There are several factors that impact fantasy football scoring totals, and touchdowns may be the most important. Here are the NFC South TD Projections.
Even if we are going down south, the TD totals are about to turn up, specifically for a couple of teams in this division. As we continue this fantasy scoring prediction series, there is a lot of football production to go around. Without further adieu, I present the NFC South TD Projections.
Total TD Projection: 34
For the first time since 2007, the Falcons will have a new face at QB. This is coming after their franchise signal-caller left for the AFC South. So, for 2022, it will either be Marcus Mariota or rookie Desmond Ridder under center in Atlanta. As I have mentioned throughout this TD Projections series, it is very difficult to determine what type of production an incoming rookie will put up. And since I am bassing team passing totals mostly on individual passing TD rates, making assumptions about quarterback performance will affect an entire set of projections. Therefore, I have Mariota playing all 17 in my TD projections. Using his career TD rate of 4.3%, that gives the Falcons 22 passing touchdowns for 2022.
Now, in terms of who would likely score those touchdowns, Atlanta has spent their previous two 1st-round picks on pass-catchers. So we will start there with Kyle Pitts at TE, as well as the rookie Drake London at WR. Looking with Pitts, the expectations were set sky-high for what some considered the greatest TE prospect ever. He did produce a 1,000-yard season, which is certainly a major accomplishment for a rookie TE. However, he did leave fantasy football managers disappointed as he only scored 1 TD. Given the NFL average of 155 scrimmage yards per TD, Pitts should have been expected to produce close to 7 end zone trips. Some positive TD regression is certainly in store but how much is the question? I project both Pitts and London with 5 receiving touchdowns each, while none of their teammates have more than 2.
Finally, we arrive at Atlanta’s rushing attack. We have the incumbent Cordarelle Patterson who put up a career-best fantasy season in 2021, as well as newcomers Damien Williams, and rookie Tyler Allgeier. There is that word again: rookie. As mentioned already twice in this section, we are truly guessing at how a player will produce without having any NFL data on them. Looking at his college tape, Allgeier appears to have great contact balance, and would in theory make for a good goal-line back. However, the Falcons only spent a 5th-round selection on Allgeier, not necessarily indicative of an important investment.
Still, because of the lack of career TD scoring from both Patterson and Williams, I predict Allgeier will lead the running backs in touchdowns. Now, my projections are Allgeier with 5, and the two veterans with 4 each. So close but I will guess that the rookie gets the edge. Now, I don’t necessarily expect much passing game involvement from the first-year player, so all 5 of those touchdowns are on the ground. Meanwhile, I expect the scrimmage scores will be split for Patterson and Williams with 2 rushing and 2 receiving touchdowns apiece.
Total TD Projection: 39
Another team that is seeing a QB change… at least we think. While Sam Darnold is still on the Panthers, they did also trade for Baker Mayfield. Apparently, the reports are that Carolina is holding a true QB competition, even if the numbers say otherwise. Not only Mayfield’s career TD rate of 4.8% much better than Darnold’s at 3.3%, but from a winning standpoint, it’s not even close. Sure, technically 29-30 is a losing record, but Mayfield has won a lot more than Darnold and his career record of 17-32. Still, I must admit the uncertainty has caused me to drop the Panthers’ overall team numbers. If I were to project Mayfield to start all 17 games, I would expect about 28 touchdown passes for this offense. However, splitting the starts between two quarterbacks, I have Carolina with only 22 touchdowns through the air.
There is one Panthers player that I believe will find the end zone often, regardless of the QB situation. In my projections, Christian McCaffrey is second in the entire league with 14 scrimmage touchdowns. Those are split into 9 scores on the ground, with 5 through the air. The 5 reception touchdowns would be enough to tie for the team lead in my projections. There are two other Carolina pass-catchers that I predict will produce 5 touchdowns through the air. Aside from McCaffrey, another is Robby Anderson. But currently, that trio of receivers is currently combined for 15 of the team’s 22 passing touchdowns.
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Rounding out those three pass-catchers with 5 receiving touchdowns is D.J. Moore. When looking at Moore’s career numbers, one might question the merits behind TD regression. If the 155-yard per scrimmage TD rule held true, Moore would have around 29 receiving scores in his career. Instead, he only has 14 career touchdowns, while never eclipsing 4 in a single season. So every year, we expect Moore to find the end zone more than he does in reality. Now, Mayfield’s 4.8% TD rate is the highest of any QB Moore has ever played with. So even if Mayfield does not start every game, I expect Moore will finally surpass 4 receiving touchdowns, albeit with only 5 in my projections.
