The Clem Report’s 2014 NFC South Preview

Posted: September 3, 2014 in Football, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Atlanta Falcons

dirty-bird-o

Over/Under Win Total: 8.5

Odds to win division: +450

Odds to win Super Bowl: 40/1

Underrated Fantasy Player: Roddy White.  Roddy is a target machine that was an annual lock to be a Top 10 wide receiver before a high ankle sprain derailed his 2013 season.  Fully healthy with a recovered Julio Jones will mean White is ready to put up big boy numbers again.  There was also talk on Hard Knocks that Roddy would be getting some looks in the old Tony Gonzalez slot position, which could be a boon for his touchdowns.  He is a steal as a WR2.

Overrated Fantasy Player: Steven Jackson.  The Falcons couldn’t wait to get rid of Michael Turner once it was obvious that he was old and washed up.  They then took that freed up Turner money and signed Steven Jackson.  Oops.  Unless he is the last starting running back off the board, I would avoid him like the plague.  Old, injury prone running backs on passing-first teams are not a good look if you want to win your league.

Moment of Zen: 

Team Smokeshow: 

falcons fan

Bottom Line:  The Falcons were a play away from going to the Super Bowl in 2012 before last year’s nightmare season started.  If their star players on offense stay healthy, I expect them to make the playoffs or be right on the cusp of a wild card.  Over 8.5 is the pick.  In unrelated news, I need more October Gonzalez in my life.

Carolina Panthers

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Over/Under Win Total: 8.5

Odds to win division: +450

Odds to win Super Bowl: 50/1

Underrated Fantasy Player: Kelvin Benjamin.  A lot has been made about how awful Cam Newton’s receiving corps has been since the Panthers drafted him.  That isn’t wrong.  However, there has been a lot of chatter (myself included) about how bad his receiving options are this year.  But Benjamin has been a huge revelation in camp, laying waste to the myth that rookie wide receivers need a lot of time before they can be productive.  Benjamin is worth a late flier just because he is a 6’5″ monster that can be a legit touchdown threat.

Overrated Fantasy Player: Cam Newton.  That being said, I think the Panthers are going to struggle mightily in the passing game this season.  In addition to losing key pieces on their offensive line, Cam is coming off of ankle surgery and already has a hairline fracture in his rib.  Sometimes it just isn’t your season and everything goes wrong (See: 2013 Atlanta Falcons).  I expect Cam to be a big disappointment in fantasy this season, making him a huge value pick in 2015 drafts around the country.

Moment of Zen: 

Team Smokeshow: 

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Bottom Line: The Panthers have a mix of injuries, suspensions, and free agent losses that will ensure that things get ugly early.  I see Carolina bottoming out this season and cutting ties with old, dead weight contracts next year (cough, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, cough).  The Panthers will regret giving Riverboat Ron a contract extension in January.  There will be no joy in Pantherville this season.

New Orleans Saints

saints dance

Over/Under Win Total: 10.5

Odds to win division: -150

Odds to win Super Bowl: 12/1

Underrated Fantasy Player: Mark Ingram.  I am seeing Ingram going significantly later than Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson in every draft I have been in.  While Ingram has been a complete bust in the pros, he has also looked great this preseason and gotten the majority of runs with the 1st team offense.  As Chris Wesseling has been saying, there is a chance that Mark Ingram is this year’s Ryan Mathews.  I’d gladly use one of my last picks on him and find out.

Overrated Fantasy Player: Pierre Thomas. Right around draft time people forget about Thomas’ lack of productivity for much of the season and dream about owning a pass-catching running back in the high powered Saints attack.

Moment of Zen:

Team Smokeshow: 

saints_boobs_fan

Bottom Line: As you can see in the pictures above, the fans are fun and weird in Nawlins.  Sean Payton will have the offense humming on all gears as usual while Rob Ryan brings the wood on a much improved defense.  If the Saints can lock up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, I can see them going to the Super Bowl.  However, anything less than the 1 seed means they are likely going to have their season ended in another road playoff loss.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Over/Under Win Total: 7

Odds to win division: +550

Odds to win Super Bowl: 66/1

Underrated Fantasy Player: Vincent Jackson. Vinny Jay Jay has been one of the most underrated wide receivers in the league for years now.  Bad quarterback play and weird injuries/holdouts are the only things that have stopped him from being a lock Top 10 wideout every season.  While the bad Tampa Bay offensive line worries me, I think that Josh McCown’s experience throwing to giant receivers will bode well with the 6’5″ Jackson.  I have seen Jackson taken as late as the 20th wide receiver in some drafts, which is an absolute steal.

Overrated Fantasy Player: Mike Evans.  Unless you are in a deep draft, I wouldn’t touch Mike Evans.  His eye-popping numbers came from playing in a good offense at Texas A&M and his route running leaves a lot to be desired.  The “avoid rookie wide receivers in fantasy” rule comes to fruition with Evans.

Moment of Zen: 

Team Smokeshow: 

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Bottom Line: I loved Tampa Bay last year and I am still wiping the egg off of my face.  I think Lovie Smith comes in and makes that defense tough and turnover minded.  I also think the offense will have some hiccups, but the talent of Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson will put the team over 7 wins.  Those new jerseys are absolutely hideous, though.

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