NFC South

NFC South Season Outlooks

Atlanta Falcons

Season W/L ATS O/U Pass Yds Rush Yds Pass% Run% 3rd D
2017-18 10-6 7-9 5-11 3,990 1,847 64.70% 35.30% 45%
2016-17 11-5 10-6 13-2-1 4,267 1,672 57.69% 42.31% 42%
2015-16 8-8 6-10 2-13-1 4,379 1,611 60.86% 39.14% 47%
2014-15 6-10 7-9 6-10 4,553 1,498 64.06% 35.94% 44%
2013-14 4-12 7-9 9-7 4,243 1,247 68.65% 31.35% 42%
2012-13 13-3 9-7 5-11 4,509 1,397 62.80% 37.20% 44%

The Falcons rode their offensive powerhouse all the way to the Super Bowl last season and there isn't any reason to believe the team's offense will decline entering the 2017 season. If defenses attempt to shut down QB Matt Ryan and superstar WR Julio Jones, then opposing defenses will try to contain the elusive Devonta Freeman. It's nearly impossible to shutdown all three, which makes the Falcons one of the most potent offenses in the game. Atlanta ranked second in total yards a season ago, trailing just their division rivals the New Orleans Saints. There hasn't been any notable roster moves on the offensive side of the ball except the departure of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to the San Francisco 49ers. The team promoted Raheem Morris to passing game coordinator and hired Steve Sarkisian, the Alabama Crimson Tide's former offensive coordinator, as Shanahan's replacement. He inherits the Falcons star studded offense and the playbook isn't expected to change drastically, as head coach Dan Quinn wants the Falcons to continue their spread-friendly scheme. The teams fantasy outlook is definitely promising with the aforementioned Ryan, Jones and Freeman the impact fantasy players. Change-of-pace RB Tevin Coleman is an intriguing RB2 option with RB1 upside should Freeman get injured, but the real value is in the receiving corps, as Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel stretch the field for Ryan, combining for 1,232 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016 and could improve on their individual stats heading into the 2017 season.

Carolina Panthers

Season W/L ATS O/U Pass Yds Rush Yds Pass% Run% 3rd D
2017-18 11-5 9-7 9-7 3,077 2,102 58.50% 41.50% 42%
2016-17 6-10 6-9-1 7-8-1 4,291 1,465 56.94% 43.06% 37%
2015-16 15-1 11-5 10-5-1 3,589 2,282 50.42% 49.58% 42%
2014-15 7-8-1 8-8 8-8 3,511 2,036 54.69% 45.31% 42%
2013-14 12-4 9-5-2 5-11 3,043 2,026 51.85% 48.15% 43%
2012-13 7-9 9-7 9-7 3,683 2,088 53.24% 46.76% 41%

It was a dreadful 2016 season in Carolina, as the team went from being crowned NFC Champions to a lousy 6-10 record and a last place finish in their division. QB Cam Newton averaged an uncharacteristic 215 passing yards per game and just 23.9 rushing yards per game in 2016. He's still a QB1 and the best dual threat QB in the league. The Panthers drafted Curtis Samuel to replace Ted Ginn Jr. and he is expected to man the slot, joining WRs Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess and TE Greg Olsen. Benjamin put together a solid fantasy season with 941 receiving yards on 68 receptions despite grabbing only seven touchdowns. There is no reason to believe the Panthers aren't ready to change tear apart the entire offensive playbook, with Mike Shula entering his sixth season as the team's offensive coordinator. The team is still expected to deploy RB Jonathan Stewart as the team's power back and will receive the lions share of touches, but with Stanford standout Christian McCaffrey joining the fold, it's difficult to picture Newton not checking down to the elusive tailback and having success. Shula will likely design a couple more play action fake plays and RB wheel outs for McCaffrey which will allow Newton to scramble around the backfield and make plays. The team's pass-first gun-slinging scheme won't change with Newton's cannon of an arm, however, the biggest question mark surrounding the Panthers in fantasy is which Newton will show up Week 1. If it's the 2015 Newton, don't be afraid to reach for his supporting cast in your fantasy drafts.

