Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

NFC South

Falcons ::

  • Arthur Smith HC/Playcaller (TEN OC)
  • Last year, the Titans (where Arthur Smith comes from) led the league in 12-personnel rate at 35%; they also targeted the TE position at the league’s fourth highest rate (29.6%)
  • The Falcons current wide receiver depth chart: Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, Christian Blake, Olamide Zaccheaus, Tajae Sharpe, Frank Darby
  • These are the reasons I’ve been smashing last round Hayden Hurst all offseason in Best Ball
  • Rookie tight end/wide receiver/alien Kyle Pitts is expected to be moved around the formation and not handcuffed to a “traditional TE” role
  • Calvin Ridley could push for the league lead in targets in 2021
  • This offense has a very “Kansas City Chiefs 2020” vibe to it, with two far and away top receiving options (Calvin=Tyreek Hill, Pitts=Kelce), a capable running back, and little to no tertiary offensive options
  • Newcomer Mike Davis lead back (and now for an entire section on Mike Davis)
    • 28-year-old journeyman
    • 412 career carries
    • Proven pass game acumen (top three elusive rating of qualified RBs in the pass game)
    • Newcomer Wayne Gallman, demi-WR Cordarrelle Patterson, and a man by the name of Kieth Smith only other RBs on the roster…and if you think a 53-man cut RB is a threat, I got news for you, he is not
    • Handled an average of 79.16% of the offensive snaps in the first six games without CMC in 2020
  • TEN played at the third fastest situation-neutral pace of play in 2020
  • Dean Pees DC
  • The true beauty of a Dean Pees defense is the unpredictability; he’ll have some games where he runs flat 3-4 cover-2 and others where he blitzes aggressively on second and third down
  • The glaring negative is the complexity of the defense, which relies on instinctual play over the back half with the amount of blitzing we should expect
  • This type of setup is likely to lead to a slow start with numerous back-and-forth affairs to start the year
  • Above average QB-check, concentrated offense-check, poor on-paper defense-check… the Falcons are a fantasy goldmine this season

Panthers ::

  • Teddy Bridgewater out, Sam Darnold in at QB
  • WR DJ Moore’s calling card has always been YAC with the ball in his hands, yet in 2020, he had one of the deeper aDOTs in the league
  • fourth slowest situation neutral pace of play in 2020
  • Based on preseason usage, it appears Moore is transitioning back to a short-intermediate threat (almost 90% of targets within five yards of the LOS), with Robby Anderson working intermediate-deep and rookie Terrace Marshall primarily working out of the slot
  • With a bottom three OL and young/unproven defense (although ascending), this bodes well for DJM’s (and, obviously CMC’s) fantasy prospectus in full PPR settings
  • Added rookie WR Terrace Marshall, Jr. who is gaining ridiculous buzz this offseason…BUT, the Panthers have a bottom three OL, Sam Darnold at QB, and dynamic talents DJM and CMC working underneath
  • Joe Brady’s spread offense looks to get the ball into his playmakers’ hands in space
  • I expect the fantasy value of DJM and Robby Anderson to basically flip-flop this season
  • A quote from when Brady was hired last offseason: “The most important thing that we do from a system standpoint is we find out what our players do well so we can put them in position to have success”
  • The Panthers targeted WRs a staggering 70.5% of the time in 2020, second to only the Bills
  • TEs were targeted a league-low 7.8% of the time, and RBs an 8th-ranked 21.7%
  • CMC (yea, that’s it)
  • Defensive coordinator Phil Snow followed HC Matt Rhule through two stops in college and then to the NFL
  • Snow’s heavy zone cover-3 defense should see a boost with additions AJ Bouye and Jaycee Horn
  • Still a very young defense, but ascending

Saints ::

  • Top 5 OL (power+quickness :: second level)
  • Drew Brees retirement, Jameis Winston won the QB battle
  • MT out almost half of the year, at minimum (personal disputes between he and coaching staff/team doctors another wrinkle here)
  • Starting WRs Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway
  • Second year TE Adam Trautman out to start the year
  • Extremely concentrated offense to start the year (TQ Smith, Callaway, Alvin Kamara, and whomever is utilized as the backup RB between Latavius Murray and preseason standout Tony Jones, Jr.)
  • Third WR likely split between Deonte Harris and Lil’Jordan (excellent name, btw) Humphrey
  • Fifth highest situation neutral rush rate in 2020
  • Likely to see a hit to their seventh-ranked drive success rate from 2020
  • Fifth slowest situation neutral pace of play in 2020
  • Below average 54% 11-personnel rate in 2020
  • 12th-ranked 4.5 average yards per rush in 2020
  • Overall, expect regression from this offense in 2021 with the shift to Jameis Winston and absence of MT, but expect Sean Payton to design an offense to best utilize the talent he does have on the field… that basically starts and stops with Alvin Kamara
  • Expect the offense to be built around what Kamara brings to the game
  • Large amounts of defensive personnel turnover this offseason including three members of their defensive line, the absence of David Onyemata through suspension, the departure of Janoris Jenkins, and the offseason arrest of Marshon Lattimore (no punitive action has been taken by the league at this time)
  • DC Dennis Allen utilizes primarily cover-1 man coverage with Lattimore used to neutralize the opposition’s top wide receiver threat

Buccaneers ::

  • Top 5 OL
  • 63% 11-personnel in 2020
  • 10th-ranked situation neutral pass rate at 62% in 2020
  • Return every starter from SB season
  • Added Gio Bernard in FA :: will serve as pass-down specialist
  • 3-headed RB nightmare; Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette expected to share early down duties with newcomer Giovani Bernard acting as the third down back (possibility Gio misses the start of the year)
  • Gronk played heavy snaps with starters in preseason
  • Top five 12-personnel rate in 2020 at 22%
  • Very balanced target distribution in 2020 with 57.6% going to WRs, 19.6% going to RBs, and 22.8% going to TEs, making this a weekly nightmare to project as far as volume goes
  • For all the talk about Tom Brady being too old to hit the deep ball, this team ranked second in the league in 2020 in yards per completion at 11.5
  • Top five defense on paper with no large changes in personnel or scheme
  • Not much else to say about the Bucs; what we saw towards the end of 2020 is what we can expect moving forward

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