NFC South Report: Post Week 4

by Jonathan Lange · Fantasy Football

Welcome back to the NFC South update! Unlike previous editions of these articles, we have actual football games to look at and determine how these teams are performing! In this article, I have included where each team ranks offensively and defensively. Additionally, I’ve included a few key takeaways that stuck out for better or worse for each team. This is the NFC South Report: Post Week 4! Let’s start with the current division leader, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) – No. 1 in NFC South

Offensive Ranks: Passing: No. 11 Rushing: No. 31

Defensive Ranks: Passing: No. 14 Rushing: No. 12

The Buccaneers have had tough matchups to start the season including the 3-1 Cowboys and 3-1 Chiefs. The team’s offense sputtered out of the gate. The Bucs only scored three total touchdowns in their first three games. In their fourth game against the Chiefs, they scored four touchdowns. Below is an overview of players and situations that were influential during the first quarter of the NFL season.


Injuries have plagued this team. The following players sat out games during the first quarter of the NFL season due to injury: Chris Godwin (knee, hamstring), Julio Jones (knee), Akiem Hicks (foot), Donovan Smith (elbow), Ryan Jensen (knee), Josh Wells (calf), Aaron Stinnie (knee). While he hasn’t missed time, everyone now knows that Tom Brady does have a “minor rotator cuff injury,” but no details have been released because he’s not expected to miss any time.


Mike Edwards has proven he’s got a nose for the ball. He has recorded 13 tackles in both Week 3 and Week 4. Last season, he split time with Jordan Whitehead, and Keanu Neal was brought in with the motive of replacing Whitehead. However, Edwards has filled that role of box-stuffing defensive back. Once Akiem Hicks returns to the lineup, we may see Edwards’ tackle numbers dip down since the defensive line has struggled to contain the run. For every five runs called against Tampa, one of the rushes has resulted in a first down. Mike Edwards can continue to thrive, but the defensive front needs to step up and lock down the running game.

Sports by Tampa Bay Times on Twitter: “Mike Edwards sack‼️” / Twitter

The Rookie

Rachaad White has done a commendable job, and the team continues to give him more work.  Last year we saw Leonard Fournette break down at the end of the season after handling the bulk of the work.

Rachaad White Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwitch wants to continue to give White more work, and the team has continually praised the third-round pick. The team showed how committed they were when he fumbled the opening kickoff against Kansas City. They stuck with him, and later in the game, they gave him goal-line carries.

Hayden Winks on Twitter: “Looks like Bucs pivoted to a 2-to-1 RB rotation between Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White in Week 4 after the #Bucs coaching comments pre-game. The fact that the Bucs feel comfortable with their rookie on all downs and situations right now is very, very, very positive.” / Twitter

Atlanta Falcons (2-2) – No. 2 in NFC South

Offensive Ranks: Passing: No. 28 Rushing: No. 4

Defensive Ranks: Passing: No. 25 Rushing: No. 21

It can be difficult to declare a team a surprise after only two wins, but the Falcons have shown a real improvement from last season and are currently in second place in the division. To the disappointment of Drake London and Kyle Pitts enthusiasts, the team has employed a run-centric offense which hasn’t been great for fantasy football. But head coach Arthur Smith said, “It’s not fantasy football. We’re just trying to win.” The Falcons lost by one point against the Saints and lost by four points against the defending champion Rams. Here’s a closer look at this feisty Falcons team, so you can be the judge for yourself to determine if they are legitimate or not.

The Running Game

Cordarrelle Patterson underwent knee surgery and was placed on IR. The team will employ a rotation of Caleb Huntley, Avery Williams, and rookie Tyler Allgeier. Damien Williams is also closer to returning from his injury, but, unless Allgeier can break away from his fellow running mates, this will be a committee. Below is head coach Arthur Smith speaking about the role for Allgeier.

Maria Martin on Twitter: “Rookie RB Tyler Allgeier was the #Falcons leading rusher v Browns. 10 carries for 84 yards. Arthur Smith won’t discuss schematic situations (how Allgeier will be used this week) but he had some great things to say about the rookie when I asked. “Very smart football player.”” / Twitter

Rushing Renaissance

I noted this above, but it deserves its own section: The Falcons’ rushing attack has performed well above expectation after finishing bottom five in rushing last season. This turnaround has been led by the offensive line with the stellar play from Chris Lindstrom. Kaleb McGary has also vastly improved from last season’s struggles. The Atlanta Falcons’ offensive line is ranked inside the top five according to Player Profiler’s offensive line rankings, and it is the team’s strongest position group.

Dynamic Duo

The team was unable to re-sign 2021’s leading tackler Foyesade Olokun, and there was concern on how they would patch the heart of the defense. The combined play of Rashaan Evans and Mykal Walker has performed admirably, combining for 68 tackles and three turnovers in the first four games of the season. Their play has allowed for more flexibility along the defensive line, and the coaches continue to rave about rookie DL Arnold Ebiketie. This front seven is lively.

