2014 DRAFT GUIDE
NFC South

2012-07-10 12:33:13
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports

Saints hope Brees is in camp

Falcons

Atlanta hopes to take another step forward this season. The Falcons are a team on the rise and look to make a deeper run in the playoffs in 2012. The talent is there for this team to do well. The defense remains the one question mark for the team. This unit improved last season but still had some struggles throughout the season. If they can play more consistent football, the Falcons can make a Super Bowl run. Atlanta gets camp started July 26 at the Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Ga.

Position battle: Not a whole lot to sort out for the Falcons but one position to watch is cornerback. The team added Asante Samuel to boost the secondary. He should have a starting role but he won't be handed the job with Dunta Robinson hoping to keep his starting job. And Brent Grimes is likely to start as well but again, he won't be handed the job. He'll need to earn it. The good news is the Falcons are a lot deeper and talented at cornerback this season, which should give their secondary a big boost.

Injury watch: The Falcons really don't have any injuries of note coming into the season, which is a good thing for the team. The only player to keep an eye on, though, is running back Michael Turner. He is getting up there in age and has a lot of carries under his belt. The Falcons want to cut back his workload this season to keep him fresh and effective.

Saints

The Saints will certainly be a team to watch this training camp with so much turmoil surrounding the team. It will be interesting to see how the team responds to "bounty gate" and the Drew Brees contract situation. Needless to say, it won't be business as usual for the Saints this training camp. New Orleans starts camp on July 27 at the Saints Training Facility in Metairie, La.

Position battle: Not sure if this is a position battle but the running back spot is one to keep a close watch. There are four backs competing for carries for the Saints. And all are capable and have done well when given past chances. Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Christopher Ivory are the backs vying for touches. Maybe one of these guys will step forward and earn more work during camp.

Injury watch: Mark Ingram had offseason toe and knee surgeries. This is a concern as Ingram has a little history with knee issues. Neither surgeries were too serious but they could keep Ingram from being healthy for training camp. He could be a little slowed early in the year as he recovers from his offseason surgeries. The Saints could ease him into things early in the season.

Panthers

The Panthers didn't win a lot more games last season but got much better with Cam Newton leading the way at quarterback. He is the cornerstone of the franchise for years to come and will be looked on to elevate his play after a monster rookie season. It will be interesting to see if Newton can top last season. The pressure will be on Newton when he opens camp July 28 at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.

Position battle: It seems this spot is up for grabs every year but the starter opposite Steve Smith still isn't settled. It sure looks like Brandon LaFell will be given every chance to start but he won't be handed anything. David Gettis will be his top competition for the starting spot.

Injury watch: Linebacker Jon Beason is recovering from Achilles' surgery. He is supposed to be ready for training camp and shouldn't be limited much, which is a positive for the Panthers. Beason is the starting middle linebacker and a key to the Panthers' defense, which struggled at times last season. They need a healthy Beason back in the lineup.

Bucs

Tampa looked like a team on the rise but last season was a huge bust for the Bucs. They hope to right the ship this year with a new coach in place and some new talent added on the offensive side of the ball. The Bucs have a lot to get on the same page with so much "new" in place for 2012, so training camp will be particularly important for this squad. The fun begins for the Bucs starting July 27 at One Buc Place in Tampa, Fla.

Position battle: Rookie Doug Martin is likely to start for the Bucs unless he somehow falls on his face. He is the complete package at running back, doing well as a runner and receiver. LeGarrette Blount was the starter much of the last two seasons, though, and isn't going to just hand Martin the job. He has something to prove as this might be his last chance to keep a starting job.

Injury watch: The Bucs are another pretty healthy team heading into the coming season. They really don't have any big-name player returning from major injury. But one injury-prone player to watch is Dallas Clark, who is taking over as the No. 1 tight end for the Bucs. If healthy and playing at a high level, Clark can be a big-time fantasy producer. But he hasn't looked quite right in recent seasons, making him a bit of a concern for 2012.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Jeff Paur at jeff@rtsports.com

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

David WilsonJul 31 12:01p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) 'needs a miracle' from his surgeon's evaluation to be able to continue his playing career, according to a source.

David WilsonJul 31 11:52a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) attended team meetings Thursday, July 31, and appeared ready to go, according to RB Rashad Jennings.

Brent UrbanJul 31 11:42a

Baltimore Ravens DE Brent Urban (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during practice Wednesday, July 30, and will miss the entire 2014 season.

Lance LouisJul 31 11:32a

Indianapolis Colts OG Jack Mewhort appears to be the leading candidate for the starting left guard job. OG Lance Louis is also considered a candidate for the job.