New Orleans Saints

Season W/L ATS O/U Pass Yds Rush Yds Pass% Run% 3rd D
2017-18 11-5 8-8 9-7 4,189 2,070 72.00% 28.00% 38%
2016-17 7-9 10-5-1 9-7 4,380 1,626 63.44% 36.56% 49%
2015-16 7-9 8-7-1 9-6-1 4,970 1,491 63.78% 36.22% 48%
2014-15 7-9 6-10 10-6 4,764 1,818 62.92% 37.08% 48%
2013-14 11-5 8-8 5-11 4,918 1,473 62.78% 37.22% 45%
2012-13 7-9 8-8 10-6 4,997 1,577 65.32% 34.68% 43%

Opposing defenses have scuffled at slowing down QB Drew Brees and the Saints passing offense. They've ranked atop of the NFL in team passing yards the past two seasons, tossing for 4,970 yards in 2015 and 5,074 yards in 2016. It's going to be difficult to replace the aforementioned Cooks, but the Saints are impressed with the quick development of WRs Michael Thomas, Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman. The Saints also brought in speedster Ted Ginn Jr. to help with depth at the wideout position, but expect Michael Thomas to become the stud of this receiving core. Thomas actually led the team in receptions with 92, 14 more receptions than Cooks. Though Cooks led the team in receiving yards, Brees is confident in Thomas and Snead, which adds to their draft stock. Most owners will draft them as a WR2 option with WR1 upside. The RB position is what will put this offense over the top, as a backfield consisting of Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson will be nearly impossible to stop. Ingram was fed the ball 205 times last year and he turned it into 1,043 yards and six touchdowns. Ingram was a terrific RB1 option and even better RB2 option in 2016, but adding Peterson could cut into a chunk of Ingram's yards - especially if the all-pro calibre Peterson shows up. For now, it's best to value both Peterson and Ingram as top tier RB2 options. The Saints pass heavy offense isn't expected to change all that much. Pete Carmichael will return and look to open up more seams in the passing game while keeping one of Ingram or Peterson fresh. Brees will be a top-3 fantasy QB yet again and is worth drafting in the earlier rounds.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Season W/L ATS O/U Pass Yds Rush Yds Pass% Run% 3rd D
2017-18 5-11 6-9-1 8-8 4,366 1,450 62.50% 37.50% 43%
2016-17 9-7 9-7 7-8-1 4,012 1,875 57.50% 42.50% 44%
2015-16 6-10 7-9 9-7 3,852 2,162 55.32% 44.69% 42%
2014-15 2-14 7-9 5-11 3,297 1,375 62.22% 37.78% 37%
2013-14 4-12 6-10 8-8 2,820 1,612 57.19% 42.81% 30%
2012-13 7-9 10-6 9-7 3,983 1,837 58.73% 41.27% 35%

2014 first-overall pick Jameis Winston continued to show flashes of greatness, improving his completion percentage to a cool 60.8 percent of his passes. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken adjusted the 2016 playbook to Winston's ability to throw down the field and throw on the run. Monken threw a lot of intermediate passes in the middle of the field and ran a lot early in the game to set up the play action fakes. It gives Winston the opportunity to let plays develop outside of the pocket. Tampa Bay's hurry up West Coast offense has been kind to Winston, with him racking up 4,090 receiving yards, 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. West Coast offense held their own against the elite offensive teams of the NFC South, being outscored by the Falcons' No. 2 offense 67-59 and the Saints' No. 1 offense narrowly outscoring the Bucs 42-40. Winston has the tools to develop into a star and is a low-end QB1 with high upside as a backup or paired with Mike Evans or newly acquired DeSean Jackson. Jackson will join Evans and Adam Humphries as the three starters and Jackson's flashy speed is expected to compliment Evans' possession catching style. Jackson will see plenty of work in the middle of the field and some slot work with the vast amounts of bootlegs and scrambling that head coach when Dirk Koetter and Monken allow Winston to roam freely in the backfield. Evans led the team in receiving yards (1,321) and touchdowns (12) in 2016. He will be drafted in the first couple of rounds while Jackson's value entering training camp is mid-tier, there is still time for him and Winston to muster up some chemistry. RB Doug Martin was dreadful all season long, averaging an abysmal 2.9 yards on 144 rushing attempts. He led the Buccaneers in attempts (144) and touchdowns with three. He's had a rather volatile career with some really good seasons, so he's worth taking a flier on in the middle-rounds.

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