Fantasy Football Need to Know: NFC South

Fantasy Football Need to Know: NFC South

NFC South - What You Need To Know

New Orleans Saints (13-3, 547 Points For, lost in Divisional Playoffs): How much does an elite offense rely on the coaching staff? We'll get a perfect guinea pig to study this year, as the Saints work through a season without mastermind Sean Payton. Given that the club still has quarterback Drew Brees and most of the key skill players, there's no reason to make a radical fantasy adjustment to your New Orleans expectations. But some dropoff from last year is to be expected, especially if the offensive line is slightly compromised (it looks weaker on paper). The Saints love a deep backfield and a rotating backfield, so don't expect too much from any one option. Darren Sproles is a dynamic receiver, but his size requires a modest role. Pierre Thomas is superb from an efficiency standpoint, but the club likes to watch his workload, too. Mark Ingram only managed 3.9 YPC as a rookie, a shockingly-low number given what his teammates managed. Top targets Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Lance Moore look like reasonably safe picks; keep in mind Graham is still relatively new to football, playing just one year at the University of Miami. There is no reasonably way for defenses to account for him.
Atlanta Falcons (10-6, 402 PF, lost in Wild Card Playoffs): You have to be careful about what you see and take away from the preseason, but Matt Ryan has been terrific through two games. He might be ready to step up to a Pro Bowl level, a Top 5 at the position level - especially if sophomore Julio Jones turns into the breakout star many are projecting. Roddy White will have to share more with Jones this year, but it also will result in a little less defensive attention, in theory. Both wideouts look like Top 10 options at the position. Michael Turner was moving at a turtle's pace late in 2011, but a Week 17 romp over the give-up Buccaneers protected his stats. He'll probably lose some of his gross output this year, with Jacquizz Rodgers ready to take on a meaty change-of-pace role. Turner should score 8-10 times anyway, but his yardage upside is probably gone for good. Rodgers is a dynamic receiver, a skill Turner has never had. Tony Gonzalez has been steady his entire Atlanta career, but doesn't the aging curve have to kick in at some point? He's 36, entering his 16th season.

Carolina Panthers (6-12, 406 PF): You can say just about anything you want with arbitrary endpoints, so take our Cam Newton stat survey with a grain of salt. That established, it's interesting to note that his YPA dropped from 8.3 to 7.2 in the second half of 2011, and his rushing scores dipped in the final four weeks. Newton's raw ability and rushing chops can't be denied, but will the Panthers want to limit his goal-line collisions at some point? Buzzy sophomores can break your heart. New fullback Mike Tolbert isn't expected to see a lot of carries - the club has Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams for that - but he might steal some goal-line work. Keep in mind Tolbert knew the current Carolina coaching staff back when all were in San Diego; his signing wasn't a big surprise. Steve Smith remains a dynamic playmaker into his mid-30s, but the rest of the Panthers wideouts are suspect. Brandon LaFell has shown deep speed and a knack for big plays, but he needs to be more consistent. Greg Olsen is a talented but somewhat-erratic tight end, but he should see increased snaps and targets now that Jeremy Shockey is gone.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12, 287 PF): A new coach and a new attitude were clearly needed here, as the Bucs quit on Raheem Morris about halfway through 2011. Look at the defensive tapes in the two Atlanta games; the effort level was appalling. Quarterback Josh Freeman lost 20-30 pounds and he's gained a bunch of skill players, so a modest bounce back is to be expected. Rookie RB Doug Martin has an outstanding chances to settle in as the team's starter and three-down option, though LeGarrette Blount has been more focused this summer and is getting positive feedback from new coach Greg Schiano. Vincent Jackson was imported to be the No. 1 wideout, but how many free-agent receivers break out immediately on their new club? Mike Williams needs a strong rebound after a messy second season; his off-field focus was openly questioned last year. Don't bother with TE Dallas Clark, who can't seem to stay healthy.

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Wizards vs. Bucks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards vs. Bucks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

The Washington Wizards host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS vs. MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Where: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m.
TV: CSN (Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Consistency on defense

The Wizards felt good about their performance on defense against the Nuggets on Thursday night, as they held a strong offensive team to just 85 points, including 33 in the second half and 12 in the fourth quarter. Now they have to carry that effort over from game to game, something that has been difficult for them to do so far this season.

Just look at the contrast between the Nuggets game and what happened in their previous two outings. Against the Nets on Monday they won, but only after allowing 66 points in the first half. And on Tuesday they lost to the Magic after allowing them their season-high of 124 points, including 73 from the bench alone. Milwaukee isn't a juggernaut offensively, but they are above average with 102.4 points per game (12th in NBA) and a 45.9 field goal percentage (8th).

[RELATED: Morris: 'Wall is the voice and I'm like the muscle']

Watch out for Giannis and Jabari

The Wizards will have their hands full with the Bucks' two young stars, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker. Antetokounmpo, 22, is averaging 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 2.2 blocks and 2.0 steals per game, all the while shooting 51.6 percent. That's as well-rounded a stat line as you will see in the game of basketball. He's a 6-foot-11 big man who can run their offense as a point guard. Matching up with him is no easy task, no matter the personnel on defense

Parker, 21, is scoring 19.6 points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists. The former second overall pick is blossoming into an elite scorer this season.

The Wizards are likely to try their lineup with Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre, Jr. on the floor together against the Bucks to counter Milwaukee's versatility:

"They've got a lot of length out there with Giannis and Jabari," Oubre said. "We've gotta match their energy or have more energy than them out there and pretty much run them into the ground. If we get into a halfcourt set, it's going to tough to score overtop of them."

More work for Gortat

With news that Ian Mahinmi will remain shut down for at least the next week despite his latest MRI clearing him of any structural damage, that means the workload will remain heavy for Marcin Gortat as the Wizards continue to play thin at the center position. Gortat already leads the team in minutes played (743) and has logged at least 36 minutes in six of his last seven games. 

Gortat is working hard, but he's okay with that according to his coach.

"He constantly reminds me that he's the Polish Machine and that he can play any amount of minutes as possible. He keeps telling me that if we go overtime that he can play 53 minutes. I like his heart and his determination, but I would like to keep it down in the low 30s. But he's feeling good. As a staff, we monitor his workload during practice," Brooks said.

[RELATED: Wizards send rookie McClellan to D-League]

Navy fan trolls Army with video game-inspired Army-Navy GameDay sign

Navy fan trolls Army with video game-inspired Army-Navy GameDay sign

At the end of the day, the Army-Navy rivalry is one of respect. With that being said, that doesn't mean Navy and their fans can't poke a little fun at Army for losing 14-straight games in the rivalry.

Game over. Flawless victory.

More from Army-Navy: An Army-Navy preview with Rich DeMarco and Omar Nelson