I am not the most successful fantasy football player in the universe, but I do know my Falcons. That makes me qualified to tell you which three Falcons players you should be sure to own in fantasy football this year. None of the choices will surprise you, however.
1) Julio Jones
If you're in a scoring-only format, Jones may not be quite as valuable as a few other top tier options, but in a PPR or yardage league, he's simply one of the best buys you can find. A year ago he fought through a bunch of minor injuries that would have hampered mere mortals and still put up a 104 reception/1,593 yard/6 touchdown season in 15 games, and you can bet Kyle Shanahan is going to build the passing game around the stud wide receiver. Chances are very good he'll match or exceed those numbers across the board if he's healthy, and that makes him an excellent buy for your team.
2) Matt Ryan
In my experience, Ryan is often overlooked in fantasy leagues, meaning you can sometimes get a tremendous mid-round value while everyone else snaps up running backs and the Aaron Rodgerses of the draft. He wasn't the best quarterback in fantasy a year ago, but 4,600-plus yards and 28 touchdowns meant he was definitely top ten, and those numbers could very well increase if the offensive line is healthy and the new additions to the receiving corps can mesh well with the quarterback.
Expecting something along the lines of 4,750/32 isn't outlandish, and if you're grabbing Ryan in the 5th round, that's a steal.
3) Roddy White
It's always a risk to snag two receivers from the same team, but Roddy is the logical third choice here. He's only had one season since 2008 with less than seven touchdowns scored, he regularly puts up 1,000 yards or close to it, and he's only missed three games in his entire career. He's definitely on the downslope of his career, but I'm quite willing to bet he'll pull up an 80/900/7 line in 2015.
Tevin Coleman, Justin Hardy, Devonta Freeman and Jacob Tamme should all be contributors on offense, but we're not sure how the running back corps is going to shake out just yet, and both Tamme and Hardy will be lesser options near the end zone when you have Julio, Roddy and Leonard Hankerson available to throw to.
Given value, I'll try to land both Ryan and White in my re-draft leagues, and if Julio makes it out of the first round, I'll be targeting him as well. How about you?