Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Ranking the Best and Worst NFL Defenses: NFC South


Defenses matter a lot in fantasy football. If you can draft and matchup the right players against sub-par defenses, you have a recipe for success. It's not as easy as just looking at the best and worst defenses from 2014 though, and that's why we're here to help.

In this eight article series, we're going to take a look at all the defenses in the NFL. We'll look at whether or not teams have improved for 2015, and dive into the passing and rushing defensive potential of every NFL team, one division at a time.

Today we are taking a look at the NFC South defenses, and their outlook for the 2015 fantasy football season. When this series is over, you will have a great grasp of which defenses to target for plus matchups.

 

NFC South Passing Defense Rankings

Stats listed are: 1) 2014 Pass Defense Ranking per DVOA, 2) Fantasy Points against QBs, 3) Fantasy Points against WRs, per ESPN

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2014 Ranking: 23, 22, 30

Cornerback Alterraun Verner and the rest of the secondary were simply awful last year.

2015 Projected Pass Defense Ranking: Bottom Five

The arrival of free safety Chris Conte from Chicago and defensive back Sterling Moore from Dallas will not improve the secondary. The free agency losses of defensive end Michael Johnson (Bengals) and Adrian Clayborn (Falcons) will hurt. Free agent signing defensive tackle Henry Melton (Cowboys) will be an effective pass rusher like last season, but it will not be enough to salvage the horrendous secondary.

 

Atlanta Falcons

2014 Ranking: 31, 20, 26

The secondary of Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Dwight Lowery, and Ishmael Kemal was horrific last season, ruining their playoff chances.

2015 Projected Pass Defense Ranking: Bottom Five

The Falcons brought in cornerback Phillip Adams (Jets) and drafted LSU cornerback project Jalen Collins in the second round. I watched Adams with the Jets last year and he was terrible. The Falcons will need their first round pick Vic Beasley to come in and play great to soften the load for this secondary. Either way, new head coach Dan Quinn will have his hands full as the Falcons adjust to the new scheme he will implement.

 

Carolina Panthers

2014 Ranking: 9, 16, 20

Cornerback Josh Norman and strong safety Roman Harper had very good years leading this secondary. Norman was 4th among leading role cornerbacks by adjusted success rate, per FBO. while Harper had four interceptions.

2015 Projected Pass Defense Ranking: Middle of Pack

The Panthers signed Charles Tillman (Bears), but he suffered a second torn triceps injury last season. I believe he will be back to around 85 percent this season, and will make a very good duo with Norman. The team drafted Washington outside linebacker Shaq Thompson in the second round who will be another good player to defend the run and pass.

 

New Orleans Saints

2014 Ranking: 27, 29, 27

Three time pro bowler and two time second team All-Pro free safety Jairus Byrd was supposed to continue his stellar play in the Big Easy but he tore his lateral meniscus on October 2nd missing the rest of the season. 2013 First round pick safety Kenny Vaccaro and the rest of the secondary could not fill the void of Byrd.

2015 Projected Pass Defense Ranking: Bottom Ten

The Saints plucked Super Bowl winning cornerback Brandon Browner from New England to try and improve this secondary. He led the league in penalties committed, 15, including six pass interference and six defensive holding penalties. Have fun with him, New Orleans. Former Jets first round pick cornerback Kyle Wilson was also signed by New Orleans. The Saints second and third draft selections will be able to help also.

31st overall pick, linebacker Stephone Anthony, will be able to help cover tight ends, and second round pick, linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha, will hopefully help the Saints by being effective at rushing the passer.  Rob Ryan will likely have another difficult year coaching this defense as they try to get all these average veterans and new rookies to perform.

 

NFC South Rushing Defense Rankings

Per DVOA and Fantasy Points Against Running Backs, per ESPN

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2014 Ranking: 8, 23

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was one of the few bright spots on this defensive line last season.

2015 Projected Rush Defense Ranking: Bottom Five

The Bucs need Melton and McCoy to play well so this rush defense isn’t the worst in the league, but just like with the pass defense it won’t matter. The Bucs had so many problems last season and correctly used the first overall pick on Jameis Winston. This defense is a project still changing into Lovie Smith's Tampa-2 defense.

 

Atlanta Falcons

2014 Ranking: 30, 30

The defensive line of Malliciah Goodman, Paul Soliai, Tyson Jackson, and Jonathan Babineaux were overmatched by their competition.

2015 Projected Rush Defense Ranking: Bottom Ten

The Falcons did sign players this offseason to improve the rush defense: Clayborn, linebackers Justin Durant (Cowboys), Reed Brooks (Texans), and O’Brien Schofield (Seahawks). The team also resigned reality TV star Kory Biermann. The team will improve, but only slightly.

