The Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers matchups tend to be good ones for your fantasy team. Between the Falcons’ newly high-powered offense and the Bucs’ consistently solid one, you can usually find at least a small handful of players who can help carry you to victory on a Sunday, or Monday, or even Thursday.
That certainly seems like it’ll be the case this weekend, too. Let’s break down who you should start and sit for these Falcons and Buccaneers Sunday.
QB Matt Ryan
Ryan has quietly returned to form, and while the numbers on the stat sheet haven’t indicated it, he’s playing great football. This is by far the easiest matchup left on the docket for Ryan the rest of the way, with the Bucs “boasting” one of the league’s weakest pass defenses and pass rushes. Ryan should eat, and I think projecting 300 yards and 3 touchdowns for the first time in a long time isn’t at all unreasonable.
RB Tevin Coleman
This Buccaneers defense is strong up front and much weaker on the back end, especially with injuries striking. That means if Coleman gets loose, which he’s wont to do a small handful of times per game, he could easily find paydirt. Expect 100 combined yards and a score from Coleman Sunday, whether it’s through the air or on the ground.
WR Julio Jones
I don’t know if Julio will score—it’s always a big question with him—but I do know he should have a favorable matchup and plenty of targets in this one. Considering he needs eight receptions and 100-plus yards to be the top receiver ever in those categories after 90 contests, and considering he’s capable of a big game at any moment, start him with confidence.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
I expect the Falcons to get a good-sized lead at some point in this game, which should mean Fitzmagic will be slinging. He should be good for 250 yards and a couple of touchdowns here, even if it’s just garbage time production, and thus he’s worth starting in a pinch or as a QB2.
WR Mike Evans
The most dangerous man in this matchup for the Bucs, Evans is one of the few receivers who can consistently beat Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford thanks to his size and ability. Don’t be shocked if he goes off in this one, and if you have him, you want him in your lineup.
TE O.J. Howard
As the second tight end in this offense and a freak athlete, he’s virtually guaranteed to score in this game. I can feel it in my bones.
TE Austin Hooper
I would very much like to believe that Hooper will have another breakout game soon, but the reality is that he’s sort of coasting along with the occasional touchdown and solid game. The Bucs could offer an opportunity, but we’re in believe-it-when-we-see-it territory.
WR Taylor Gabriel
Just like Hooper, Gabriel has all the talent in the world and the potential to break out at any time, but this feels like a big game for the likes of Julio, Coleman, and Sanu. Gabriel could have a big play or two and make his entire day worthwhile, but you’d be better off exploring options who are more consistently integrated into the offense.
Under no circumstances should you trust one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL to contain a Falcons passing attack that appears to be figuring things out. Sit, sit, sit, if you even have them in the first place.
WR DeSean Jackson
I wouldn’t trust Jackson to win. He’s having an up-and-down year in this Bucs offense, he doesn’t match up extremely well with Atlanta’s athletic cornerbacks, and Evans and the tight ends should dominate touches in the passing game. Like Gabriel, he might be a boom or bust option, but I’m betting on bust.