NFC South Week One Preview

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints

With the exception of their last match-up, the last few meetings between these two teams has been an offensive shootout of sorts. Not only is this an awesome rivalry, it’s a meeting of 2 powerhouse offenses, with defenses that aren’t good. To top it off, both teams have a chip on their shoulder. Atlanta was 10 yards away from the Super Bowl and New Orleans is still mad about the bounty scandal. This game has the chance to see 800 yards 7 TDs passing, not to mention the rushing numbers.

Before the last meeting between these teams, each of the previous 3 games, the QBs combined for at least 650 passing yards and 4 TDs. Both Brees and Ryan should be started this week and you can expect them to both put up big games. New Orleans was terrible against both the run and the pass last year, so you can expect Julio, Roddy and Tony Gonzalez to all likely have good games as well. Atlanta was 23rd in terms of defense for passing yards and with Brees throwing against them, Colston, Graham and Sproles should have good games as well. Lance Moore could be solid if you’re playing in a deeper league, although on both teams its tough to predict who will get the TD receptions. You should start them with confidence however, because they should all get a solid amount of yards and catches.

The running backs on each team are a little bit different; when I was preparing to write this I looked at the stats for RBs in the past few games and it appeared that 1 team’s RBs had awesome games while the others were basically useless. The team that ended up getting ahead was the one with the better RBs, which makes perfect sense. I have a feeling that both teams may try to get the running  games a good part of their offense in this game, as Atlanta has a much better back than Turner in Steven Jackson, and Sean Payton has stated he wants to get the running game going more. I would start Jackson with confidence, but only start Sproles out of the Saints RBs (deeper leagues Ingram and Thomas potentially) because you know Sproles’ role and he will be solid in Standard and likely a PPR stud in this game.

Tampa Bay at New York Jets

I think the Jets could be the worst team in the NFL this year. Let’s start there. I think the main fantasy star in this matchup could be the defense for the Bucs. Does anyone remember the butt fumble game last year? Of course we do – and a much less talented New England defense scored something like 40 points against this same terrible offense. The Jets defense surprisingly was 2nd in terms of passing yards last year given up, behind only Pittsburgh. This could have been due to their poor rush defense (7th worst in the league), so expect Doug Martin to have a great game. I expect the Bucs to be up big in this game so Doug should get a lot of carries, yards and likely at least 1 score.

I do like Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams a lot in this game as well. If Cromartie is matching up on Jackson, that leaves the rookie Milliner on Williams. According to Pro Football Focus, Cromartie was pretty solid in coverage last year with a +11.0 grade, but in the preseason he has had a negative grade through 72 snaps. Vincent Jackson should have a solid game against Cromartie as he has 3 inches in height and about 30 pounds in weight on him, as long as Freeman has some time to throw. Mike Williams going up against a rookie in his first game is a huge game waiting to happen. Even if Milliner was drafted high to replace Revis Island, I still think in a rookie’s first game against a high powered offense, the receiver against him will blow up.

I don’t like Freeman a lot in this match up because I think the Bucs defense will do very well and Martin will run all over the Jets, but he definitely has some potential with the weapons around him and the fact that the defense can’t drop 6 or 7 guys because of Doug Martin.

At TE, the Bucs have Luke Stocker who I’m fairly sure has had 1 catch for 2 yards in the preseason, seems to be the 3rd maybe 4th receiving option. Unless you’re in a really deep league, don’t bother starting him, but if he goes off, feel free to tweet at me and tell me how wrong I was, haha.

Seattle at Carolina

I really don’t like DeAngelo Williams in this game. Even if he will get the bulk of the carries, Seattle was 10th best against the run in terms of yardage last year and gave up the 5th least rushing TDs last year. I think Seattle is going to dominate this game from the start and take a big lead, leaving few opportunities for DeAngelo to get carries and potentially touchdowns. Everyone knows that Seattle had a great defense last year, so if you have a better option at flex or RB than DeAngelo, play that guy. You could get one of DeAngelo’s signature 2.60 point games against this elite defense.

I think Cam Newton will be his usual self in this game – I think you can expect at least 1 INT maybe 2 given how solid the secondary is for the Seahawks (6th in terms of yardage and 3rd least amount of passing TDs) but if the Seahawks get ahead early, Newton will have to make plays both with his arm and his legs. I don’t like to say you can count on Cam getting some rushing yards here, but you can likely count on some in this game because his pocket may break down a few times during the game causing him to scramble for some first downs.

If Newton is throwing a lot, someone has to catch the passes right? Not great news for Steve Smith, as Richard Sherman was the highest graded cornerback according to Pro Football Focus. I think if you have a better option over Smith, then play him because I don’t like Smith a lot in this game because Sherman is so good. Brandon Browner was the 22nd ranked CB according to PFF, which also doesn’t bode well for Brandon LaFell. I think the pass catcher with the most upside in this game is Greg Olsen because he would likely be covered by a linebacker and the defense may pay more attention to the outside guys. KJ Wright was the 8th ranked OLB for 4-3 defenses according to PFF, but he may not be always covering Olsen. I’m sort of avoiding most of the Panthers players if I can, mainly because they aren’t studly enough to be match-up proof.

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