Well, I mean Atlanta’s fully-loaded offense of course.
Matt Ryan’s got an arsenal of weapons to take into battle that players in his division should envy.
Luckily, the Falcons competitors don’t have to be too envious. The NFC South is loaded with fantasy talent, including the best quarterback in football, two of the top five fantasy running backs in football and two of the top eight receivers in football.
I hope you Ninjas spent at least a couple of your fantasy picks browsing the available weapons in the NFC South, you shouldn’t be disappointed:
1. Tony Gonzalez is going to have a huge year. He’ll likely block less, despite what the Falcons are saying, opening him up for more passes. And don’t worry about him losing too many catches to Roddy White. Dwayne Bowe got his last year and Gonzo still racked up 96 RECs.
2. Atlanta didn’t seem to do much to improve their woeful defense last year. That means they’ll win games by outscoring opponents. Giddyup!
3. I was on the too-much-work-for-Michael-Turner bandwagon early in the preseason, but I’ve fallen off that wagon. Turner won’t repeat last year’s performance, but he’ll be close.
4. With defenses rolling help on Gonzalez and White, and the front lines sweating Turner, I like WR Michael Jenkins to pop out a fantasy-game-winning performance a couple times this season.
5. Jason Elam is going to be busy, but because of the potent weapons he’ll settle for a lot of extra points.
1. I’m punting Jonathan Stewart already. Maybe forever. He can’t stay healthy, and there’s no doubt that Achilles injury will linger.
2. Mike Goodson won’t steal TDs from DeAngelo Williams, but he’ll be owned in virtually every league by the end of the season.
3. We’ll stay with the running game, because that’s what the Panthers do. As a team, they rushed for 100 yards or more in 14 of 16 games last year. And they rushed for 200 yards four times.
4. Despite their impressive run capabilities, the team kept both Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad happy last year. The duo combined for 143 catches, 2,300 yards and 11 TDs.
5. I own the Panthers defense in several leagues. They have several playmakers who could help the team surpass its 25 takeaways from last year.
New Orleans Saints
1. The best quarterback in football is Drew Brees. P’shaw, Tom Brady, you say? In 2008, Brees’ superstar playmakers, Marques Colston and Reggie Bush, were far from effective and he still nearly broke Dan Marino’s passing mark. Imagine, just imagine, what he could do throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker or Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.
2. Lance Moore put up impressive numbers in 2008 (79-928-10) but won’t repeat this year unless Colston is squishy again.
3. Mike Bell quickly became overrated in many fantasy drafts. Bell is best left on waivers until Thomas is actually out Week 1. Bush and Pierre Thomas will feast and Bell will have to settle for scraps.
4. The only reason you should even think about owning the Saints defense is because of Reggie Bush’s return capabilities. They have some playmakers, but two of them (Will Smith and Charles Grant) are facing suspensions, and they were both part of a squad that gave up 5,432 yards in 2008. But LB Jonathan Vilma is a good IDP choice.
5. The Saints have one of the best offensive lines in football.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1. Which NFC South team doesn’t belong? The Buccanneers. Don’t jump to conclusions. They amassed just a 150 less yards than the Panthers in 2008. The only problem is that it was spread cross so many players it hurt fantasy values.
2. Ten players had at least 13 catches for the Buccaneers in 2008. Seven had 21 or more.
3. Tampa’s running game was just as unspecific, doling out 786 yards to Warrick Dunn, 563 to Earnest Graham and 233 to Cadillac Williams.
4. How Raheem Morris’ arrival as coach, replacing John Gruden, changes those percentages should be among the most watched early fantasy storylines.
5. A lot of defensive playmakers – aging playmakers, but playmakers nonetheless – were lost in the offseason. Those kinds of players make for nice epoxy to hold together a defense’s structure. How the Buccaneers young talent reacts to the change will be telling.
Other team previews: NFC East
What’s the biggest question for your favorite NFC South team? What did I miss? Let us know in the comments.
Check back all week as we continue to roll out our division-style team previews and our start/bench advice.