 

Carolina Panthers

2014 Ranking: 23, 17

The team boasts the best middle linebacker in football, Luke Kuechly, but even his 107 tackles couldn’t make this an above average unit.

2015 Projected Rush Defense Ranking: Middle of Pack

Run stuffing nose tackle Star Lotulelei is currently injured with a stressr eaction to his surgically repaired right foot and those types of injuries always scare me. If Lotulelei is hampered by his injury then that could cause Carolina major issues defending the run.

 

New Orleans Saints

2014 Ranking: 32, 29

The Saints would not have been able to stop Rob Ryan, at 52-years-old, if he suited up and tried running against them in practice last season. The defensive line was miserable. The lone bright spot was Curtis Lofton who recorded a team high 145 tackles

2015 Projected Rush Defense Ranking: Bottom Five

The Saints signed defensive end Anthony Spencer from Dallas, but he won’t be able to turn around the defensive line by himself. Linebacker Curtis Lofton departed to Oakland so the team traded wide receiver Kenny Stills to Miami for linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. Ellerbe was needed, but the loss of Lofton is bad. The Saints are in the worst stages of their rebuilding period, the rush defense will likely be awful again.

 

NFL & Fantasy Football Chat Room

 


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




More Recent Articles

 

Week 11 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Welcome back to Mexico City. Last season, the Chiefs were supposed to take on the Rams in this game before field conditions moved the game to Los Angeles. Even though the game was moved, the fantasy output was amazing as both teams scored over 50 points and there was not an unhappy fan among us.... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 11 Marlon Mack has been diagnosed with a broken hand and may be out several weeks. Emmanuel Sanders (ribs)... Read More


Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

This could be the most exciting installment of waiver wire adds in a while. Not that any of these choices are necessarily league-winners but at least we have a bunch of new names to ponder. Bye weeks are nearly over but this one will be particularly tough with the high-scoring Chiefs, Vikings, Chargers, and Cardinals... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 12

The regular season continues to advance at a relentless pace as we have now entered the planning process for Week 12. Some of you are concentrating on building lineups that will commandeer a spot in the fantasy playoffs, while others are making slight adjustments to teams that have already secured their place in the postseason.... Read More


Week 12 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

With fantasy football leagues only a couple weeks away from their playoffs, this is not the time for teams to be short a tight end. Not only do fantasy footballers have no Travis Kelce or Hunter Henry during this crucial week in their fantasy seasons, they do not get to take advantage of using a... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 12

Week 11 is behind us and we're getting closer and closer to the end of the fantasy regular season. For some of us, Week 12 represents the final chance to get into the postseason, while for others we have another week or two left. Here, to help you get ready for the playoffs, is a... Read More


Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 12

We saw some monster weeks at the quarterbacks position, with four quarterbacks topping 37 points, and ten scoring over 25 points. These weren't all big names putting up these points either, as low-owned quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and even Jeff Driskel had some big numbers in Week 11. That means we've got plenty... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 12 Lightning Round

We're onto Week 12, which means the last of the bye weeks approaches. The Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs and Vikings hit the hammocks as we can finally start to look at players without worrying about future offweeks. To help you look towards those precious playoff weeks, here is the waiver wire lightning round heading into Week... Read More


Week 11 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 11... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More


Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 11

Welcome to our Week 11 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More


Wide Receiver / Cornerback Matchups To Target in Week 11

In Week 10, the Buccaneers defeated the Cardinals in a game that featured a whopping 57 points scored between the two teams. Christian Kirk was expected to exploit the Buccaneers weak secondary, and he exceeded all expectations by catching three touchdowns, finishing as the No. 1 wide receiver on the week. On the other side... Read More


Holiday Shopping - Who To Buy For The Playoffs Run

As the fantasy football season nears the home stretch, most owners should begin turning their eyes towards the remaining six weeks of the fantasy schedule. Either you're comfortably in the playoffs and need to see who you should be rostering in order to get the best matchups or you need that extra boost to qualify... Read More


Updated Week 11 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 11 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 11 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Emmanuel Sanders is officially active. George Kittle (ankle, knee) has officially been ruled out. Matt Breida will not play in Week 11. Jay Ajayi was signed by the... Read More


The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 11

Welcome to Week 11, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football season. These player selections are based on my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More


Woos and Boos - Starts and Sits for Week 11 Lineups

If we learned anything from the fantasy scoring in Week 10 is that hitting on the right quarterback can make or break your week. Sure, the household names like Lamar Jackson (35.65 FP) and Patrick Mahomes (34.30 FP) paced the field, but it was the play from lesser QBs like Daniel Jones (33.40 FP) and... Read More