The Atlanta Falcons have not exactly a consistent resource for fantasy owners to utilize in 2014. When you only score a single touchdown in an entire game, you're probably not at the top of fantasy rankings.
Roddy White was the top scorer on the Falcons in Week 7. After managing to drop a few passes to start his day, he came on strong to finish with nine receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown. I would give you the rest of the team's stats, but they're depressing so we'll skip that part.
The Lions have allowed the fewest fantasy points overall this season. Let's see how the Falcons stack up for your lineup in Week 8. This should be fun! (Note: it will not be. You might not even want to read this honestly.)
Matt Ryan: Last week he was a recommended sit, which turned out to be a tough call but ultimately the right decision. He threw for 228 yards and a single touchdown against one of the tougher defenses in the league. That performance was good enough to rank No. 23 among quarterbacks in standard scoring. Yikes.
The Lions actually allow three fewer fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, ranking No. 1 overall at 16.5 per matchup. Last week Drew Brees became the first quarterback this season to throw multiple touchdown passes against Detroit.
Recommendation: Sit Ryan unless you're in a deep league or two-quarterback league with few other options. Ryan's price is $8,100 on FanDuel, which I will also be avoiding.
Steven Jackson and Antone Smith: The Lions kept four Saints running backs to 60 rushing yards in Week 7. While Detroit can be more susceptible to giving up fantasy points to this position, it still ranks toward the top of the league. Most of the damage from running backs has come in the receiving game. That means we're passing on Jackson once again.
Smith finished with five touches last week and somehow did not score a touchdown. I'm still trying to figure out how that happened. The Falcons seem determined to never give him more than 5-6 touches a game. Last week I was coming around on the idea of start Smith as a flex given his ridiculous production in 2014, but Week 7 proved you can't rely on a running back who touches the ball five times a game.
Recommendation: Pass on both. Jackson hasn't scored in two games, and the Lions haven't allowed a rushing touchdown since Week 4. Smith's price on FanDuel is still $6,200, which is higher than Jerick McKinnon, Chris Ivory and Darren McFadden. If you're plugging him in your lineup, you better be doing a lot of praying.
Julio Jones and Roddy White: White finished with 0.31 targets per route run in Week 7, ranking No. 9 among all wide receivers. He took over with 15 targets to lead the team, and his numbers could've been even better if he hadn't dropped a couple passes.
This week White will see plenty of Darius Slay, who lines up at left cornerback 99 percent of the time. Slay has allowed 28 receptions on 52 targets. He gave up his first touchdown of the year in Week 7. Jones gets to face Rashean Mathis, one of the top corners so far in 2014. Mathis has only allowed 17 receptions and opposing quarterbacks have a 65.2 passer rating when targeting him.
White does line up in the slot just over 27 percent of the time, which means he'll face Danny Gorrer for part of Sunday's game. That's a much better matchup that the Falcons need to work to exploit. The Lions allow the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers, though, so it's another week of tough matchups for the receiving corps.
Recommendation: You have to start Jones because he's Julio Jones. The Falcons desperately need him to start breaking out for more big plays to revitalize this offense. I would start White as well as a WR3/flex, but I don't think he'll replicate last week's numbers. It was at least promising to see him step up.
Jones is $8.400 and White is $7,200 on FanDuel. I'm still straying away from both with this matchup, but they'll be low-percentage plays for guaranteed prize pools if you're looking to go the contratrian route.
Levine Toilolo: No.
Falcons D/ST: The Lions offense isn't moving as easily without Calvin Johnson, who will likely miss the London game. I still can't recommend starting the Falcons defense, though, but this game could be closer than we think if they continue to show slight improvement.
Lions players worth starting: Golden Tate and Joique Bell should be great plays for Week 8. Theo Riddick is a sneaky FanDuel start with Reggie Bush out of the picture.