Fantasy

Fantasy Football 2023: NFC South Player Projections

New Orleans Saints Derek Carr Juwan Johnson

An NFL projections model offers valuable insights, helping fantasy football enthusiasts analyze team outcomes based on data-driven analysis. You can think of these projections as a guide. Yes, Baker Mayfield is my QB31, but why? If you feel Mayfield will have more than 20 total touchdowns, you move him up your rankings. If you think Kyle Pitts tops 1,000 receiving yards, he’s likely in the WR2 category for you.

These projections look to provide a median output for all players without considering an entire range of outcomes. For example, what if Desmond Ridder produced the best Atlanta Falcons‘ offense in the past decade? Suddenly, we’d see Pitts, Drake London and Bijan Robinson all going in the first three rounds. It’s certainly in the world of possibilities, but not captured by this model.

Note on methodology: The above projections are built using machine learning (ML) algorithms in Python. Using historical player, team, and league stats/tendencies, an ML model can predict likely outcomes for NFL players. 

It’s nearly impossible to model with 100 percent accuracy. Injuries, breakouts, and surprises happen in many shapes and forms every season. Each player is modeled as if the team stays healthy for 17 straight games. Of course, this is a pipedream. 

All scoring below is in .5 PPR

NFC South Player Projections

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons Bijan Robinson

Desmond Ridder, 217 Fantasy Points (19.4 PPG, QB29)

468 attempts, 299 completions, 3,188 yards, 18.5 TDs

71 rushes, 322 yards, 2.3 TDs

Ridder’s weapons have an average draft position (ADP) of 11 (Robinson RB3, Pitts TE6, London WR24). Other quarterbacks with skill players with an average ADP of 12 or better are 2018 Ben Roethlisberger (Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller) and 2022 Joe Burrow (Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon and Hayden Hurst). Both quarterbacks finished in the top five at their position. Either Ridder will smash his QB30 ADP or his skill players will underperform.

Bijan Robinson, 269 Fantasy Points (15.8 PPG, RB3)

250 rushes, 1,232 yards, 10 TDs

71 targets, 53 receptions, 436 yards, 3.3 TDs

My model projects the Falcons will have the fourth rush-heaviest offense, with Robinson as the biggest beneficiary. Robinson is the bell cow and a safe RB1 with more than 300 projected touches.

Tyler Allgeier, 119 Fantasy Points (7.1 PPG, RB42):

162 rushes, 766 yards, 4.3 TDs

23 targets, 16 receptions, 108 yards, 0.1 TDs

Tyler Allgeier’s best path to fantasy relevance is a Robinson injury. With this offense’s rushing tendencies, Allgeier is one of the highest-upside handcuffs.

Drake London, 176 Fantasy Points (10.4 PPG, WR23)

128 targets, 81 receptions, 1,011 yards, 6.2 TDs

London showed huge flashes in Year 1. If this offense passes more than expected, London is a high-upside WR2. 

Kyle Pitts, 160 Fantasy Points (9.4 PPG, TE4)

114 targets, 73 receptions, 913 yards, 5.7 TDs

Pitts has to be elite sometimes, right?


Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers Bryce Young Chuba Hubbard

Bryce Young, 229 Fantasy Points (13.5 PPG, QB28)

542 attempts, 342 completions, 3,568 yards, 20.1 TDs

37 rushes, 219 yards, 1.7 TDs

It’s hard for me to get excited about Bryce Young. He’s projected to be an inefficient passer, and the Carolina Panthers are slated to be a bottom-10 offense.

Miles Sanders, 169 Fantasy Points (10.0 PPG, RB28)

247 rushes, 1,088 yards, 7.6 TDs

31 targets, 20 receptions, 66 yards, 0.0 TDs

Miles Sanders had his best season, given his touchdown upside and volume. It’s possible he will have more touches in 2023 than in 2022, but the touchdown upside on the Panthers’ offense makes him a player to avoid.

Chuba Hubbard, 105 Fantasy Points (6.2 PPG, RB48)

105 rushes, 484 yards, 3.5 TDs

39 targets, 28 receptions, 237 yards, 0.1 TDs

Chuba Hubbard is projected to be the team’s No. 2 back but likely isn’t much more than a handcuff.

Adam Thielen, 119 Fantasy Points (7.0 PPG, WR52)

87 targets, 57 receptions, 656 yards, 4.6 TDs

Adam Thielen’s best days are behind him, and a WR52 price tag notes that. Thielen lacks any league-winning upside and is best to avoid in all formats.

DJ Chark, 91 Fantasy Points (5.4 PPG, WR66)

69 targets, 41 receptions, 544 yards, 3.3 TDs

DJ Chark could lead the team in targets but lacks league-winning upside.

