Training camp fantasy players to monitor: NFC South
Fantasy production in the NFC South was very concentrated in 2015. Cam Newton was the QB1 overall, but his highest-scoring wide receiver in PPR finished as the WR33. Julio Jones finished as the WR2 overall, but his quarterback Matt Ryan finished as the QB19.
In 2016, we expect to see more balance from those two offenses and more consistent production from the Saints and Buccaneers. Two offenses (Falcons, Bucs) will enter the season in year two of their coordinator’s scheme. The Saints have put together the best combination of skill position players and pass protectors that Drew Brees has maybe ever played with. And the defending NFC Champions return their best receiver from 2014. What’s there not to like?
There are still several unsettled backfields and wide receiver corps and we’re all waiting to see who steps up as the No. 2 option in the passing game for all four teams. There’s a lot to keep an eye on. This is the sixth of eight NFL divisions in which we pinpoint four to five players per division to track during training camp and the preseason (catch up on the divisions so far here). From now until the start of the season, the only real information we’ll need to gather is about a player’s role and chemistry within his offense. Let’s jump in.
Kenny Bell, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When you dive into second-year wide receiver Kenny Bell’s peripherals, it’s difficult to understand why he went No. 162 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. At 6’1 and 197 pounds, Bell ran a 4.42 40-yard dash with a 41.5-inch vertical jump. He also averaged 14.9 yards per catch during his four-year collegiate career (totaling 2,689 yards and 21 touchdowns). In college, he won at all levels — after the catch, downfield and in traffic. Nebraska’s run-first offense and a crowded WR class likely played a key role in his draft stock falling, but don’t let that fool you; he’s an excellent prospect to keep on your radar.
The narrative: There are not enough targets to go around for Bell