Legendary quarterback Drew Brees has retired, which means New Orleans will have someone new at the QB1 spot for the first time in fifteen years. Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill are ready to battle it out for the honor, so of course DraftKings Sportsbook has the odds up for which quarterback will take the first snap for the Saints in the 2021 season.
Saints QB Week 1 Odds
Jameis Winston -250
Taysom Hill +175
Ian Book +3300
Let's take a look at the case for both Winston and Hill to start Week 1.
Unless both Winston and Hill get hurt before the season starts, you can throw Book out of the mix.
The Case for Winston
Winston is a heavy favorite to be the starter, and understandably so, as he's the only experienced quarterback on the roster. The former Buccaneers quarterback passed for over 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2019, so the potential is there for him to put up big numbers in this Saints offense. New Orleans has two of the best weapons in all of football in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, and a great offensive line. If you put that all together with head coach Sean Payton's play calling, and the recipe for success is there.
Winston also threw 30 interceptions during that same aforementioned season, but with an offense as polished as the Saints, he wouldn't need to take as many chances as he did during his time with the Bucs.
The ceiling is definitely higher for this offense if Winston wins the job.
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The Case for Hill
Hill's been on the Saints since 2017, and he's been used as a Swiss Army Knife of sorts by Payton. His most productive numbers have come out of the wildcat near the goal line.
Hill also surprisingly got the nod to start over Winston while Brees was out last season. By all accounts, he fared well, going 3-1 during that four game span. While Hill was inconsistent as a pocket passer during his stint, he did show flashes. His speed and athleticism came out in spurts and the team won with him at the helm. But, he threw for fewer than 300 yards in all four starts and rarely took a deep shot. Ultimately, you can only run a wildcat-type offense for so long.
Either way, Payton has made it clear it is going to be a real QB battle at camp, which opens up the door for Hill ever so slightly. If Winston continues to struggle with throwing picks and Hill balls out in camp, there's always that possibility he'll win the gig.
Payton said the team will tailor their offense to the winner of the competition. Overall, Winston is a better pure passer and would put the Saints in better position offensively on a week-to-week basis. If the former Florida State QB starts, that also allows Payton to use Hill in a variety of ways near the red zone, which has proven to be successful in the past.
That's the main reason why I see Winston running out there with the starters come on September 12th, when the Saints take on the Packers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.