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Training Camp Preview: NFC South

Mon Jul 29 10:49am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Newton is a question mark


This is the seventh preview in a series of training camp previews. We will continue to release the previews throughout the week. The previews give you a quick look at each team, going over position battles and injuries to watch in camp. The season is right around the corner.

Falcons

The Falcons didn’t have the season as expected last year, failing to finish above .500. The big issue was the defense, allowing more than 400 points last year. The offense was very good with the passing game excelling. So much of this camp will be focused on getting the defense right. If that happens, the Falcons can make a playoff push.    

Position battle: Receiver Calvin Ridley had a solid rookie season but was a little up and down. Mohamed Sanu is the starter opposite Julio Jones right now but could lose that starting spot to Ridley. Sanu has been a productive NFL player but isn’t off the charts by any means. Ridley is the more talented player of the two with more upside for the big things. He should push Sanu for playing time and likely take over as the starter at some point. 

Injury watch: Running back Devonta Freeman played just two games last year, needing surgery to fix a groin injury. He is back to full strength and will be back to his lead duties for the Falcons. Atlanta needs him healthy with Tevin Coleman gone. Freeman will be counted on to carry the load a little more, so being healthy is pertinent for the Falcons and Freeman’s fantasy owners. 

Saints

The Saints don’t have a lot to be decided this training camp. Much of camp could be getting this team primed for a Super Bowl run. There are high expectations for the team after a good showing last year. Drew Brees doesn’t have a whole lot of time left to make another Super Bowl, so this season could be a big one for his legacy. 

Position battle: The Saints like to rotate receivers, giving plenty of guys chances during the season. But the starter opposite Michael Thomas still has a little more value than the other guys. Right now, Ted Ginn is the favorite to start but Tre’Quan Smith and a healthy Cameron Meredith could push Ginn for the starting spot. This will be a battle to watch because it has fantasy implications. Smith is an intriguing player that showed his rookie year he is capable of the huge game. 

Injury watch: Receiver Ted Ginn played just five games last year because of a knee injury. If he hopes to have a big role this year and keep his starting job, he will need to be healthy and stay healthy. Ginn seems back to his old self during offseason workouts but his age and last year is a concern going forward for him.  

Panthers

The big thing to watch in Panthers camp this year is Cam Newton. How is he going to recover from another surgery to his throwing arm? Newton really is the key to the season for the Panthers. The team needs him healthy and playing at a high level if they hope to have any success this year. The offense really goes through Newton. 

Position battle: D.J. Moore is going to start at one of the receiver spots and Curtis Samuel will work out of the slot, but the No. 2 receiver is up in the air. Devin Funchess is gone, leaving a hole at the position. The candidates to start are Jarius Wright, Torrey Smith and Chris Hogan. It really is a wide open battle without a favorite. We’ll know more as camp and the preseason progresses. 

Injury watch: Quarterback Cam Newton had major shoulder surgery this offseason. He is throwing but will be on a pitch count in camp. The Panthers will take it slow with their star quarterback. Newton has progressed well from the surgery but seeing how he is throwing the ball will be something fantasy teams should monitor closely. Newton is a real wild card this year after having shoulder surgery once again. 

Bucs

The Bucs made changes to the coaching staff once again, hiring Bruce Arians. He should be a big plus for the offense, including starting quarterback Jameis Winston. So the big focus of camp is likely being the Bucs getting up to speed both offensively and defensively with their new schemes. Hopefully, the offense picks things up quick because it could be pretty potent from a fantasy perspective. 

Position battle: The Bucs should have a real battle on their hands for the starting running back spot. Peyton Barber was the starter last year and has a leg up for the job, but second-year back Ronald Jones is looking to rebound from a poor rookie year. A new coaching staff should be a plus for Jones, who had a strong offseason of work. Jones should be given a fair shot to unseat Barber. 

Injury watch: Tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout season last year but missed six gams because of an ankle injury. He is yet to play a full season since entering the NFL. He has a chance for another big year but needs to be on the field for that to happen. Howard has not shown he can on the field to date but hopes to change that perception this season. He could be a star. 

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Chidobe Awuzie Sep 26 6:13pm ET

Dallas Cowboys DB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

C.J. Prosise Sep 26 5:53pm ET

Houston Texans RB C.J. Prosise was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Edmond Robinson Sep 26 5:33pm ET

Atlanta Falcons LB Edmond Robinson was activated from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Ty Montgomery Sep 26 5:13pm ET

New Orleans Saints RB Ty Montgomery (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Sept. 26. WR Bennie Fowler and DL Margus Hunt were signed to the active roster from the practice squad. C/G Will Clapp was waived.

