anything, but let’s look at the numbers from the previous three seasons for the Saints’ WR2:

  • 2010 – Lance Moore – 66 receptions, 763 yards, 8 TD
  • 2011 – Lance Moore – 52 receptions, 627 yards, 8 TD
  • 2012 – Lance Moore – 65 receptions, 1,041 yards, 6 TD

All three of those seasons would be usable for fantasy owners, though obviously it would be the 2012 type season we’d be hoping for.  Truth is, that’s the type of season that he’s capable of.  With touchdowns available and plenty of receptions there for the taking, Stills is a player that is well worth targeting late in all drafts.  You aren’t going to have to select him as a starter, but the potential is definitely there for him to get there.

Take the flier and watch him develop into a must use fantasy option.

Sources – ESPN, Walter Football

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