Links to similar discussions of other divisions:
Not that much is going to happen around NFL circles for the next month, save for a few trades and some third-wave free agent signings. That means it’s time to build up your drafting chops with best-ball drafts! What does each offense offer? I’ll break it down division by division. Let’s go to the NFC South, which features two new quarterbacks and one very important tight end.
Note: All ADP courtesy of Underdog
Offensive Outlook: This offense lost Julio Jones, but it gained Kyle Pitts. Is Arthur Smith an offensive genius? We’ll get a better idea of that when we see what he does with an offense that doesn’t have Derrick Henry as the point of the spear. The offensive line has a few question marks on the interior and needs the pair of 2019 first-round picks (Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom) to live up to the investment. The defense is still a major weakness, so expect the Falcons to lean pass-heavy no matter their intentions on offense.
Matt Ryan - 11th round ADP
Ryan was looking like a value at ADP before Julio Jones was traded, and he might still deliver on ADP if Kyle Pitts is everything he is cracked up to be. Ryan has suffered when Jones isn’t there to help him in the past, so Pitts performance and Calvin Ridley’s health will be key to his value. It’s probably better to take a more promising quarterback a little earlier or a quarterback with just as much upside and not much more risk a little later.
Davis has the look of the classic trap running back who has opportunity by default but doesn’t have the track record to merit it. He was a fantasy RB1 last year in place of Christian McCaffrey and has a three-down skill set, and there’s no one of note behind him. Davis’s cost isn’t prohibitive, but is he going to be a better pick than Kareem Hunt or Javonte Williams when the dust settles? He fits into the classic Zero RB/Do the Opposite/Upside Down strategy if he falls to the fifth. Hawkins is a scatback who can have some marginal value if the Falcons keep the UDFA (monitor Caleb Huntley too). Ollison has generated some spring buzz and the new staff loves him, so he is the best late pick if you want to put a chip on Davis busting as the Falcons lead back.
Ridley’s cup should runneth over with targets, but he just had offseason foot surgery, so there’s reason for pause. Ridley has been like a sportscar so far in his career -- incredible performance, but lacking that edge if everything isn’t tuned up and in alignment. Finishing as the #1 overall receiver is within his range of outcomes, but if he isn’t 100% during camp, pivot to Justin Jefferson. Gage should be a fine high floor option, but his ADP has come up enough that there’s no discount, especially when looking at the wide receivers around him on the draft board. Elijah Moore, Marvin Jones Jr, and Darnell Mooney among others are going in Gage’s vicinity, but are better picks for best-ball formats. Zaccheaus is a viable late pick in deep leagues, as the next man up if Gage or Ridley go down, but monitor the development of sixth-round pick Frank Darby too.
Expect Pitts' ADP to continue to rise through the summer. Everything out of OTAs pointed in the direction of the Falcons using him as a foundational player in the offense and Arthur Smith’s background as a tight end coach should only help. The best ball format offsets the risk that Pitts is a disappointment and gives rosters a chance to benefit from the possibility of elite tight end scoring at a discount from teams that take one of the top three. The Falcons could employ two tight ends as a base set, which would give Hurst enough opportunity to have value in deep drafts.
Offensive Outlook: The Panthers seemed to think Teddy Bridgewater was holding back the offense in 2020 and had a mission to improve at quarterback this offseason. Will Sam Darnold be an improvement? They traded for him and passed on Justin Fields at #8. The team barely had Christian McCaffrey last year, so his return should help matters.
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