The Atlanta Falcons (6-3) take on the Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) on Sunday afternoon. A few weeks ago, this looked to be a preview of a potential playoff match-up. However, the Eagles have fallen to 4-4 after starting the season 3-0 and have looked very mortal as of late.
Philadelphia’s defense is as talented as ever (especially at home), but the offense is very suspect. There’s little to no running game and the passing attack, helmed by rookie QB Carson Wentz, is inconsistent at best. That’s at least partially because the Eagles have one of the worst WR corps in the league.
Atlanta, on the other hand, has continued their offensive onslaught using a variety of weapons. The Falcons are almost impossible to stop and have played extremely well on the road thus far. Their defense is still young and exploitable, however, meaning some Philadelphia players have a chance to produce decent fantasy days.
Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst plays for this Sunday’s game.
QB Matt Ryan
Yes, Philly has been solid on defense, doubly so at home. But Ryan has been nearly match-up proof, even putting up a respectable number against Denver and dismantling the Seahawks. Both of those games were also on the road. Unless you have a better, high-upside option, start Ryan as a high-floor QB1 with the potential for a big game.
RB Devonta Freeman
It doesn’t look like Coleman will suit up this week, setting Freeman up for another outing with a giant share of carries and targets. He’s got a good shot of getting in the endzone and has the workload to provide him with a very high floor. While Philly is no slouch on D, start Freeman with confidence as a high-end RB2.
QB Carson Wentz
Wentz hasn’t been a great fantasy QB this season, but the Falcons are an enticing match-up for QBs. While Atlanta’s defense has been improving, the nature of the game means that Wentz will probably be set up to throw it early and often. He’s in the streaming conversation and could even be a borderline QB1 depending on how this one shakes out.
RB Darren Sproles
This notorious Falcon-killer finally left New Orleans a few years back, but he’s now facing Atlanta once again as an Eagle. While Atlanta is actually solid against the run, they are very vulnerable to pass-catching backs. The game script should also be favorable for Sproles to see the majority of snaps. He’s a FLEX-worthy back that gains a lot of value in PPR.
TE Austin Hooper
Hooper had a good day last week if you spot-started him, but don’t be so confident in him repeating that feat against an Eagles defense that has shut down TEs regularly. He’ll still be involved, and it’s clear Atlanta wants to get him the ball, but you are likely to find better streamers on the waiver wire this week.
WR Mohamed Sanu
For some reason, I just don’t trust Sanu to have a good day this weekend. He hasn’t been a consistent fantasy player and it seems like the team has been emphasizing Taylor Gabriel more over the last several weeks. You could do worse if you’re desperate, as Sanu has a healthy role in the red zone, but I’d probably look elsewhere.
The Falcons have actually fared very well against WR1s not named Mike Evans, which essentially takes the Eagles’ only fantasy asset at that position (Jordan Matthews) out of the equation. Nobody else here is worth starting, as there is no consistent usage pattern and few opportunities to go around.
Other Eagles RBs
Philadelphia has clearly moved away from Ryan Mathews and Wendell Smallwood, seemingly deciding to give Sproles the majority of rushing attempts as well. That isn’t likely to continue for the whole season, but for this week, Sproles is the only Eagles’ RB that is worth playing on your fantasy team. If you’re really desperate, Mathews has the best chance to score a TD in goal-line situations.
Kevin’s Spicy Play of the Week
WR Taylor Gabriel
Gabriel has seen his usage increase steadily each week, and we saw the Falcons devise creative “gadget” plays like the jet sweep to get him more involved in the offense. His speed is particularly impressive and he makes difficult catches look routine. He hasn’t been a model of consistency in terms of fantasy production, but he’s proving himself as a boom-bust FLEX option in the mold of DeSean Jackson. If you need a “home-run” sleeper this week, I like Gabriel’s chances against a bad Philly secondary.
I hope you all crush your games this weekend. Feel free to @ me with your fantasy football or Falcons questions.