There didn’t appear to be a spot for rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith to make a significant contribution early in the season. The Saints signed Cameron Meredith and have Ted Ginn Jr. to play opposite Michael Thomas.
Smith has shined in practice, making play after play and it has translated to the preseason games. He could make a quicker impact than anticipated. Meredith has struggled coming off injury, playing 48 snaps with no catches and will play in the final preseason game.
While Smith is going undrafted in most leagues, he’s on the rise in the FFWC with an ADP of 167 with an early of 112 and a late of 280. He’s worth a pick in the final rounds in case he goes off in Week 1 and becomes heavily sought after in FAAB.
Smith is 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. The third-round pick had four catches for 39 yards and a touchdown last week and had a 23-yard gain called back due to penalty. While Smith didn’t play with Drew Brees, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen in Week 1.
Saints coach Sean Payton has said the depth chart is written in chalk, leaving the door open for Smith to play a bigger role. Smith looks like a good fit for the offense and hasn’t dropped a pass in the preseason. Smith has caught 11 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown in the preseason.
Ginn is the experienced veteran with the speed to stretch the defense. Ginn is 33 and averaging 5.3 yards on his six catches and was called out by Payton for running the wrong routes twice in the second preseason game. Meredith missed two weeks of practice with an undisclosed injury after missing last season with a torn ACL and MCL.
Smith has been the second best receiver behind Thomas, but Smith will need to show he can grasp the complex offense. Smith is athletic, has size and landed in a great spot. Payton has said he’s encouraged by the intelligence of Smith in addition to his strong hands, running, and blocking ability.
While other rookie wide receivers are being drafted higher, Smith has a lot of positives. He’s in a great offense, has Drew Brees at quarterback, a potential path to being the WR2 in a high-scoring offense and is a great blocker.
Don’t be surprised if Smith emerges as one of the best rookie wide receivers this coming Fantasy Football season. Make sure you consider him in the final rounds.