From TheHuddle

Josh Allen Sep 26 5:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has been fantastic through the first two weeks of the regular season. In Week 2, Allen threw for 415 passing yards with four touchdowns in the victory over the Miami Dolphins. However, he'll face a tougher battle against the Los Angeles Rams this week. The tough Rams secondary held quarterback Carson Wentz to zero touchdowns. Allen has looked good this season, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. He should be treated as a low-end QB1 for this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Devin Singletary Sep 26 5:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary has been fairly average through the first two games of the regular season. He rushed 10 times for 56 yards in the victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. He continues to split up the carries with rookie Zack Moss, which hurts his value. However, he'll get a favorable matchup against the Los Angeles Rams this week. The same Rams Defense that allowed Miles Sanders to nearly rush for 100 yards last game. Although, Singletary is likely only going to see around 10 carries, so he should be treated as a high-end RB3.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Sep 26 5:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs gets a tough test in Week 3 against the Rams. Diggs will be going up against star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who has traditionally limited most top receivers in his career. Diggs ranks in the top-five in targets and is tied for first in the league with 239 receiving yards, so he's certainly talented enough to win this matchup. However, the Rams have been a classic funnel defense in the first two games of the season, so expect Buffalo to have more success with the run than the pass. It's possible Diggs connects on a long shot with Josh Allen, though it's best to view him as more of a WR2 than the WR1 he's been through the first two weeks.

From RotoBaller

Steven Hauschka Sep 26 4:53pm ET

Free-agent PKs Stephen Hauschka (Bills) and Aldrick Rosas (Giants) are among those expected to try out for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

From TheHuddle

Kyle Emanuel Sep 26 4:43pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders LB Kyle Emanuel and CB Madre Harper were activated from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Sep 26 4:43pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Sept. 26. OL Hroniss Grasu was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster. RB JaMycal Hasty and LB Joseph Walker were activated from the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Devin Singletary Sep 26 4:40pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary will operate as the team's lead back in Week 3 with rookie Zack Moss (toe) declared out for the contest against the Rams. That should open up at least 15 touches for Singletary against a Rams Defense that ranks 27th in rush DVOA. It's a great opportunity for the second-year pro and it vaults him from flex-status up to the RB2 conversation. Singletary is a must-start at this point in redraft leagues and should also be considered a good option in DFS formats.

From RotoBaller

Johnny Holton Sep 26 4:33pm ET

New York Giants WR Johnny Holton was activated from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Kenjon Barner Sep 26 4:33pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Kenjon Barner was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Melvin Ingram Sep 26 4:30pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Melvin Ingram (knee) was placed on the injured reserve on Saturday. The team will be without the services of Ingram- who has recorded at least seven sacks in each of the last five seasons- for the next three contests. It's certainly a downgrade for the Chargers' defensive unit as a whole, considering Ingram is one of their best pass-rushers. They could still be started in Week 3 against Carolina, though matchups against the Buccaneers and Saints, already shaky with Ingram, become matchups to avoid without him.

From RotoBaller

Frank Clark Sep 26 4:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs DE Alex Okafor didn't participate in practice Saturday, Sept. 26, and was ruled out for the Week 3 game against the Baltimore Ravens Monday, Sept. 28. CB Charvarius Ward (hand) was limited at practice and is questionable. FB Dorian O'Daniel (knee/ankle) and WR Sammy Watkins (concussion/neck) practiced in full but are questionable for Monday. RB Darrel Williams (ankle), DE Frank Clark (illness), CB Antonio Hamilton (groin), DT Derrick Nnadi (ankle), C Austin Reiter (knee) and S Juan Thornhill (knee) all practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Melvin Ingram Sep 26 4:13pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers G Ryan Groy, LB Malik Jefferson and DE Jessie Lemonier were promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 26. In corresponding moves, LB Asmar Bilal (calf), DE Melvin Ingram III (knee) and DT Justin Jones (shoulder) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list. S Jahleel Addae and RB Darius Bradwell were activated from the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Sep 26 4:03pm ET

Baltimore Ravens CB Tavon Young (knee) did not participate in practice Saturday, Sept. 26, and was ruled out for the team's Week 3 game Monday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Ravens OG D.J. Fluker (shoulder), LB/DB Anthony Levine (abdomen), DT Justin Madubuike (knee) and WR Chris Moore (finger) were limited practice participants Saturday and are listed as questionable for Monday.

From TheHuddle

George Iloka Sep 26 4:03pm ET

Minnesota Vikings CB Mark Fields and S George Iloka on Saturday, Sept. 26, were elevated to the active roster from the practice squad for Week 3.

From TheHuddle

Josh Jacobs Sep 26 4:00pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (hip) is listed as questionable for Week 3 against the Patriots. Tight end Darren Waller (knee) is also questionable. Both players were able to get limited practice sessions in on Friday after not being available earlier in the week and should be able to suit up Sunday. At first glance, it seems like a tough matchup for Jacobs, though New England ranks just 20th in rush DVOA. It's always a nerve-wracking experience starting a player against a Bill Belichick-defense, though Jacobs is currently seeing a ton of volume in this offense. If he's playing, you're starting him.

From RotoBaller

Alex Okafor Sep 26 3:53pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs DE Alex Okafor (hamstring) on Saturday, Sept. 26, was ruled out for the team's Week 3 game Monday against the Baltimore Ravens.

From TheHuddle