By Tim Monk – @Tim_MonkF10Y
- New Orleans 13-3
- Atlanta 7-9
- Carolina 7-9
- Tampa Bay 5-11
New Orleans slayed all before them whilst the wagon wheels of the other teams either fell off (Carolina) or never got attached on properly (Atlanta, Tampa). But it’s not crazy to think that at least 2 teams come from this division for the playoffs. New Orleans are the favourites and rightly so, but this division is ripe for an interchangeable division winner if all teams put their best foot (or wagon) forward.
Draft selections: Erik McCoy (#48), Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (#105), Saquan Hampton (#177), Alize Mack (231), Kaden Elliss (#244)
Offseason key additions: TE Jared Cook, RB Latavius Murray, DT Malcolm Brown, G Nick Easton
Offseason key departures: RB Mark Ingram, C Max Unger, DE Alex Okafor, TE Ben Watson
Super Bowl odds: 10/1
Couldn’t have gotten more heartbreaking last year for the Saints (didn’t we say that the year before? #MinnesotaMiracle).
The #1 seed from 2018 returns once more in the quest for ring #2 for Drew Brees. No doubt they will be front runners again for the NFC crown and rightly so.
Signal caller Brees had a record in completion % last year which star wideout Michael Thomas was the main beneficiary. Expect these two to produce similar numbers, especially with Thomas signing a $100m, $61m guaranteed deal a few weeks ago.
Latavius Murray brings his hammer looking to emulate Mark Ingram’s production from the past few years but expect him to be a bit more of a short yardage guy meaning that Kamara has a #1 RB ceiling in fantasy.
The shock retirement of Max Unger means that Brees will be touching the buttocks of draft pick Erik McCoy this season but I’m not sure that this will be to the detriment of a top offensive line.
Jared Cook has come over from the Raiders and feels like a bit of a trap for fantasy football but does have a high ceiling if being utilised.
Not much fresh blood through the draft, after trading up last year to get Marcus Davenport but another Super Bowl run is expected in Louisiana and maybe this time, there is no more heartbreak. The creeking of the Drew Brees Super Bowl opportunity window is getting louder though…
Look out for:
Drew Brees dropoff – the veteran and future hall of famer showed hints that the cliff edge may be nearing and there always seems to be rumours circling this could be his final hurrah no matter the result. The offence in place is perfectly suited to his abilities which are as explosive as they once were. He still has it between the ears and sometimes that’s enough for talented guys like Brees. It never did Tom Brady any harm though, did it?
Draft selections: Chris Lindstrom (#12), Kaleb McGarry (#31), Kendall Sheffield (#111), John Cominsky (#135), Qadree Ollison (#152), Jordan Miller (#172), Marcus Green (#203)
Offseason key additions: G James Carpenter, DE Adrian Clayborn
Offseason key departures: DE/OLB Bruce Irvin, CB Justin Bethel, RB Tevin Coleman, K Matt Bryant
Super Bowl odds: 33/1
Not too much in the way of big disruption here for the Falcons both on the playing roster or in the coaching staff. Yes, Dirk Koetter comes over from Tampa Bay but he and Matt Ryan have already had slumber parties together so it’s not a transition to a new scheme, something which Matty Ice has struggled with previously.
Matt Ryan must be one of the top 5 most happiest players after the offseason; the amount of bodies and depth the Falcons went and acquired either in the draft (2 1st round draft picks on lineman) or Free Agency (James Carpenter) will put a massive smile on #2. It also put a massive smile on my face as a fantasy owner and also as I project him to be the #2 QB this year. Poetry.
Julio Jones has kept his toys in the pram pretty much considering others all around him in the NFL haven’t. he trusts that he will get a new contract and I bet he cant wait judging by what Michael Thomas just got. The 2018 leading yardage receiver will be up there once again in 2019, especially as 2nd year wideout Calvin Ridley show flashes last year and helped take a tiny bit of coverage away. Add the return of Devonta Freeman who missed last season with injury, this is a serious offence and it will do a lot of damage… even Austin Hooper has a ceiling of TE4 in fantasy (did I just say that?!?!). For those people that are a bit wary of Devonta Freeman, take solace in the fact that they let Tevin Coleman go. He wasn’t quite as mustard as they thought I guess.
On the other side of the ball, this defence was so decimated by injury last year, even the Redskins Offensive line raised their eyebrows at the list. They have the pieces in Grady Jarrett,Tak McKinley, Vic Beasley, Deion Jones, Keanu Neal and leading INT from 2018 Damontae Kazee. On paper, this is easily a playoff calibre team and after underwhelming last year, HC Dan Quinn must be in the hot seat. Especially after a bad year when they could have been the home team in the Super Bowl. A lot will depend on the new right side of the offensive line and how they acquit themselves but seems to be that they’ll get the bulk of returns from those investments after next year.
Look out for:
Devonta Freeman – After missing last year through injuries picked up in week 1 and then week 5, many have concerns. I am going to trust the Falcons’s actions though for my opinion after letting Coleman go to San Francisco. The 27 year old out of Florida State is in the 3rd year of his $41.25m contract which was a record high at the time. I think the Falcons will make him earn his money and that should translate to seeing him as a top 10 RB at the very least and return to the 2015/2016 form that saw him earn that contract.
