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Dynasty Draft Primer: NFC South (2024 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Draft Primer: NFC South (2024 Fantasy Football)

Avert your eyes. The weakest division in football stands starkly before us, begging for an indication that this is rock bottom. The only feasible direction is up for the NFC South.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers eked out the division title at 9-8 in a tiebreaker with the New Orleans Saints. After another CTRL-C/CTRL-V from the 7-10 Falcons, they finally hit CTRL-A/DELETE on the Arthur Smith era. The Panthers are in LaLa Land as a franchise, desperate to improve on their disastrous 2-15 season with their top pick appearing in the Windy City as star prospect Caleb Williams.

Dynasty managers far and wide still flock to the NFC South for fantasy football weaponry. Enough meaningful turnover in the South has dragged us back to the watering hole, eager to let the basement dwellers hurt us again. It will be different this time. Most of the player movement has settled, so let’s dive into the meaningful players for each team and look at each position through the lens of dynasty dominance.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Dynasty Draft Primer: NFC South

Check out our dynasty fantasy football draft outlook for each team in the NFC South.

Atlanta Falcons

It took three miserable seasons, but the Falcons finally addressed the elephant in the room. The QB situation in Atlanta was so bad under Arthur Smith’s regime that it ruined any chance for the team to even score 30 points in a single game. Smith was rudderless, pulling out all the stops, and even resorted to outright negligence to try and win games. The maligned silver spoon coach has moved on, just in time for GM Terry Fontenot to do the funniest thing imaginable.

Kirk Cousins, fresh off an Achilles tear and yet another birthday, was paid a hefty ransom to be the face of the new Falcons under Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Zac Robinson. They also spent the 8th overall pick in the draft on Michael Penix Jr. It still doesn’t make sense. This QB room is still the best it has been since Matt Ryan was in his prime.

Bijan Robinson was incredible last season. It surprised exactly no one. It was his usage that enraged fans and fantasy managers alike. We’re looking at a player who could become the next LaDainian Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson, so Robinson has no reason to repeat Smith’s crimes against sensible coaching. Tyler Allgeier is a fine player, but his spot in the rotation should be smaller this season and going forward. If not, we riot.

The wide receivers are still a bit suspect, but Drake London is exempt from that description. London is a superstar. Rondale Moore is an exciting slot and gadget player traded from the Cardinals. The team also added Darnell Mooney, who adds the vertical lid-lifting sorely missing from the Falcons offense under Smith. London is still a huge upside buy in dynasty leagues.

No player stands to gain more this season than Kyle Pitts. His gross under-utilization, along with abominable QB play, mired him into squalor last season. Pitts is a remarkable TE receiving weapon and a full year removed from his knee injury at the end of 2022. He is still my dynasty TE1 and is the most undervalued player at any position.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It was pretty cool to see Baker Mayfield show out for his new team in 2023. He was too good for Cleveland anyway. Now that he is the paid-up starter, we can pencil him in as a valuable asset to have as a QB2 in super flex formats. David Canales has moved on to Carolina, but the bones of a good offense are still here. Mayfield is the catalyst, as long as he stays within the parameters of Liam Coen’s offense.

The Rachaad White rollercoaster hit a peak last season under Canales. They gave it to him early and often, especially in the passing game where he flourished on his way to RB4 overall in PPR. White is still horribly inefficient in the ground game. He failed to reach 1,000 rushing yards on 272 attempts but did score six rushing touchdowns to go with three receiving. The Bucs drafted the shifty Bucky Irving from Oregon to act as a change of pace, but this is White’s backfield. He is a top-10 dynasty RB.

This receiving corps is long in the tooth, but still wily and effective. Mike Evans’ 10th consecutive season of more than 1,000 receiving yards was his best since 2018. He scored 13 more touchdowns, eclipsing a dozen for the fifth time in his illustrious career. Chris Godwin is moving back to the slot, which is great news for everyone. He is a decent buy in dynasty because of it. I envision Jalen McMillan earning a starting role as Tampa Bay’s flanker by the end of 2024. He is a rookie who had some magical success on a couple of great Washington Huskies teams.

