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Gazette Premium Content Blog: Fantasy football early look: NFC South

2 photos photo - Owners who draft Cam Newton won’t be smiling early if he struggles to build chemistry with his new receivers (Photo by The Associated Press). + caption
Owners who draft Cam Newton won’t be smiling early if he struggles to build chemistry with his new receivers (Photo by The Associated Press).
Matt Wiley Updated: August 6, 2014 at 4:30 pm

With NFL training camps starting, it’s time to start fantasy football preparations. Here are some of battles and possible sleepers that The Gazette’s Matt Wiley will be watching.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

Intriguing battle: Levine Toilolo vs. Tony Gonzalez’s shadow. Toilolo is a monster (6-8, 265) and Matt Ryan has shown the tendency to look for the tight end inside the 20-yard line. If Toilolo can live up to expectations, he could be a solid option in fantasy. 

Possible sleeper: Devonta Freeman — For no running backs being drafted in the first round of the NFL draft — I am excited about a lot of rookies. Freeman is another one I think could have huge upside. I just wonder if Steven Jackson can stay healthy.

Carolina Panthers

Intriguing battle: Cam Newton vs. chemistry. I am a big fan of Cam’s talent, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he struggles. Kelvin Benjamin, Jericho Cotchery and Jason Avant played elsewhere last season and it will take time for Newton to develop a rapport with them.

Possible sleeper: Tavarres King — I know he is a deep sleeper, but I want to see how the former Broncos draft pick does in Carolina. A lot of observers were high on him when he was with the Broncos. 

New Orleans Saints

Intriguing battle: Brandin Cooks vs. the hype. No rookie has had more good things written about them than Bilentnikoff winner Cooks. With Darren Sproles in Philadelphia, Cooks could get 75 receptions - but he will never be the main option in the zed zone with Jimmy Graham on the team.

Possible sleeper: I reluctantly say Mark Ingram. The former Heisman Trophy winner is listed as the goal-line back, but he has burned too many people too many years. He is probably undraftable for me - but I will watch his progression anyway.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Intriguing battle: Bobby Rainey vs. Charles Sims. Doug Martin is the starter, but offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford has said he wants to use a committee and Lovie Smith’s offenses in Chicago always used to pull Matt Forte inside the 5. I am really curious to see who will emerge as Tampa Bay’s No. 2 running back.

Possible sleeper: Josh McCown - The quarterback has a lot of upside as a possible backup on any fantasy team. Tampa Bay has big receivers and McCown finally enters a camp as a starter.

Do you have a sleeper or a battle you are watching? If so, please share it on this blog.

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