Draft selections: Brian Burns (#16), Greg Little (#37), Will Grier (#100), Christian Miller (#115), Jordan Scarlett (#154), Dennis Daley (#212), Terry Godwin (#237)
Offseason key additions: WR Chris Hogan, DE Bruce Irvin, C Matt Paradis
Offseason key departures: WR Devin Funchess, WR Damiere Byrd , CB Captain Munnerlyn, OL Matt Kalil, LB Thomas Davis
Super Bowl odds: 50/1
The Carolina Panthers’ season is there for all to see on All or Nothing. In a way it was an epitome of the show’s title.
First 8 games, they had it all; Wins, great performances and momentum. The hit from TJ Watt in the Pittsburgh game to the right shoulder of Cam Newton was when it all starting to go to nothing. A gutsy 2pt play by Ron Rivera came up bearing no fruits against the Lions away from home and it all started to unravel.
Cam barely practiced at all last season because of the shoulder injury and it’s been said that he could barely throw the ball further than 10 yards in some of those games.
Due to dip in performances on the defence, there were coaching changes and led to Rivera calling plays too. There wont be many teams that started 6-2 that then went on to not play January football.
They said goodbye to a few veterans in the offseason including Matt Kalil, Thomas Davis and Captain Munnerlyn so this team certainly will have a younger, quicker and fresher feel in 2019. That includes Brian Burns at linebacker who will immediately improve this defence. Greg Little was a nice pickup to for that offensive line along with Free Agent signing Matt Paradis from the Broncos.
OC Norv Turner worked wonders in introducing a shorter passing game last season and utilising the tools available to him in DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel and of course Christian McCaffrey. He’ll have to be clever in the way he utilises #1 this season to avoid a repeat of injuries but Cam is THE difference maker for this team. They have a legitimate top 10 offensive line and an underrated defence so the Panthers in my view are a dark horse for a deep playoff run. Getting there may be harder than the actual playoffs themselves due to the quality in this division.
Look out for:
Resurgent Cam – I for one, really enjoyed watching All or Nothing as we got an insight in to the enigma that is Cam Newton. It certainly showed his love and appetite for the game and that he wants to win above all else. He has always come back from adversity well and I expect no different here. There is a concern that his second surgery to that shoulder is 1 too many but has been looking good in practice and there have been no limitations. He is a steal in fantasy drafts and Norv Turner, the OC, knows how to get him to perform to his best. Cam was a top 5 fantasy QB prior to the Pittsburgh game on TNF.
Draft selections: Devin White (#5),
Offseason key additions: DT Ndamukong Suh, WR Breshard Perriman (yes, I went there)
Offseason key departures: WR Adam Humphries, WR DeSean Jackson, LB Kwon Alexander
Super Bowl odds: 100/1
Everybody’s favourite Bruce Arians comes in at Tampa Bay closely followed behind by new OC Byron Leftwich. These 2 are creative and explosive minds who will ensure that even if they lose, they’ll go gung ho about it. Luckily for them, they have the players to compliment that. Everyone has an opinion on how Jameis Winston will get on and it’ll be interesting to see if there is any transformation and any step forward in maturity and whether that translates in to his play on the field (and off to be fair). There are losses on both sides of the ball but on offence, expect Chris Godwin and OJ Howard to have stellar seasons as well as Mike Evans, who has had 5 straight 1000 yard seasons every year since he came in to the league as the trio look to hoover up the targets and touchdowns vacated by slot receiver Adam Humphries and speedster DeSean Jackson.
The leaky defence is still there, especially on the back end but losses of Kwon Alexander and Gerald McCoy certainly wont help. Ndamukong Suh will try and plug the gap as will Devin Bush and the 5 other defensive players draft by the Bucs in this year’s draft.
Expect the high yardage and high scoring games for the Bucs once again this year, meaning Winston and the WR could be returning great value this year. At running back, who knows? 2018 2nd round pick Ronald Jones struggled to get on the field and was even a healthy scratch some weeks as he AVERAGED 1.9ypc and looked like he had Jason Pierre Paul’s gloves on when catching the ball last year. The usual buzz has been released around his prospects this year but for someone who can’t beat out Peyton Barber is already destined for the XFL.
In an extremely tough division, it’s an absolute banker that these boys finish bottom of the pile, so go find a treasure chest full of money and go bet on it.
Look out for:
Jameis Winston – It’s put up or XFL for Jameis this year. Play well and he’ll be rewarded with a huge deal. Play poorly, and he could well wind up with Vince McMahon. Ok, maybe more a transition to a journeyman backup quarterback awaits but talking of which, the release of Ryan FItzpatrick is a sign of faith in the former #1 overall pick in 2014 and Bruce Arians apparently loves him and can fix him (though that’s what women say about a******e boyfriends).
Jameis is a polarising player here at Full10Yards; Rob loves him and i just cant have him personally. Does he have the talent? Possibly but we shouldn’t still be asking that question for a guy in his 5th year option. He has a 21-33 record and an 88-58 TD-INT ratio.
That being said, Byron Leftwich at OC coming over from the Cardinals could be the key that unlocks the box to Jameis. I’m just not betting my bottom dollar on it, and neither should you.
2019 Season Prediction
- New Orleans 11-5
- Atlanta 10-6
- Carolina 9-7
- Tampa Bay 6-10