Last year the New Orleans Saints were a Stefon Diggs miracle catch away from making the NFC Championship.

The year before, the Atlanta Falcons were ahead in the Super Bowl, 28-3, and somehow still lost in overtime to the New England Patriots.

The year before that, Cam Newton won the league MVP before going on to lose to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

The Bucs were on Hard Knocks.

The NFC South also provides great fantasy options. The stats are here to tell you a story.


Interim head coach, Jim Hanifan, was very into props when making motivational speeches during the 1989 season. He once brought in a stick of dynamite, and told them to be explosive while inviting the players to come up and touch it before a game against the 49ers. They lost to San Francisco 23-10. The next week he brought in three hand grenades when they travelled to play the Vikings. They lost to Minnesota 43-17. But he needed to up his game for this third and final attempt at explosiveness. He left a disarmed bomb in the locker room when they played Washington. The Falcons lost again. 31-30

The Falcons led the league with 30 total dropped passes. Therefore, Matt Ryan ’s raw completion percentage was only 64.7 percent. But his adjusted completion percentage (which considers those drops, throwaways, etc.) was 76.6 percent, the third best in the league behind only Drew Brees and Alex Smith .

The Falcons went from scoring a league-high 33.8 points per game in 2016 to 22.1 points per game in 2017. Devonta Freeman dropped from 1,079 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns to 865 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns. He did, however, also miss two games due to a concussion and suffered a nagging knee injury.

From Weeks 1 through 8, Tevin Coleman only once played in more than 41 percent of the team snaps. Only during the four-game stint of Freeman’s injury and in Week 17 did Coleman play in more than 44 percent of the team snaps and even with Freeman on the bench, he never exceeded 69 percent. However, he and Freeman scored the same number of touchdowns (8).

Julio Jones has four straight years of 1,400-plus receiving yards. Antonio Brown has four straight years of 1,200-plus yards, but no one else is even close. But… touchdowns. It’s not just last year. Over the last four seasons, Julio Jones has only scored 23 touchdowns during regular season games. That’s 5.75 touchdowns per year.

Only 12 of Mohamed Sanu ’s 96 targets were in the red zone. 19 of Julio Jones ’ 148 targets were in the red zone. Sanu scored two more touchdowns than Jones.

Calvin Ridley came out of Alabama known for his route running ability. However, PFF noted that he dropped 23 of his 247 catchable passes in this three years of college, amounting to a 9.3% drop rate. That is very high.

Austin Hooper started the 2017 season with an 88-yard touchdown against the Bears. He only scored two other touchdowns and didn’t eclipse 50 receiving yards in a game the rest of the season.


The now infamous Jerry Richardson was only the second former professional football player to own an NFL franchise team. Even though the team was established in 1993, In anticipation of his future endeavors, Richardson started driving with a license plate PNTHRS in 1989. That is what we call “manifesting.”

Only once has Cam Newton thrown over 4,000 yards. That was his rookie season in 2011.That’s also the only year he had more than 300 completions and one of only two seasons with a 60 percent-plus completion rate. Newton has never scored less than five rushing touchdowns in an NFL season.

Christian McCaffrey put up 16 or fewer rushing yards in nine games last year. But his 80 receptions were the third most among running backs just behind Alvin Kamara and Le’Veon Bell. He also tied with Kamara for the second most receiving touchdowns at the position (5).

C.J. Anderson was one of only nine running backs to put up over 1,000 rushing yards in 2017. He also averaged 4.1 yards per carry. However, he only scored four total touchdowns. Every other back with 1,000-plus rushing yards scored at least eight touchdowns on the season.

According the PFF, Devin Funchess only logged three drops last year. Only Doug Baldwin and Michael Thomas had over 100 targets and fewer drops.

D.J. Moore was the first receiver taken in the 2017 NFL Draft at the 24th overall pick. He averaged 7.0 yards after the catch over the course of his college career. Golden Tate averaged 6.9 yards after the catch, which was the absolute most of any receiver in 2017 with more than 50 catches.

Last March, the Panthers acquired Torrey Smith in exchange for cornerback Daryl Worley . During the regular season, Smith caught 36 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns over the course of 16 games. During the Eagles playoff run, he caught 13 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown over the course of three games.

After getting released from the Minnesota Vikings, Jarius Wright went on to sign a two-year contract with the Panthers. Since 2012, he hasn’t put up over 588 yards in a season or scored more than three touchdowns. However, in two games during the Vikings playoff run last year, he caught six passes for 107 yards.

Curtis Samuel was a second-round 2016 draft pick who only played in nine games during his rookie season. He will start training camp on the non-football injury list after aggravating his surgically repaired ankle earlier in the summer.

Greg Olsen suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot last year. In Weeks 1 and 2, he caught three passes for 28 yards. Week 15 was the only week he had more than 27 receiving yards and he scored his only touchdown of the season. During the team’s one playoff game, Olsen caught eight passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. Olsen led the Panthers in receptions in four of the last five years.


The New Orleans Saints were founded in 1967. Their first winning season was in 1987. They went 12-3 that year and made the playoffs for the first time. Since Drew Brees became their quarterback in 2006, the Saints haven’t finished a season worse than 7-9 and they have made the playoffs six times. Prior to Brees, the franchise went to the playoffs only five times.