Kevin Knight on Twitter: “#Falcons rookie EDGE Arnold Ebiketie showing off the burst again. Watch how fast he closes on Jacoby Brissett to force the throwaway.” / Twitter

Carolina Panthers (1-3) – No. 3 in NFC South

Offensive Ranks: Passing: No. 30 Rushing: No. 24

Defensive Ranks: Passing: No. 12 Rushing: No. 25

It seems the injury bug made its way to all the NFC South teams except for the Carolina Panthers. While they avoided catastrophic injury, they have been unable to find wins as often as they would want after starting the season 1-3. There was a spark of hope in the offseason after Baker Mayfield was acquired, but unfortunately, unless a miraculous turnaround in his playstyle takes place, the Panthers will be headed into the 2023 season with a new quarterback and possibly a new coach. Can Matt Rhule and Baker Mayfield turn it around? Let’s take a look!

Baker Meh-field

There was hope that Mayfield was what the Panthers needed. These first four games have been downright unwatchable. He’s had over 200 yards passing in only one game this year and two games where his completion percentage is below 50-percent. Sam Darnold is nearing a return from the IR and—as wild as it sounds—it’s not out of the range of outcomes that we see Darnold replace Mayfield. Matt Rhule hasn’t made any announcements, but if the poor play continues, a change will happen.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter: “Wide receivers hate playing with Baker Mayfield. And I can’t really blame them!” / Twitter

Hot Seat Update

the consensus around the building is that the odds of Rhule staying in 2023 are not great. Oh, the Panthers’ upcoming four opponents are the 49ers, Rams, Buccaneers, and Falcons. A 1-7 start is easily possible, and if that happens the hot seat should be hot enough to melt a hole in the ozone. There was a report from Ian Rapaport that Tepper will remain patient during the season. While that may be true, the change may happen closer to the end of the year. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I write about the future of the head coach of the Panthers.  


Just before this was published, the news broke that Matt Rhule was fired by the Panthers after starting 1-4 and compiling an overall record of 11-27. Steve Wilks will take over head coaching duties. There are already rumors that teams are calling the Panthers to see if they are planning on moving any talent for draft picks, which might be best for the Panthers. A QB rich class awaits in 2023, and it is essential that the Panthers find their future signal caller for 2023. The Panthers owe Rhule just over $40 million dollars, and Rhule will be headed back to the college football arena where he successfully ran programs at Baylor and Temple.

TheOGfantasyfootball on Twitter: “Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore walking Matt Rhule into a meeting with management after Carolina is stomped by The 49ers this weekend.” / Twitter

I’m Luvu-ing it

Frankie Luvu has been an outstanding addition to the defense. He’s collected over 20 tackles and forced two turnovers so far this year. The defense overall has been average, but it has been tremendously hard to overcome the dreadful offense they were paired with. But Luvu deserves recognition because he is playing the best of all the free agent defensive acquisitions, and he has earned the trust of his teammates.

PFF CAR Panthers on Twitter: “Frankie Luvu was once again everywhere for the Panthers: 11 total tackles 1 tackle for loss 1 pass defensed 1 pick-six” / Twitter

New Orleans Saints (1-3)- No. 4 in NFC South

Offensive Ranks: Passing: No. 10 Rushing: No. 16

Defensive Ranks: Passing: No. 9 Rushing: No. 20

When I first started monitoring these teams, I was admittedly bullish on the Saints and how they had built their roster. I was imagining a good year would happen, but it has not gone according to plan so far. The team was competitive in all four games this season, but injuries and poor quarterback play held them back from finding success. Let’s look at the current last place team in the NFC South and see if they can turn it around!

More Injuries

The following starters have missed at least one game due to injury: Jameis Winston (back), Alvin Kamara (rib), Michael Thomas (toe), Jarvis Landry (ankle), Trevor Penning (foot), Andrus Peat (concussion), Marcus Maye (rib). That’s six projected starting offensive players (Landry would be the projected starting slot receiver) and a starting defensive back. Trevor Penning has missed every game, and unfortunately, he’s only set up to return on Week 9. The game of football is violent, but this many injuries this early on stack the deck against this squad.


Chris Olave has left an indelible mark on everyone who has watched him play.

Chris Olave Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

It’s clear when he plays, he has the talent to be a top wideout in the league. He’s No. 1 in Air Yards, No. 1 in Deep Targets, and top ten in receiving yards. Olave has established himself as the next big deep threat poised to take over the NFL, and the team is ecstatic to see their first-round selection flash on the field. The Saints have prioritized his talent, and he’s the top targeted receiver and has the most receiving yards on the entire team.

PlayerProfiler on Twitter: “The SHOCK Stat of the Year happened this past weekend🤯″ / Twitter

New Defensive Star Rising

The Saints let Kwon Alexander go in free agency partly because the coaching staff liked what they saw in Pete Werner, and boy were they right.

Werner is the leading tackler on the roster, and he’s in the top ten in total tackles in the NFL. The former second-round pick from Ohio State has earned a clear starting role and projects to be a defensive cornerstone for the franchise’s future.