Fantasy Sports

Fantasy football targets: NFC South

As the best time of the year approaches, fantasy football drafts are well underway. The NFC South’s offenses have a lot of firepower and are very relevant for fantasy purposes. Most of these stats are based on a non-ppr 12 team league, but some will also have a PPR perspective.

Julio Jones

Although Jones is arguably the best receiver in the entire NFL, he didn’t have a great season fantasy-wise last year because of his low touchdown rate (only scored three the entire season). However, he still compiled 1400 yards and had a few dominating performances. In addition, Jones will want to quiet Antonio Brown’s sudden universal recognition as the best player at the position. While another season in OC Steve Sarkisian’s system could bring Jones’ ceiling back to the top fantasy receiver, the wide arsenal of weapons and Sarkisian’s tendency to go away from Jones in the red zone makes him a risky top pick. Take Jones in the first round with caution, but if he’s available in the second snatch him up immediately.

Draft: second round

Alvin Kamara

Kamara, who broke out as a rookie last year, is being taken at an average of number seven overall in fantasy drafts this season. This is about where he should be, considering the difficulty of finding playable running backs later in the draft or on waivers. After Kamara has a chance to show his abilities as the feature back during Mark Ingram’s suspension, Ingram will be back to take the focus off him. Defenses will be better able to game-plan for Kamara this season now that there is a lot of tape, but he is talented enough to produce anyway. In PPR leagues, he should be the fourth RB taken after Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson and Todd Gurley.

Draft: first round

Devonta Freeman

Freeman is a solid, reliable fantasy option who has a lower upside than others because he works in a committee with Tevin Coleman, a pass-catching specialist. He would be a good pick in the second round if a top receiver like Jones or Odell Beckham Jr. is unavailable. Draft him in the second or third and make sure to handcuff him by taking Coleman in one of the later rounds.

Draft: second round

Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas is a terrific, young, all-around receiver who Drew Brees trusts. He has very little risk, but not as much upside as other receivers simply because Brees spreads the ball around to all of his targets. Take Thomas confidently in the third round as a high-floor number one or an excellent number two receiver.

Draft: third round

Mark Ingram

Ingram’s suspension drops his fantasy draft position a bit, but not drastically. While Kamara had all the flash last year, Ingram was still the main force of the running game. The suspension may be beneficial fantasy-wise because he will be fresher during the second half of season, during fantasy’s regular season home stretch and playoffs. Snag him in the fourth round if you don’t think someone will take him before you get a chance. Otherwise, draft him during round three as long as you are confident you can stay afloat the first four weeks.

Draft: fourtth round

Mike Evans

NFC South
Image by The Inside Zone

Mike Evans disappointed last year based on his first round ADP, but still put up over 1000 yards. He has great athleticism and deep ball ability, but doesn’t have the quarterback play to get him the ball enough. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston are bringing down their receivers’ production For now, Evans should be taken in the third round because he will produce, but reaching his ceiling is unlikely.

Draft: third round

Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey is going suprisingly high in fantasy drafts, at the top of round two. Yes, he will improve from last year and be an explosive weapon both receiving and running the ball. However, do not take him over players like Devonta Freeman, AJ Green and Jordan Howard who have all proven to consistently put up reliable fantasy numbers. There is a high risk with drafting McCaffrey high and round four would be the optimal place to draft the Panthers RB. However, if a reach is necessary, at least let him fall to the third round.

Draft: fourth round

Austin Hooper

Image result for austin hooper big play bears
Austin Hooper on his way to a big touchdown run against the Bears/Image by Chicago Tribune

Austin Hooper is an intriguing young tight end on the Falcons who has flashed playmaking ability. Matt Ryan looks for him in the red zone frequently, giving Hooper touchdown potential and a pretty high ceiling. Take a flyer on him late in the draft if you don’t have a TE you know you can trust. He could be this year’s Zach Ertz type breakout.

 

Draft: 11th round

Greg Olsen

Olsen falls into the small group of set and forget tight ends, along with Gronkowski, Kelce and Ertz. Take him in the seventh round as a strong, consistent addition to your fantasy team

Draft: seventh round

NFC South
Image by Yardbarker

Cam Newton

Cam is inconsistent, but when he plays well, he plays extremely well. If the rest of your fantasy team can take you to the playoffs, Cam would be a good weapon to have. His combination of incredible arm strength and running ability gives him the highest potential of all QBs for a one-week performance. Take him immediately after the top tier of QBs like Brady, Rodgers and Russell Wilson.

Draft: seventh round

Drew Brees

Brees used to be a top scoring quarterback year in and year out. However, the improvement of New Orleans’ running game with Ingram and Kamara takes the burden off him. As seen last year, Brees is still a great player, but the Saints simply don’t need him to throw for 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns anymore. It’s good for him and his team, but bad for fantasy purposes. That said, Brees is still a reliable option who can get the job done when it is needed.

Draft: seventh round

 

Featured image by Boston Herald

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