As the Atlanta Falcons prepare to invade New Orleans this Sunday, Fantasy Football owners and Falcons fans alike are stuck with which Falcons offense will show up.
Despite the extremely disappointing first half of the season, the Atlanta Falcons offense is still lined across the board with superstar talent. The Falcons will march into Saints territory on Sunday to face a mediocre secondary in New Orleans that ranks in the middle of the pack in passing defense. Despite the suspect secondary for the Saints, they do hold onto a stout defense against the rush.
Let’s take a look into which players on the Atlanta Falcons that you should look at starting, and which players that you should look at sitting on the bench this weekend.
Wide receiver, Julio Jones – Through eight games, Jones is still a must-start. Jones has racked in 50 receptions on the year, tallying for 712 yards. Jones also has four touchdowns on the year as he has slowed down on the scoring front, but as an elite receiver, you cannot afford to bench him in this offense.
Wide receiver, Calvin Ridley – Ridley can be a high-risk, high-reward start and is probably no more than a flex option, but his big-play ability and scoring aspect puts him in a starting position. Also add in that Ridley will continue to get more looks now that Mohamed Sanu has been traded. On the year, Ridley has 33 receptions for 443 yards and four touchdowns.
Tight end, Austin Hooper – Hooper is the most consistent target for the Falcons this year, and is quite possibly the best tight end in the NFL right now. He has scored a touchdown in three straight games and has seen at least five targets in every game this year. He has an impressive 83.9% completion rate, which makes him very reliable to bring in his targets.
Quarterback, Matt Ryan – If Ryan comes into this game healthy enough to perform up to par, he is worth starting. Keep an eye out on his status though. Ryan has been consistent this year ranking close to the top in virtually all passing categories, his biggest downside being the bizarre interceptions he has thrown. If the offensive line decides to protect Ryan the way that they protected Matt Shaub in Week 8, I expect Ryan to put up some solid yards and a couple of touchdowns against the mediocre Saints defense.
Running back, Devonta Freeman – Freeman has still yet to produce on the ground this year. In standard scoring leagues, Freeman most definitely needs to be benched. In PPR leagues, Freeman may be worth a look at as he has clearly been a better receiving back this year with 35 receptions and three touchdowns. For me, Freeman is just too inconsistent to start, but depending on who else you have in the running back position he may be worth a flex option in PPR leagues.
Running back, Ito Smith – Smith went out with a concussion in Week 8. Still listed as questionable whether or not he will play this Sunday, it is best to sit him regardless. Playing backup to Freeman who will be getting the bulk of the touches, and add in the Saints rushing defense, Smith is just not worth a start this week.
Kicker, Younghoe Koo – The Georgia Southern kicker was signed last week after kicker Matt Bryant was released. Koo should ride the bench until we see what he is going to be capable of on the team, and it will be a very tough and intimidating environment in the Superdome on Sunday. If you happened to have picked up Koo for any reason, don’t expect much this weekend.
Falcons D/ST – Yowza. If you for any reason whatsoever have the Falcons defense on your team, I strongly recommend dropping them and finding a different route.