It’s been a truly bizarre season for the Atlanta Falcons, in both fantasy football and real life. One of the most prolific offenses in NFL (and fantasy) history has apparently fallen flat on its face. Steve Sarkisian is at least partially to blame, as is Matt Ryan, but there’s got to be some kind of hope for this team going forward, right?
The good news is there are still a few Falcons that you can trust in your fantasy lineup. There are also a few interesting Jets players this week. With six teams on bye in Week 8, you’ll need all the tricks you can get. Let’s get started.
WR Julio Jones
One of the only dependable plays in the Falcons’ offense this season, Julio had his best game of the year on arguably the worst day of the year for Atlanta. Despite the rest of the team’s struggles, Julio should continue to see a large target share and will hopefully continue his recent trend of red-zone looks. Here’s to hoping the whole offense gets back on track soon, but in the meantime you can still trust Julio as a WR1.
RB Devonta Freeman
The other dependable option this season has been Freeman, who has retained his role as the primary runner. Reports suggest that the Falcons may re-commit themselves to running the ball, which could mean even more opportunities for Freeman going forward. He also receives at least a few targets a game, which helps establish a safe floor on days when he doesn’t find the endzone. Freeman is an RB2 with RB1 upside even while the Falcons offense is struggling.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
After being exiled by the Buccaneers, Seferian-Jenkins’ career was seemingly over. However, the Jets signed him anyway, and patiently waited for the end of his suspension. Their patience appears to have paid off, as Seferian-Jenkins has been arguably their best receiver since he’s returned to action. In an incredibly thin TE market, ASJ has been a surprising bright spot. He’s caught at least three passes in each of his five games since being activated, and has caught a TD in his last three. Fire up ASJ as a mid-tier TE1 going forward.
QB Josh McCown
Hard to believe I’m recommending you start McCown, but in a week with six teams on bye, a lot of fantasy teams are going to need spot-starters at QB. McCown has actually been solid, and posted his best game of the season last week against Miami (28.5 points in 6-pt TD leagues). Atlanta’s defense has been decent this season, but I don’t expect them to completely shut down the Jets’ offense. Start McCown as a streaming-level starter with the potential for more.
QB Matt Ryan
As much as it pains me to say so, you should shut down Matt Ryan if at all possible. He’s been awful as a fantasy starter this season, and until he regains our trust (and starts hitting some of these deep shots) he’s simply nothing more than a streaming option at the position. Which sucks, because you probably paid a high price to draft him. It’s certainly possible he returns to form this week or down the road, but starting him is a risky proposition at this point.
RB Tevin Coleman
Blame Sarkisian for this one. Coleman was a fascinating and reliable FLEX play for his first four games, and the hope was that his usage in the passing game would continue to give him a start-able floor week-to-week for those of us that were struggling with our RB depth. Well, throw all that out of the window: Coleman has received only two targets in the last two weeks, both against extremely suspect LB corps. Until Sark gets his act together and starts utilizing Coleman like he should, we can’t trust him in our lineups.
Much like with the Falcons’ tertiary WRs, the Jets WR corps probably has at least one decent fantasy outing among them. Between Jermaine Kearse, Robby Anderson, and Jeremy Kerley, one will likely have a starting-caliber day. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to figure out which one it’ll be before the game starts. My advice would be to avoid this group entirely and look for bye week help elsewhere.
Same story, different position. The Jets are running a total RB-by-committee approach, with Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, and Elijah McGuire all taking touches. None of these players are safe to start in fantasy, as it’s unclear which of the group will have a good day. It’s probable that they will all have middling days, like last week against the Dolphins. Forte seems to catch more passes and Powell seems to get more rushing attempts, but I’d still avoid starting either unless you’re totally desperate.
Kevin’s Spicy Play of the Week
WR Mohamed Sanu
Sanu is back and he looks plenty healthy coming off his hamstring injury. He’s returned to his role as the third down and short-yardage possession receiver, and that could potentially be a lucrative role in PPR leagues going forward. The Falcons haven’t scored many TDs in the passing game, but Sanu should offer you a solid floor for catches and yards this week. Like I said, it’s a tough bye week—you could do a lot worse than starting Sanu.
Good luck in your leagues this week. As always, if you have any lineup or fantasy questions you can tweet them to me @FalcoholicKevin.