The Falcons have a chance to get to 4-0 on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. It should be a fairly productive fantasy outing—for Atlanta, at least—and offers a variety of options for teams in need. The stars should all have decent match-ups, although it’s unclear if Buffalo’s defense is really a shut-down unit or if they’ve just played two really poor offenses (Jets, Panthers).
Let’s take a look at some of the players to consider in your fantasy lineups on Sunday.
QB Matt Ryan
Ryan had an uncharacteristic 3-interception performance against Detroit, but that isn’t something that is likely to happen again. Two of those were clearly not even his fault. That being said, Ryan’s upside should probably be looked at as a little lower on the road. Luckily, the Falcons are at home this week. They take on what appears to be a formidable Bills defense, but Buffalo hasn’t faced anything like this Falcons offense yet in 2017. Ryan should be able to take advantage of a less-than-stellar CB group, and should still be firmly in the QB1 tier in Week 4.
WR Mohamed Sanu
Sanu is clearly one of Ryan’s favorite targets in 2017, and the drops he had in Week 3’s game are likely outliers for the normally sure-handed receiver. Against a Buffalo CB group with no options above 5’11, Sanu should have ample opportunity to find success in the short-to-intermediate passing game. Ryan has also been looking his way in the red zone, which adds even more upside. Sanu is a good FLEX option, particularly in PPR leagues.
RB Devonta Freeman
This match-up seems to project as more of a Freeman game, in my opinion, as the Buffalo LBs are at least somewhat capable of running with the Falcons’ RBs in coverage. Against a quality run defense, I think Freeman is the most trustworthy play, as he gets the volume and the consistent red zone usage that gives him a very high floor. I doubt he’ll have a day like he had against Detroit, but you can trust Freeman as a low-end RB1 with the ceiling for more.
QB Tyrod Taylor
I doubt Taylor will have another game like the one against the Broncos last week, but his rushing ability gives him such a safe floor from week to week that he’s an always-solid streaming option. If you’re still waiting on Andrew Luck, or have someone with a terrible match-up like Derek Carr, Tyrod Taylor could be a perfect high-floor fill-in for your team. I’m not sure he’ll get a whole lot done through the air, but I think he’s got a good chance to score a rushing TD.
TE Charles Clay
With few receiving options to speak of, the Bills have made Clay one of the primary targets in their offense. He’ll see the field early and often, as his blocking ability keeps him on the field throughout the game. Clay will have a tough match-up against LB De’Vondre Campbell and SS Keanu Neal—who have both done a good job at limiting TEs this season—but should get enough targets to finish with a TE1 line on Sunday. With the state of TE in fantasy right now, you could do a lot worse than Clay.
RB LeSean McCoy
I’m having mixed feelings on McCoy this week, mostly because I think he will be the primary focus of the defense. Still, McCoy is clearly the heart and soul of the Buffalo offense, and should get every opportunity to have a decent fantasy day in Week 4. Particularly in PPR leagues, McCoy offers you the potential of a big day with what should be a reasonable floor. He’s struggled early in the season, but there’s literally nobody behind him to take his reps. Mike Tolbert isn’t inspiring any confidence.
TE Austin Hooper
I desperately wanted Hooper to be a thing this season, but it doesn’t appear to be the case. The Falcons simply have too many weapons to get Hooper the ball consistently enough to justify a fantasy start. It’s possible that his role increases further down the road, or against certain teams, but for now he’s not worth starting unless you’re incredibly desperate at the TE position.
RB Tevin Coleman
I’m not sure what it is, but I just think Coleman will be a non-factor this week. He’s always a threat to break off a long run or pass, but the Bills have a quality LB and S group that should prevent that from happening more than once. If you’re depending on a player to have a big play to salvage their fantasy day, you’re basically looking at a coin-flip decision. If you’re desperate at RB, Coleman isn’t going to get you zero, but don’t play him over more trustworthy options.
The Bills have a familiar name in Jordan Matthews and an interesting rookie in Zay Jones, but absolutely no consistency. Tyrod has been pressured constantly, and the Bills offense is incredibly run-heavy. Sure, either of these guys could have a big day if things broke right, but good luck picking which one. You’re better off looking to a higher-volume passing attack for help at your FLEX spots.
Anybody else on this offense
Look, don’t start Mike Tolbert, Brandon Tate, Andre Holmes, Nick O’Leary or Logan Thomas. Just don’t do it, OK?
Kevin’s Spicy Play of the Week
WR Taylor Gabriel
I was one week off on Gabriel before, but I’m ready to go back to the well after he put up an impressive day against the Lions. Until Ryan can start dependably hitting those deep shots, Gabriel is a risky proposition every week. But you’ve seen how easy it is for him to turn just a few targets into a productive fantasy day. I think the Falcons are close to unlocking that part of their offense. If the protection can hold up, I think there’s a chance for Gabriel to find success with the deep ball in Week 4. Start him as a boom/bust FLEX option, particularly if you think you need a big day from someone to win your match-up.
Those are my fantasy takes for this Sunday’s match-up. As always, trust your thoughts more than mine. If you disagree with me, go with what you feel. Don’t blame me for not following your gut. This is just happy advice, and it’ll be wrong sometimes. Hopefully not often, because I follow this advice too.
If you have any fantasy or lineup questions, feel free to send them to me @FalcoholicKevin.