Jonathan Mingo, 97 Fantasy Points (5.7 PPG, WR62)

68 targets, 44 receptions, 554 yards, 3.5 TDs

Jonathan Mingo is someone I’m keeping my eye on for late in the season. He was drafted to be the team’s wide receiver of the future. His connection with Young could be flex-worthy come playoff time.

The model has projected this offense to be full of duds. Sanders is the most likely to be fantasy-relevant but is highly touchdown-dependent. The model projects this team to tally 37 touchdowns, with 16 just being rushing. Being a bottom-10 offense without any true superstar means it’s an offense to avoid for fantasy purposes.


New Orleans Saints

Derek Carr, 259 Fantasy Points (15.2 PPG, QB19)

553 attempts, 340 completions, 4,068 yards, 27.4 TDs

24 rushes, 103 yards, 0.7 TDs

Derek Carr moves to a new team and has a respectable season. His lack of rushing upside and the team’s pace of play (projected to have the second-fewest total plays run) are what drives Carr’s value down.

Chris Olave, 210 Fantasy Points (12.3 PPG, WR15)

136 targets, 88 receptions, 1,243 yards, 7.4 TDs

Chris Olave has top-10 upside. He’s a buy at ADP, even if these projections are too conservative.

Michael Thomas, 119 Fantasy Points (7.0 PPG, WR54)

103 targets, 61 receptions, 717 yards, 3.1 TDs

Michael Thomas hasn’t been fantasy-relevant since 2019. If he returns to form, he’ll be a smash at ADP.

Alvin Kamara, 177 Fantasy Points (12.6 PPG, RB25)

135 rushes, 544 yards, 4.8 TDs

69 targets, 50 receptions, 470 yards, 4.0 TDs

After his suspension, Alvin Kamara is projected to be a top-10 per game running back. Carr should open up this offense enough for Kamara to be a steal in later rounds, especially in leagues where you can stash a suspended player on injured reserve.

Jamaal Williams, 123 Fantasy Points (7.3 PPG, RB40)

138 rushes, 560 yards, 4.9 TDs

35 targets, 25 receptions, 204 yards, 1.2 TDs

Jamaal Williams‘ stat line looks nearly identical to Kamara’s minus the receiving work. He’s a high upside play and should be valuable for the first month of the season. Consider drafting him as a handcuff or to supplement a Breece Hall pick.

Juwan Johnson, 94 Fantasy Points (5.5 PPG, TE18)

67 targets, 43 receptions, 502 yards, 4.0 TDs

Juwan Johnson is tough to project without knowing how Jimmy Graham will be involved. Avoid him for now.

Kendre Miller, 50 Fantasy Points (2.9 PPG, RB71)

32 rushes, 128 yards, 2.1 TDs

20 targets, 14 receptions, 130 yards, 1.1 TDs

Kendre Miller is only worth an add in dynasty formats.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Baker Mayfield Rachaad White

Baker Mayfield, 197 Fantasy Points (11.6 PPG, QB31)

543 attempts, 313 completions, 3,498 yards, 19.4 TDs

30 rushes, 105 yards, 0.9 TDs

Hoping for a career resurgence in Tampa Bay, Mayfield is not worth an add in any format.

Rachaad White, 183 Fantasy Points (10.8 PPG, RB21)

205 rushes, 764 yards, 4.5 TDs

91 targets, 61 receptions, 435 yards, 1.6 TDs

Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb, Christian McCaffrey and Cam Akers have all been RB1s when playing with Mayfield. Rachaad White was already a top-10 receiving running back. Now, with 70 vacated targets from Leonard Fournette, White is locked in as a top-24 option. He has RB1 upside.

Sean Tucker, 67 Fantasy Points (4.0 PPG, RB62)

85 rushes, 322 yards, 1.1 TDs

33 targets, 22 receptions, 151 yards, 0.7 TDs

Sean Tucker has received some buzz in camp, but being an undrafted rookie doesn’t bode well for him historically. Don’t buy the hype.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn, 54 Fantasy Points (3.2PPG, RB66)

84 rushes, 262 yards, 1.6 TDs

22 targets, 15 receptions, 99 yards, 0.5 TDs

Chris Godwin, 164 Fantasy Points (9.7 PPG, WR29)

125 targets, 74 receptions, 851 yards, 5.9 TDs

Mike Evans, 157 Fantasy Points (9.3 PPG, WR32)

116 targets, 67 receptions, 860 yards, 6.6 TDs

Mike Evans or Chris Godwin could be the team’s top option. Evans is looking to extend his record to start a career with a 10th 1,000-yard season, while Godwin is returning from an ACL injury. Both are gross options, but one is likely to produce.

Despite poor quarterback play from Mayfield, this offense will likely produce some fantasy-relevant options. Given his receiving upside, White is one of my favorite targets in PPR formats. Sadly, with just 30 projected touchdowns, there isn’t a ton of upside for Evans or Godwin.

Other Projections

AFC: South | East | West | North

NFC: North | East


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