Cade Otton is fine. He is a steady receiver good for 60-70 targets. Otton is more notorious for his run blocking, solidifying his mainstay on the field with one of the highest snap shares among NFL TEs. The only thing he lacks is upside as a receiver, which leaves him as merely a depth piece on a dynasty roster who can be started in a pinch.

New Orleans Saints

Derek Carr is back. He reworked his deal to free the Saints from their self-inflicted salary cap hell. His 2023 was solid. Carr is slightly above average, but I am encouraged by the moves the team has made around him. Klint Kubiak brings his version of the Shanahan offense to the Crescent City, which will give Carr more predetermined reads and athletes in space. He has some really nice young receivers to throw to, so let’s hope Carr can kick his severe touchdown allergies in the red zone.

Can we stop fading Alvin Kamara? He was RB11 in only 13 games last season. He looked to be his usual, slippery self after serving his suspension, especially as a backfield receiver. Jamaal Williams is still here for now, but my eye is on second-year pro Kendre Miller. The TCU product’s Week 18 performance against Atlanta reminded everyone of his talent, despite missing most of his rookie season with various injuries. He’s virtually free in dynasty leagues far and wide, so I’ll be scooping up shares all summer.

The Saints have done one thing remarkably well. They have built one hell of an exciting receiving corps. Chris Olave is a route-running technician with big play ability over the top. Rashid Shaheed is another vertical threat who was also utilized in a gadget role because of his ability to chew up yards after the catch. Young A.T. Perry is a gazelle with track speed and basketball skills that can be lethal in the red zone to help his scoring-challenged QB. Perry stands to improve the most over last season, but all three will have some huge performances in 2024 and beyond.

This TE room is perplexing. Juwan Johnson is clearly the best receiver in the group, but we still have to put Taysom Hill somewhere. As admirable as it is to see Hill go out there and play football like he’s the coach’s son, he isn’t a serious option to bank on in dynasty formats. Johnson is the one I want to see given an expanded role in the passing game, especially since Carr hasn’t tossed 30 touchdowns since he was playing home games at the Oakland Coliseum.

Carolina Panthers

Please, Bryce Young, I am begging for you to not be a bust. I still believe in you. Last season was an abject disaster. You had three coaches bickering about philosophy and only one geriatric receiver getting open. Don’t get me started about the pass protection and running game. Things are looking up. The Panthers addressed every concern to help out their young signal caller. He is a football savant and might turn into the best comeback story in the NFL. Or he might not. I can’t cut bait this early, but a part of me is still anxious that Carolina can’t do right by him.

This is the worst group of running backs in the NFL. At least it was until the Panthers drafted Jonathon Brooks from Texas in the second round. Brooks is recovering from an ACL tear but had a stellar college career full of highlight runs in Burnt Orange. Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard? Don’t waste your time. Theirs has come and gone. Rashaad Penny and Tarik Cohen have been invited to camp to keep their NFL dreams alive.

The WR room is quite a bit different from last season. Diontae Johnson is an excellent route runner and will provide Young with the widest throwing windows he has seen since his days in Tuscaloosa. Thielen is still here to work the soft spots in zone coverage and vacuum up targets in the middle of the field.

Jonathan Mingo was awful last year as a rookie. He needs to work on everything to ward off 32nd overall pick Xavier Legette. Legette is a YAC monster in the mold of Deebo Samuel who needs to polish his route running all the same. Dave Canales likes to move the chains and keep possession of the ball. The Legette pick is an interesting one to watch develop.

Do the Panthers have a TE worthy of rostering in even the deepest dynasty leagues? Maybe. Tommy Tremble is the de facto starter but is much more known for his blocking than as a receiver. Rookie Ja’Tavion Sanders is a good all-around player with decent receiving chops but might need a bit of time to get up to speed in the NFL. TE is one of the toughest positions to transition from college to the pros. I like his chances to develop in a room devoid of much snap competition.

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