The NFC South hosts four teams that definitely exist. The reigning NFL Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers call the division home, as do the New Orleans Saints. The Panthers and Falcons certainly exist, as well! This might be the league’s most average division when you even out the 4-12 Falcons with the NFL champions. Nevertheless, everyone gets to add players in the NFL Draft so who should they add for fantasy football purposes? Let’s take a look at the NFC South’s moves so far this offseason and figure out where the four teams in this division should go to bolster our fantasy football squads.
Atlanta Falcons (4-12)
Picks: #4, #35, #68, #108, #148, #182, #183, #187, #219
Key Additions: Mike Davis (RB)
Key Losses: Todd Gurley, Brian Hill & Ito Smith (RB), Alex Mack (C)
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Running Back, Offensive Line
The Atlanta Falcons seem to be a team without a direction. They pick at #4 in the 2021 NFL Draft, which means they should take whichever of Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Zach Wilson remains. But, they have far too much dead money invested in Matt Ryan in the next two seasons. That means, more than likely, they take a package deal and move back in the first to find pieces to win now. Running back and offensive line upgrades are two win-now pieces that could help you in your fantasy football leagues. They cut Ito Smith on Thursday, meaning their running back depth chart sits at: Mike Davis, Qadree Ollison, and Cordarrelle Patterson. Their best bet at this point in the game is snagging a running back in the second round.
The Atlanta Falcons ended 2020 with a bottom-twelve offensive line, despite spending two first-round picks in 2019 to bolster the line. They lost Alex Mack to the 49ers, so adding Landon Dickerson in the second round just makes sense, if he’s there.
Carolina Panthers (5-11)
Picks: #8, #39, #73, #113, #151, #193, #222
Key Additions: Sam Darnold (QB), David Moore (WR), Pat Elflein & Cam Erving (OL)
Key Losses: Curtis Samuel (WR)
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Offensive Line or a Big Name Pass Catcher
The Panthers made a big move this offseason, bringing in erstwhile New York Jets’ quarterback Sam Darnold for a handful of picks. They lost Curtis Samuel, who added a dimension to their offense, but that left Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore, so that certainly isn’t an earth-shaking switch for them to make. Really, they just have to protect Sam Darnold to make sure he gets the football to Christian McCaffrey and the two wide receivers, and we’re off to the races. To that point, the (barely) below-average Panthers’ offensive line could ups an upgrade. There’s an outside chance that offensive lineman Penei Sewell remains available at #8 this year, but I doubt it.
That means that one of the big pass-catching names goes to them at eight, if they don’t trade back. So, Sam Darnold will likely enter 2021 and his new team with Anderson, Moore and one of Smith/Waddle/Chase/Pitts. Not a bad setup for Darnold and for fantasy football purposes. If it’s Pitts, however, the Panthers need to adjust their game planning and their 41 targets to tight ends in 2020.
New Orleans Saints (12-4)
Picks: #28, #60, #98, #105, #133, #218, #229 (JAX), #255
Key Additions: Nick Vannett (TE)
Key Losses: Drew Brees (QB), Nick Easton (OL), Emmanuel Sanders (WR), Jared Cook & Josh Hill (TE)
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Wide Receiver, Quarterback
This is a team in transition and a team that needs to figure out who plays quarterback not only in 2021 but 2022, as well. It’s likely that those are two different players, and the Saints snag a developmental quarterback like Kellen Mond, for example. That’s probably their best bet for 2022 fantasy football relevance because they probably get priced out of Jameis Winston and realize that the then-32 Taysom Hill isn’t the quarterback for 2022 and beyond.
The Saints won’t have Brees anymore, which means they need to bolster their receiving game talent. Drew Brees could elevate guys like Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris to borderline fantasy football relevance, but he’s one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Smith has some slight value if New Orleans goes with Winston, given his “no risk it no biscuit” playstyle, but I doubt it. If they want to solidify all the deep shots into one guy, so be it. But, they more than likely want to add a strong #2 behind Michael Thomas if they want to get further with this offense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)
Picks: #32, #64, #95, #137, #176, #217, #251 (PIT), #259
Key Additions: Giovani Bernard (RB)
Key Losses: LeSean McCoy (RB), Antonio Brown (WR)
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Nothing?
It feels like I am punting here to round out the NFL Draft Wish List series, but uh… what do they need? They have one of the league’s best offensive lines, too many running backs, too many wide receivers, too many tight ends, and Tom Brady. So, I guess I can consider this one a free space? We don’t want anyone else added to this team, especially when you consider they ditched LeSean McCoy and added Giovani Bernard.
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