NFC South Quarterback Preview

Division boasts 3 of the top 10 Fantasy QB's for 2013

Hands down, the NFC South has the best group of starting quarterbacks for fantasy football purposes of any division in the entire NFL. It's not even close. The division boasts 3 of fantasy's top 10 QB's heading in 2013 fantasy football drafts, and the 4th QB has as high an upside as any other fantasy backup.
Atlanta Falcons
Starter: Matt Ryan
Backup: Dominique Davis
While the addition of RB Steven Jackson should provide the Falcons with a better rushing attack, I don't expect much of a drop from the 4,719 passing yards and 32 TD's Ryan posted in 2012. In fact, the numbers may not drop at all, and could possibly increase now that there is a RB in Atlanta opponents have to respect. With WR Julio Jones likely to take another step up in his development and the return of TE Tony Gonzalez (along with the presence of WR Roddy White), there's no reason to not expect Ryan to be a great choice for a starting fantasy QB in 2013. Davis has zero game experience, but surprised many by his quick development as an undrafted rookie in 2012 and the Falcons have enough confidence in him to not have any veteran backup to Ryan. Of course, it helps that Ryan has started every game the last 3 seasons without issue.
Carolina Panthers
Starter: Cam Newton
Backup: Derek Anderson
For the first half of the 2012 season, fantasy owners who burned a 1st or 2nd round pick on Newton were extremely disappointed in him as he had only 6 TD's and 8 interceptions while his rushing only produced 347 yards and 4 TD's. But he got it turned around the second half tossing 13 TD's, only 4 interceptions, 394 yards rush yards and another 4 rush TD's. I was worried heading into 2012 that Newton could be a candidate for a sophomore slump, but he still managed to finish as a top 5 fantasy QB in 2012 in most formats. He just didn't elevate his game from the prior season. The expectation of him throwing for more than 4,000 yards again and having another 14 rushing TD's just weren't realistic. While there are concerns with his offensive coordinator having left, the Panthers promoted from within to keep stability for him. It's a bit disappointing the Panthers didn't add any better weapons for him to throw the ball to but Newton has proven to be a guy who can put up big fantasy numbers and makes for a strong fantasy starter. I would be more inclined to grab a high quality backup for him though in case the lack of talent around him brings him down. The fact that Derek Anderson remains his top backup is a testament to just how bad Jimmy Clausen is.
New Orleans Saints
Starter: Drew Brees
Backup: Luke McCown, Seneca Wallace
Brees hasn't thrown for less than 4,300 yards in any of his 7 seasons in New Orleans. He hasn't thrown for fewer than 33 TD passes in any of the last 5 seasons. In 3 of the last 5 seasons he's thrown for over 5,000 yards. His consistently high production makes him one of the safest QB bets in fantasy football. While the Saints say they want to run the ball a bit more in 2013, I still easily see Brees finishing as a top 5 fantasy QB at worst. It also needs to be noted that Brees hasn't missed a game due to injury since the 2003 season. His durability is as good as it gets. McCown and Wallace are battling to replace departed Chase Daniel be the top backup. A position that could hold value just because of the prolific nature of the offense if anything unexpected was to happen to Brees.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Starter: Josh Freeman
Backup: Mike Glennon
Despite throwing for over 4,000 yards and 27 TD's in 2012, the coaching staff is trying to light a fire under Freeman by talking up rookie Mike Glennon a lot in OTA's. While I doubt Glennon is a legitimate threat to Freeman's status as the starting QB, stranger things have happened. Personally, I like Freeman and think with the weapons he has to throw to, and a strong running game to support him, he has a chance to really step up as both an NFL and fantasy QB. I view Freeman as a high upside fantasy backup with a chance to be a borderline fantasy starter. But one thing he needs to do is cut down on his turnovers. If he has a lot of turnovers and the Bucs aren't winning games, there is a chance Bucs head coach Greg Schiano would bench him. Freeman is a great risk to have as your fantasy backup for his tremendous upside to join the top 10 fantasy QB's in 2013, but he would be a risky every week starter.