Last year Drew Brees put up his lowest amount of pass attempts since 2005, but he also set the all-time NFL single-season record for completion percentage and was second in the league in yards per attempt (8.09) only behind Deshaun Watson of the quarterbacks with at least 200 attempts. He hasn’t averaged over 8.0 YPA or been in the top-five for that stat line since 2011.

Alvin Kamara led all running backs with 826 receiving yards. Also, 9.2 percent of his carries went for 15 yards or more. He and Mark Ingram are the first running back teammates in NFL history to both top 1,500 yards from scrimmage in the same season.

Mark Ingram will serve a four-game suspension for use of a banned substance. He will return in Week 5. The Saints’ bye week is Week 6. After that the Saints will play at Baltimore, at Minnesota, and then home against the Los Angeles Rams.

The New Orleans Saints selected Boston Scott from Louisiana Tech in the sixth round of this year’s draft. Despite his smaller stature (5-foot-7, 200 pounds), according to PFF, he broke 51 tackles on 199 touches giving him the third best elusive rating in this year’s class, only behind Rashaad Penny of San Diego State and Josh Adams of Notre Dame. Scott also averaged 3.9 yards after contact.

Other running backs on the Saints roster are Jonathan Williams , Terrance West , and Trey Edmunds .

Michael Thomas caught 196 passes over the first two years of his career, the most in any first two years in NFL history. Last year he only dropped 1.89 percent of the catchable targets, second only to Doug Baldwin among players with more than 40 receptions on the year.

Cameron Meredith went to the Saints after the Bears wouldn’t match a two-year, $10 million offer sheet. In 2016, Meredith caught 66 passes for 888 yards and four touchdowns. He missed all of 2017 with a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee. At the start of training camp, Meredith was on the field with his team.

Ted Ginn Jr. turned 33 years old in last April. In 2016, according to Next Gen Stats, he hit 22.11 mph in-game-speed. In 2017, Leonard Fournette had the best in-game-speed in Week 5 when he hit 22.05 mph.

Tre’Quan Smith is a big-play third-round draft pick. 55.4 percent of his catches went for a first down or a touchdown.

Brandon Coleman opened camp on the PUP list due to an undisclosed injury. He signed a one-year deal in April.

Ben Watson caught 79 percent of his targets last year, the best rate of all tight ends with at least 50 catches. In 2015, Watson caught 74 passes for 825 yards and six touchdowns while playing with Drew Brees .


In 2010, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first team since the merger to post a winning season when starting 10 or more rookies. The Buccaneers, Saints, and the New York Jets are the only NFL teams to win their only Super Bowl appearance.

Jameis Winston ’s completion percentage went from 58.3 percent his rookie season, to 60.8 percent, to 63.8 percent last year. 63.8 percent was 13th in the league. He was also 13th in passing yards. He tied for 18th in passing touchdowns (19) while missing three games. This year he will miss the first three games of the season due to violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.

Ryan Fitzpatrick started three games last season and went 2-1. He saw the field in six games, finishing the year with 1,103 receiving yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions.

Both Ryan Griffin and Austin Allen will compete to be Fitzpatrick’s backup during Winston’s absence. 

Ronald Jones II averaged 6.1 yards per carry over the course of his collegiate career. Last year he averaged 3.5 yards after contact alone. However, Jones only saw 14 targets last year. He caught 13 of them.

In 2016, Peyton Barber became a part of the Bucs as an undrafted rookie. His best game came in Week 13 of last season when he carried the ball 23 times for 102 yards and added in four catches for 41 yards. He put up at least 55 yards from scrimmage in every game for the rest of the season.

Charles Sims put up over 1,000 total yards in 2015. He hasn’t put up over 375 total yards in any of his other three seasons.

In 2017, the only two games of more than 40 yards for Jacquizz Rodgers came in Weeks 2 and 4. He scored one touchdown over the course of the season.

Mike Evans averaged 1.6 yards after the catch. That was 117th out of 120 receivers who played in at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps. In 2016, he averaged 2.0 after the catch, 121st of 130 eligible receivers. Mike Evans is 2.13 yards tall. However, he’s gone over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his four NFL seasons.

According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, head coach Dirk Koetter made an entire tape of times when DeSean Jackson was in the right place but the offense couldn’t get him the ball. Jackson’s 13.4 yards per catch was the lowest of his career. He only posted 50 catches for 668 yards and three touchdowns. In 2016, he caught 56 passes for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 17.9 yards per catch.

The Bucs took Chris Godwin in the third round of the 2017 draft. Over the course of his rookie season he caught 34 passes for 525 yards and a touchdown. 84.2 percent of those yards and the score all came in the last eight games of the season.

Last season, 82.2 percent of Adam Humphries ’ routes came from the slot. 47 of his catches were from the slot which was the seventh most among any wide receiver last year.

Second year tight end O.J. Howard spent the last two games of his rookie season on IR with a foot injury. He finished his first year in the league with 26 receptions for 432 yards and six touchdowns.

Cameron Brate also scored six touchdowns while catching 48 passes for 591 receiving yards. However, while Howard played in 64 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, Brate only played in 54 percent.