Off-season changes at NFC South
New Orleans Saints:
We are watching the Saints completely redo their offense. After finally finding a running game last year, they are moving to make that their main focus and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that unless you have QB Drew Brees in a Keeper league. They concluded that they cannot consistently win by throwing the ball 40 times per game. They also realized that they had one of the worst defenses in the league and they figured it out before the draft and executed a plan to address that. Well, they did after selecting Stanford’s T Andrus Peat with the first pick.
With their second first-round pick, acquired from Seattle in the Jimmy Graham trade that also brought in C Max Unger, the Saints took on LB Stephone Anthony. His draft position may be a bit early, but he’ll pair up nicely with his second-round pick; Washington’s LB Hau’oli Kikaha, who led the NCAA in sacks last season. Amazingly, they caught QB Garrett Grayson from Colorado St in the third round. With several quality quarterbacks on the board for later rounds, this was definitely too high and no one seems to be sure that Grayson could become Brees’ replacement, although he has at least two years to learn. The next four picks were made to bolster the defense and all were solid picks; CB PJ Williams from Florida St, LB Davis Tull from Chattanooga, DT Tyeler Davidson from Fresno St and CB Damain Swann from Georgia. In addition to all of these defensive draft picks, the Saints added New England’s CB Brandon Browner through free agency.
After losing Jimmy Graham, WR Kenny Stills and RB Pierre Thomas through the trade and free agency in the offseason, they held onto those positions with the exception of RB. He picked up CJ Spiller from Buffalo. Spiller has proven to be one of the most hyped players year after year and one of the most disappointing. With Mark Ingram slated to be the workhorse, Spiller will be hired to fill the old role of Reggie Bush and, if he stays healthy, will be a game changer for this offense. Josh Hill will never be Jimmy Graham, but he will see a drastic rebound on Targets this season.
Fantasy starters: QB Drew Brees, RB Mark Ingram, WR Brandin Cooks
Fantasy Bank: RB CJ Spiller, WR Marques Colston
Sleeping Fantasy: TE Josh Hill
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Bucs got the top pick in this year’s draft after underperforming last season. Many of his problems could be attributed to incompetence in the QB position and throughout the defense. They decided they would roll the dice on QB Jameis Winston and wait for him to solve their QB puzzle. Winston has a lot of questions about maturity and whether he’s mentally capable of handling being the No. 1 pick in the draft and the face of the franchise. He definitely has the physical tools to succeed and has big guns at wide receiver in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. However, that didn’t stop them from using their fifth and sixth round picks in additional WRs; Kenny Bell from Nebraska and Kaelin Clay from Utah. Clay will be remembered for his brain fart against Oregon, where he dropped the ball before crossing the goal line and Oregon returned it for a TD, resulting in a 14-point swing in the first half, which cost his team. really a good first half. Utah half bet.
While the offense is taking shape, the defense still has a long way to go. The Bucs added DE Henry Melton through free agency from Dallas and DB Chris Conte from Chicago, who played with coach Lovie Smith when he was with the Bears. However, no figure to add so much to that unit. One thing to keep in mind is what Tampa will do with its running game. Will they fully commit to Charles Sims or will Doug Martin have a chance to regain his starting job?
Fantasy Starters: WR Vincent Jackson, WR Mike Evans
Fantasy Bank: QB Jameis Winston, RB Charles Sims, RB Bobby Rainey
Sleeping Fantasy: TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Atlanta had two clear Needs going into the draft; improve their defense and improve their running game and they both did both. They first wisely focused on defense and took LB Vic Beasley from Clemson. Like WR Kevin White falling to the Bears with his first pick, the Falcons’ hand was placed in front of them due to the problems associated with Randy Gregory and Shane Ray. Beasley will start immediately for them, just like he should pick LSU’s CB Jalen Collins in the second round. The draft was perfect for the Falcons when RB Tevin Coleman fell to them in the third round. As the Big Ten, I’ll tell you that Coleman’s stats in 2014 (2026 yards and 15 TDs) were even more impressive than they appear, as QB Nate Sudfeld was lost for the season and the Hoosiers were a one-trick offense. and Coleman still stirred. great numbers even though he was the focal point of all defenses. It will solve your current RB Dilemma.
The Falcons really only lost WR Harry Douglas in free agency, but they quickly replaced him in the draft with their fourth pick; WR Justin Hardy from East Carolina. With Coleman, his offense will once again be one of the best in the league; as long as your WRs really stay healthy for a season. His defense will not be good, but it will be better. As shown last year, this division is great for any team that can win half of its games. That should be Atlanta this season.
Fantasy Openers: QB Matt Ryan, RB Tevin Coleman, WR Julio Jones WR Roddy White
Fantasy Bank: RB Devonta Freeman
Sleeping Fantasy: WR Justin Hardy
The Panthers had little opportunity to improve themselves through the draft, as they only had five picks available after trading two to St. Louis to advance to the second round. Unfortunately, they did not draft any actual difference markers. Their defense waned last season and they will be lucky enough to play at that level. They drafted LB Shaq Thompson from Washington with their first-round pick, which seemed like a reach since he’s a bit small. Other than Cam’s connection to Kelvin, there is nothing terrifying about his offense. They have been unable to maintain a consistent running game for the past several years due to injury. With their second-round pick, they took WR Devin Funchess from Michigan. Funchess is almost a close Benjamin as he weighs 6’4 “232 lbs. They have great WRs but need some speed to get out of the slot as Cam seems to be under constant pressure. They added T Daryl Williams of Oklahoma in the fourth round with the hope that he will soon be able to join the starting lineup and help out.
The Panthers got into free agency and seemed to have a philosophy that experience and wisdom will prevail. They added Blind Side T Michael Oher for the offensive line and Charles “Peanut” Tillman for the secondary. Needless to say, they have both been stars in their prime, but they’ve gotten through it a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I admire both players, but I don’t see them providing much benefit to either unit at this point in their careers. The Panthers lost RB DeAngelo Williams in free agency, so they added Auburn’s RB Cameron Artis-Payne with their last pick (round 5). She becomes the immediate wife of the porcelain doll RB Johnathan Stewart.
Fantasy starters: QB Cam Newton, RB Jonathan Stewart, WR Kelvin Benjamin, TE Greg Olsen
Fantasy Bank: WR Devin Funchess
Sleeping Fantasy: RB Cameron Artis-Payne