NFC South Divisional Breakdown Recap for 2021 (Fantasy Football)

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The Fantasy Footballers are going through divisional breakdowns now that we’re getting ever so close to fantasy draft season! The AFC wrapped up last week, now Andy, Mike, and Jason break down the NFC South division on Tuesday’s episode!

In this recap, we’ll cover each team by highlighting their offensive & defensive statistics from 2020, check on ADPs for each player, give a quick look back and ahead at each team, and leave you with some of the biggest fantasy questions entering the season.

New Orleans Saints

Head Coach: Sean Payton

Offensive Coordinator: Pete Carmichael

Offense

  • 29th in pace of play
  • 5th in points/game
  • 12th in total yards
  • 11th in passing TDs
  • 1st in rushing TDs
  • Led NFL in red-zone plays/game (12.3)
  • Led NFL in RB fantasy points

Defense

  • 4th fewest rushing yards allowed
  • 5th fewest passing yards allowed
  • 5th fewest points allowed

Schedule

  • First Four Matchups: vs GB, @ CAR, @ NE, vs NYG
  • 2021 Projected Vegas Win Total: 9

Current ADP

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The Saints have been a fantasy football goldmine for years. Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas have been two of the most productive fantasy players in the league over the past five years. In 2020 Kamara had a career season and finished as the RB1 in all of fantasy football. Thomas, on the other hand, struggled through injuries and failed to find the end zone a single time in his seven games played. Drew Brees called it a career and walked off by finishing as the QB16 in fantasy points/game.

The offense will look different in New Orleans without Drew Brews. It should be noted, however, that the Saints have consistently been a top-half rushing offense under Sean Payton. They still have a stout defense and an offensive line that ranks fourth-best in the according to Pro Football Focus. They still profile as a competitive team, whether they’re led by gunslinger Jameis Winston or hybrid quarterback Taysom Hill under center to start the season.

Biggest Fantasy Questions

  • How will the starting quarterback impact the offensive weapons in New Orleans, especially Alvin Kamara?
  • Can Michael Thomas return to the elite tier of fantasy wide receivers?
  • Is Adam Trautman primed to become a break-out fantasy tight end?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Head Coach: Bruce Arians

Offensive Coordinator: Byron Leftwich

Offense

  • 9th in pace of play
  • 3rd in points/game
  • 7th in total yards
  • 2nd in passing TDs
  • 15th in rushing TDs
  • 4th fewest penalties

Defense

  • Fewest rushing yards allowed in 2020
  • Fewest rushing TDs allowed
  • 6th fewest total yards allowed
  • 8th fewest total points allowed

Schedule

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  • First Four Matchups: vs DAL, vs ATL, @ LAR, @ NE
  • 2021 Projected Vegas Win Total: 12

Current ADP

We all remember Tampa Bay’s playoff run that resulted in a Super Bowl win, but it’s easy to forget they started the season just 7-5. Tom Brady started slowly but caught fire down the stretch as he picked up the Bruce Arians offense and continued to gel with his teammates. While they did most of their scoring through the air, Ronald Jones was surprisingly more consistent than we remember, earning a B consistency grade and finishing as the RB16 overall on the season.

The bad news for the NFL is the Buccaneers got the band back together for 2021. When the season kicks off they will become the first team since the 1979 Steelers, who won back-to-back Super Bowls, to return all 22 starters. Tom Brady doesn’t look ready to slow down and he’s surrounded by arguably the best supporting cast of his illustrious career.

Biggest Fantasy Questions

Carolina Panthers

Head Coach: Matt Rhule

Offensive Coordinator: Joe Brady

Offense

  • 30th in pace of play
  • 24th in points/game
  • 21st in total yards
  • 28th in passing TDs
  • 10th in rushing TDs

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Defense

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  • 18th in yards allowed
  • 18th in points allowed

Schedule

  • First Four Matchups: vs NYJ, vs NO, @ HOU, @ DAL 
  • 2021 Projected Vegas Win Total: 7.5

Current ADP

Carolina’s offense was a bit of an oxymoron in 2020. They had three wide receivers total over 1,000 yards from scrimmage but were just 24th in total yards. They missed Christian McCaffrey to injuries for the majority of the season but were still 10th in rushing touchdowns. Overall, it was a disappointing one-and-done season for Teddy Bridgwater in Carolina, as he threw for just 15 touchdowns on his way to finishing as the QB19 on the season.

McCaffrey is expected to return to fantasy dominance as he enters the 2021 season healthy but it remains to be seen how the rest of the Panthers’ offense will fair. Bridgewater was traded to Denver this offseason and the keys to the Carolina offense have been handed over to former third overall draft pick Sam Darnold. Curtis Samuel is also gone, opening up the possibility for WR1 seasons from D.J. Moore and/or Robby Anderson.

Biggest Fantasy Questions

  • Will his new setting allow Sam Darnold to become the quarterback he was drafted to be? 
  • Can D.J. Moore score enough touchdowns to become an elite fantasy wide receiver?
  • Which receiver, Moore or Anderson, will be a better draft value?
Atlanta Falcons

Head Coach: Arthur Smith

Offensive Coordinator: Dave Ragone

Offense

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  • 8th in pace of play
  • 16th points/game
  • 18th in total yards
  • 13th in passing TDs
  • 22nd in rushing TDs

Defense

  • 6th fewest rushing yards allowed
  • 1st most passing yards allowed
  • 19th fewest points allowed

Schedule

  • First Four Matchups: vs PHI, @ TB, @ NYG, vs WAS
  • 2021 Projected Vegas Win Total: 7.5

Current ADP

Atlanta had a rough 2020, bookending the season with 0-5 stretches. Matt Ryan still put up respectable fantasy numbers on the back of the most pass attempts in the NFL. Todd Gurley started hot but fell off a cliff down the second half of the season. By the end of the season head coach Dan Quinn was fired and Atlanta has some major questions headed into 2021.

Former Titans coach Arthur Smith has taken over and one of the biggest moves he’s seen is sending Julio Jones to his former team. Todd Gurley is also gone and has been replaced by journeyman running back Mike Davis, who filled in admirably for the injured Christian McCaffrey in Carolina last season. The most intriguing player is likely rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, who was the first non-quarterback selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Oh, and they hired some guy named Dean Pees as defensive coordinator, but you’ll have to listen to the episode for the cutting-edge analysis from Andy, Mike, and Jason on that one.

Biggest Fantasy Questions

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