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With Anderson, McCaffrey, and Moore accounting for over two-thirds of the Panthers’ passing touchdowns, that does not leave much for any other players. And to make the math all work, no other Carolina player has more than 2 receiving touchdowns. That includes 2 touchdowns total for the entire TE group. Should anyone out the top three emerge, I would wager it’s actually Rashard Higgins. Coming from Cleveland, he has the strongest connection with Mayfield and has been more productive than anyone outside the team’s top three receivers.
New Orleans Saints
Total TD Projection: 46
Unlike the other two NFC South teams covered so far, the Saints actually have some consistency at QB. Even with losing their head coach to retirement, I still have the Saints to increase their total TD output from 2021. Considering that Jameis Winston did miss over half the season after tearing his ACL, I do not think it’s unreasonable to see an increased efficiency overall for the offense if he plays 17 games. And projecting Winston for a full season, I have him producing 27 passing touchdowns. But it is in the running game where I think the bigger box score impact will be felt. Going with the 19 rushing touchdowns in my New Orleans team projection, that would mean the team has 5 extra end zone trips from last year’s rushing output.
Leading the individual players on the Saints is Alvin Kamara. He has regularly been among the league leaders in TD production, and I expect 2022 will be no different. With a combination of 9 rushing and 3 receiving touchdowns, I predict Kamara will be one of 15 players with more than 10 scrimmage scores this season. Behind him on the depth chart is Mark Ingram. The reliable veteran had arguably the most productive stretch of his career when he and Kamara were on the team together. Now that he is back in New Orleans, I project Ingram will score 5 touchdowns in 2022.
This was a difficult WR corps to project out. None of the Saints’ top three targets have played a game with Winston yet. So how would their scoring be distributed? So working backward through the depth chart, there were 15 of Winston’s 27 passing touchdowns available. My current projection has Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas tied for the team lead with 6 receiving scores each. After them, rookie WR Chris Olave has 3 touchdowns through the air. This is also tied with RB Kamara for 3rd place in New Orleans.
One of the most interesting groups in this series is the Saints’ TE room. I have 8 total touchdowns for that entire position, but the distribution might be strange. More than half of those touchdowns belong to Taysom Hill, whom I project with 4 rushing scores, as well as 1 end zone trip through the air. Meanwhile, I expect only 3 receiving touchdowns for the rest of the tight ends, including Juwan Johnson and Adam Trautman. Based on the TD numbers, this would be a position group I would look to avoid in 2022. As much as I expect Hill to find the end zone multiple times, it may also be difficult to predict when those games will be.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Total TD Projection: 53
After setting NFL record for pass attempts and completions last season, I expect a slight step back from Tom Brady in 2022. However, even with fewer opportunities and his career TD rate of 5.5%, I still have Brady with the 2nd most passing touchdowns in my projections. And with 38 passing scores, I expect Brady to lead the Buccaneers to be among the upper echelon of NFL offenses. Currently, I have Tampa Bay tied with the Ravens for 3rd place in my TD projections with 53 offensive scores. Only the Chiefs and Bills will have more touchdowns on offense than Brady’s Buccs.
In my estimation, the main beneficiary of Brady’s brilliance will be Mike Evans. After putting up 13 and 14 touchdown seasons respectively in two years with Brady, Evans should be in line for another year with double-digit end zone trips. I actually have him taking a step back with only 12 receiving touchdowns in my projections. However, considering that I am mostly making projections based on career average rates, I am especially conservative at the high end. With 12 scores, Evans is actually tied for the WR lead alongside three other players. I expect at least one NFL pass-catcher will score more than 12 touchdowns. But trying to predict outliers is very difficult. So Evans could certainly eclipse these 12 touchdowns fairly easily.
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Chris Godwin was tricky to project without knowing if he will be a full go come Week 1. Currently, I predict he will score 6 touchdowns in 2022. If anything, this is likely on the conservative side as Godwin has produced at least 7 scores in three of the last four seasons. Still, with only 6 touchdowns, I have Godwin behind both Evans and RB Leonard Fournette in total trips to the end zone. I expect Fournette will get at least 8 touchdowns this season.
One of the complications with the Tampa Bay offense was all of the additions in the offseason process. Both Julio Jones and Kyle Rudolph joined the team late after the draft. Months earlier, the team signed Russel Gage in the early portion of free agency. Not to mention Cameron Brate who has been with the Buccaneers his entire career. Between those four players, I project 14 combined touchdowns. Based on his stellar career, Jones gets the extra scores as I predict he will find the end zone 5 times. The other three all end up with 3 touchdowns each.
Thank you for reading NFC South TD Projections. Be sure to check out all of the great NFL content available on Full Press Coverage.
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