For the next week there are going to be a lot of moving parts with training camp, repetitions, snaps, pre-season snaps and injuries – all of which have fantasy relevance. I never used to think this way, but now that the competition is so good in a respective fantasy league anything you can do to get an edge is strongly advised, and this includes but is not limited to what impact players are doing in on their teams before Week 1 even gets here. Let’s take a look at the NFC SOUTH and what you need to know.
Atlanta Falcons – why not start with the league runner up, after all this team is packed with fantasy goodness at most offensive position. I’m going to start with my super sneaky ninja pick of the year… Tevin Coleman! His yards per touch were through the roof and he was a Super Bowl hero for the Falcons, a true slasher that has great hands as well. If he gets 10-12 touches per game, he is easily a 9-10th round pick. Nothing against Devonta, I believe he’s a top five back, but I also believe there’s enough volume in this offense for Coleman to be a top 25 back. There’s Julio Jones and a bunch of “C’” options at WR, but all are intriguing in their own way. Both Taylor Gabriel and Mohammed Sanu have huge upside, especially in deeper leagues. You never know when an injury is going to hit. If you think Matt Ryan is going to be better than last year, he’s a top 4 fantasy QB. If not, than he’s Andy Dalton. I personally think Ryan is not the QB we saw last year, and closer to his 24 TD/14 INT yearly average he’s been throughout his career. Just a thought.
Carolina Panthers – I banged the Christian McCaffery drum earlier, but I’m using my get out of jail card and freeing myself from that early season prediction. I know like other rookie RBs more, and am concluding that they are not going to use McCaffery in the passing game as much as I thought they were. And don’t give me that “they’re not whipping out their playbook in preseason” nonsense either, he’s a rookie, and needs reps. He did however get a bunch of carries, and was average, but will be exciting to watch. Excitement however doesn’t pay the fantasy bills, and he’s still behind Jonathan Steward. I put the over under on McCaffery’s total receptions at 55.5. I’ll take the under. I have no real interest in anyone on this team not named Kelvin Benjamin. If he slips to the 4th round you should roster him. He has 1000 yard, 10 TD upside if he plays a full season.
New Orleans Saints – The news from camp is that this team is going to be terrible again defensively , which means shoot out city every game. Be careful with Drew Brees in the daily game. His home/road splits are legit story tellers, and his numbers against divisional opponents are a bit of a drag as well. This is perfect daily fantasy advice. Willie Snead is a 11th round must own, and as a legit WR2 in a high powered offense expect a consistent out put. As the injuries mount up for the Saints in camp, they will need to rely on this well balanced offense more than ever. If you’re wondering about the Adrian Peterson/Mark Ingram backfield, there simply hasn’t been enough news out of camp to sway me one way or another. Peterson is old and won’t get many reps pre-season. Local beat writers in moments of exaggerated optimism will claim he looks like he’s 25 years old, but it’s all relative, until you can see him… but he’s just so old. It’s a huge risk because we all know what AP is capable of when healthy. Invest in the passing game first.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans is the 4th best WR in the NFL, and likely the 3rd best in a keeper league, but you won’t see that in training camp. I will say this – Doug Martin looks thinner, and more agile. He was active in the both the passing and running games in the preseason opener, and he looked great. Jacquizz Rodgers on the other hand looked powerless and slow. Seeing how Martin was used, and hearing about his strong camp, is enough for me to fade Rodgers, and give the Muscle Hamster a look. Good Luck Gamers.