After ten weeks of NFL play and a grueling opening schedule, the Atlanta Falcons are sitting at 6-4 and control the NFC South. They’re 3-1 in the division and boast the top scoring offense in the NFL. Matt Ryan is having an MVP-caliber season, and Julio Jones in the #1 receiver in the NFL in yardage.
The real life Falcons are doing quite well, and have a good shot at reaching the postseason for the first time since 2012. But how are they performing in fantasy football? Let’s take a look at some of Atlanta’s best fantasy contributors through ten games of the 2016 season.
WR Julio Jones
PPR Fantasy Points: 206 (1st), Standard Fantasy Points: 135 (1st)
Julio Jones is an elite WR in real life, and it turns out that he is equally elite in fantasy. He’s #1 in both PPR and standard scoring, with 6 games of 20+ points (in PPR) out of ten games played. Indeed, his points per game average is a whopping 20.6 despite having three games of 5 or less fantasy points.
Perhaps even more impressive was his 53(!) fantasy point performance against Carolina, proving that Jones’ upside is virtually limitless. While it’s unreasonable to expect that ridiculous point total again this season, Jones is a potential game-winner every single week. If you drafted Julio in the top-5, you’ve been very satisfied.
QB Matt Ryan
4-PT TD Fantasy Points: 214 (1st), 6-PT TD Fantasy Points: 266
While we all expected Julio Jones to be an elite fantasy play, everyone has been caught off guard by the fantastic play of Matt Ryan. While Ryan has often been a top-10 fantasy QB in his career, he never before approached elite fantasy QB status. Well, that has changed this season.
Ryan is first in fantasy points in both 4-PT and 6-PT passing TD leagues among QBs. He’s averaging a whopping 26.6 points/game in 6-PT leagues, and has only posted less than 20 points in 3 games this season. To offset a few mediocre performances, Ryan has also posted 3 games of more than 30 points thus far. He’s been an elite QB this year and should be even better against a weak closing schedule.
RB Devonta Freeman
PPR Fantasy Points: 146 (6th), Standard Fantasy Points: 114 (8th)
While Freeman hasn’t quite been on the level of Julio or Ryan in terms of fantasy dominance, he’s been a clear RB1 in both standard and PPR scoring. His value has actually been buoyed somewhat by the injury to Tevin Coleman, as Freeman has seen a larger workload over the last several weeks.
That workload, particularly in the best offense in the NFL, has been very lucrative for fantasy purposes. While he’s only had one 30+ point game, Freeman has been very consistently getting you at least 10 points. He’s got a much higher floor in PPR leagues, and he might lose some work when Coleman returns after the bye, but Freeman has been a great fantasy asset thus far.
Player to Watch: WR Taylor Gabriel
While Gabriel hasn’t been on the fantasy radar much this season, he’s quietly picking up steam going into the bye week. Gabriel has posted 16, 18, and 17 points in PPR leagues over the last three games. He’s turning into one of Matt Ryan’s favorite targets, particularly in the deep passing game.
The team has also started developing creative plays for him, including jet sweeps. Gabriel is definitely a big part of the Falcons’ plans going forward, and his role may even grow as the season wears on. Think of him as a boom/bust FLEX option in the mold of DeSean Jackson. He has considerable upside, but recognize that he may also post a 5-point dud.
Did you draft any Falcons players for your fantasy team? Are they helping you reach the playoffs? If you have any of the players listed above, you have to be pretty happy about those decisions.
As always, you can tweet me (@FalcoholicKevin) with your fantasy questions (yes, even on our bye week!). I hope you all crush your games this weekend.