Fantasy Football Stock Watch: NFC South Risers and fallers

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images /
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Fantasy Football
Fantasy Football, Drew Brees, Christian McCaffrey (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Assessing the fantasy football stock of the Saints, Falcons, Panthers and Buccaneers.

As was the case in our NFC East and NFC North Fantasy Football Stock Watch articles, we begin our fantasy football analysis with the men in the trenches. After all, offensive line play has an important yet understated impact on the fantasy football performance of skill position players.

Last year, the Atlanta Falcons retooled their offensive line in large part via the NFL Draft, landing both Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary in Round 1. The former played very well after missing the first 11 games due to a foot injury, and both prospects return to a developing unit anchored by Pro Bowler Alex Mack, one that should grow more cohesive as it remains largely intact.

The Carolina Panthers offensive line was a sieve on passing downs in 2019, finishing in a tie with the Miami Dolphins for the dubious title of league leader in sacks allowed (58). The addition of Russell Okung upgrades the ever-important left tackle position; he joins two other former Los Angeles Chargers starting linemen, Michael Schofield and Matt Paradis, in a move that should promote continuity.

The New Orleans Saints leveled up an already top-shelf offensive line with Michigan standout Cesar Ruiz, taken with the 24th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Ruiz will compete for the starting gig at right guard on a line surrounded by Pro Bowl-caliber talents like Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, and Ryan Ramczyk; he’ll also chip in at center when 2019 All-Rookie selection Erik McCoy needs a breather.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers return four of five starters in 2019, with Iowa rookie Tristan Wirfs,  the 13th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, serving as the lone newbie. Such stability bodes well for new Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and the rest of the offense.

Let’s go beyond the front lines and examine the prospects of the NFC South skill position players. We start with the Falcons, who are teeming to the talons with talent.