Falcons Fantasy Forecast – Week 10

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ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 27: Devonta Freeman (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 27: Devonta Freeman (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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A look at Atlanta Falcons players and their fantasy football stock heading into the team’s Week 10 match-up against the Dallas Cowboys

Quarterback Matt Ryan – the Cowboys rank 15th against the pass, giving up about 223 yards per game. They’ve allowed opposing QBs a 14 – 4 TD – Int ratio and a 95.5 Passer rating (24th in the league). They are third-best in the league with sacks, though, with 27. However, the Falcons have allowed the eighth-fewest total sacks this season. If this were last year’s Falcons’ offense, I’d call Ryan a no-brainer to start. I still call him a solid play against Dallas.

Running backs Devonta Freeman / Tevin Coleman – Freeman’s a bit dinged up this weekend, so Coleman might get more action than normal. That said, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has yet to demonstrate that he really understands how to best utilize Coleman’s skill-set.

I’d still bet on Freeman getting the majority of the snaps, with Coleman being better served as a flex option in deeper leagues. The Cowboys rank 13th in rushing yards allowed per game, 25th in yards allowed per carry, but have allowed only four rushing touchdowns. Their linebackers and safeties are fast and athletic, so I have my doubts about how effective the Falcons’s backs will be in the passing game

Receivers Julio Jones / Mohamed Sanu – like Freeman, Jones has been dealing with injuries this past week. Like Coleman, Jones hasn’t been properly utilized by Sarkisian, though that seems to have been changing in recent weeks.

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He’s still arguably the most talented receiver in football, so you have to play him. If anybody has benefited from Sarkisian’s scheme and play calling, it’s Sanu. I’d call him at least a WR3/ flex option, and maybe even a WR2 this week (he’s a flex for me, but I have Dez Bryant and Kelvin Benjamin as my WR1 and WR2, respectively). The only concern is that he’s likely to draw Orlando Scandrick, one of the better corners in the league, in coverage.

Sadly, the other wide outs in Atlanta’s arsenal have virtually been forgotten this year. Barring in-game injury to Jones or Sanu, I wouldn’t count on much from Taylor Gabriel and company.

Tight End Austin Hooper – despite starting the year with big plays, I wouldn’t count on Hooper for much. His targets have been going up of late, but he’s just not having the breakout year many though he would. The fact that there were many who thought Atlanta would be well-served to go after Martellus Bennett when the Packers released him speaks volumes. Hooper has the ability, but the production hasn’t been there, and Dallas has the team speed in the back seven to bottle him up. I’d sit him this week.

Kicker Matt Bryant – another wounded bird, Bryant will nevertheless suit up against Dallas. Other than aberrant performance against the Patriots, the *other* Matty Ice has been his usual dependable self this season. Playing at home in a controlled environment against an average defense should help his cause further. I think the opportunities will be there for Bryant to be a reliable play on Sunday.

Defense / Special TeamsAndre Roberts hasn’t added the kind of spark I’d hoped he would when he was acquired this offseason. Dallas ranks 22nd in average yards allowed per kickoff return and 5th in average yards allowed per punt return.

It certainly helps that Dallas will be without Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith this weekend, and that Dez Bryant will be playing through an injury, but the Falcons defense is about as average as Dallas’s this year, and generating turnovers has not been their strong suit thus far. If you’ve got a better option this week, I’d play it instead of Atlanta.

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