The Atlanta Falcons wrested the NFC South Division title away from the New Orleans Saints last season as ‘Bounty Gate' left New Orleans rudderless without head coach Sean Payton. As free agency unfolds, the Falcons and Saints figure to battle for the division title again with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers playing chase the leaders.
Each team has made a few interesting additions on the defensive side of the ball that effect the 2013 Individual Defensive Players (IDP) fantasy landscape so let's get to breaking them down.
ATLANTA: The Falcons will look to replace one veteran pass-rushing specialist with another in 2013 as they have signed former New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. He is slated as of now to be the replacement for John Abraham, who is currently testing the free agent waters himself.
At 31 years old, Umenyiora will be entering his 10th NFL season and is expected to help bolster the Falcons pass rush which finished 28th in total sacks with only 29 last season. He can be penciled in for at least 700 regular season snaps with the real chance to notch at least 10 sacks in 2013. In years that he has played 15 or more games, Umenyiora has averaged just less than double digit sacks (9.91) as well as posting nine in 2011 while playing in only nine games.
Umenyiora has also forced 32 fumbles in his career and his fantasy value is heavily weighted in favor of leagues that reward the big play. He's averaged 41 total tackles per season with a career-high 71 combined stops coming back in 2005-06. IDP owners don't draft Umenyiora for his tackle numbers, and he is a solid DL3 with definite DL2 upside. If he can stay healthy and the Falcons can bring in another pass rushing option to line up opposite (there is talk that Abraham may be re-signed), Umenyiora he is line for a bounce back campaign in 2013.
The only other new defensive signing that Atlanta has made has no fantasy impact but is worth noting for its ‘feel good' factor. After serving five years for a crime he did not commit, linebacker Brian Banks has been signed and will compete for a roster spot in 2013.
Should he make the 53-man roster it'll most likely be as a special teams player and depth at linebacker. Mad props to the man for staying with his dream after being wronged so unjustly and making it to the league at 27. Good luck sir!
CAROLINA: The Panthers have brought in three players to help their porous secondary that finished last season having allowed 22...