Donald ThomasJul 31 11:22a

Indianapolis Colts OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps) is scheduled to undergo season-ending quadriceps surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

Nick BarnettJul 31 11:12a

Free-agent LB Nick Barnett (Redskins) is still an option for the Atlanta Falcons depending on what happens with the team's linebackers. The Falcons worked out Barnett in June but did not sign him.

Josh GordonJul 31 10:42a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is not practicing Thursday, July 31, and presumably will miss practice Friday, Aug. 1, to attend his suspension appeal hearing.

Eric BerryJul 31 10:32a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (leg, foot) was carted off at practice Thursday, July 31, with a right leg or foot injury. SS Jerron McMillian has taken his place.

Jordan TodmanJul 31 09:52a

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart is expected to be spelled by RBs Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson so he doesn't reach the 300-carry plateau.

Morgan BurnettJul 31 09:42a

Green Bay Packers FS Morgan Burnett (ankle) and SS Tanner Miller (undisclosed) are not practicing Thursday, July 31.

Micah HydeJul 31 09:42a

Green Bay Packers FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is working with the first-team defense at strong safety beside FS Micah Hyde Thursday, July 31.

Lardarius WebbJul 31 09:23a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back), DE Brent Urban (knee), DT Timmy Jernigan (back), OG Will Rackley (concussion) and WR Jeremy Butler (undisclosed) are out of practice Thursday, July [ More ]

Terrell SuggsJul 31 09:03a

Baltimore Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, DT Haloti Ngata and LB Daryl Smith are not practicing Thursday, July 31.

Nate GarnerJul 31 08:53a

Miami Dolphins C Nate Garner is working with the first-team offense again Thursday, July 31, over C Shelley Smith.

A.J. HawkJul 31 01:53a

Green Bay Packers LB Brad Jones has been working ahead of LB A.J. Hawk as the lone linebacker in the dime defense in practice.

Matt CasselJul 31 01:53a

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater saw reps with the first-team offense in practice Wednesday, July 30. According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, QB Matt Cassel appears to lead the [ More ]

Christian PonderJul 31 01:53a

Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder's reps were cut during practice Wednesday, July 30.

Josh GordonJul 30 11:43p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is in Stage III of the NFL's substance-abuse program, and a positive test automatically triggers a one-year suspension. For Gordon, only two options exist: [ More ]

Rod StreaterJul 30 11:43p

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (concussion) participated in warmups and drills Wednesday, July 30, but he sat out team sessions. Streater suffered a concussion Monday, July 28, and has [ More ]

Joique BellJul 30 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee) missed organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp while recovering from a knee injury, but he looked good cutting and accelerating with ease during [ More ]

Rob SimsJul 30 10:23p

Detroit Lions OG Rob Sims (knee) missed organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp while recovering from a knee injury, but he held his own working against DT Nick Fairley [ More ]

Allen RobinsonJul 30 10:13p

Updating a previous report, Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (and fellow rookie WR Marqise Lee) have seen plenty of opportunity at training camp with WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and [ More ]

Marqise LeeJul 30 10:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (and fellow rookie WR Allen Robinson) have seen more reps in training camp with WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and WR Ace Sanders (personal) sidelined. [ More ]

Carl NicksJul 30 08:03p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially released OG Carl Nicks (toe) Wednesday, July 30, with an injury settlement.

David WilsonJul 30 06:43p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) tweeted that he is fine after leaving practice early Tuesday, July 29. Wilson said he passed all physical examinations and will find out more Monday, Aug. 3.

Jim LeonhardJul 30 05:53p

The Cleveland Browns signed SS Jim Leonhard (Bills) Wednesday, July 30. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Aldon SmithJul 30 04:43p

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is not participating in practice Wednesday, July 30, as he attends a hearing at the Los Angeles City Attorney's office regarding an April [ More ]

Fred JacksonJul 30 04:13p

The Buffalo Bills have signed RB Fred Jackson to a one-year contract extension. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jason GarrettJul 30 03:23p

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence (foot) will undergo surgery for a broken foot Thursday, July 31, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

LaMichael JamesJul 30 03:03p

San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James (elbow) will wear a brace on his dislocated elbow and should be ready for the start of the regular season, according to head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Brent UrbanJul 30 02:23p

Baltimore Ravens DE Brent Urban (leg) and DT Timmy Jernigan (back) appear to have suffered injuries during practice Wednesday, July 30. Urban was helped off the field after suffering the injury.

Tyron SmithJul 30 02:03p

Dallas Cowboys OT Tyron Smith has agreed to terms with the team on an eight-year contract extension worth $98 million, according to a source.

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