Other than injuries, there’s possibly no greater de-railer for a player’s fantasy prospects than poor offensive line play. That’s what the Falcons’ skill position players suffered from in Week 5, as the subpar play by the big fellas on the front line completely capped everyone’s fantasy football potential.
After three straight weeks of putting up 30+ points, Atlanta was held to just 17 points against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that looked very vulnerable coming into the game. This week, they face a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that seems even more vulnerable.
This week I’ll look to bounce back along with the Falcons’ offense. The struggles against the Steelers shouldn’t discourage you from plugging the Birds into your lineups, as the Bucs trot out the worst defense in the league.
Matt Ryan - Start
Matt Ryan struggled in the face of consistent pressure in Week 5 and was really let down by the players around him — he was sacked six times, and the run game consistently lost yardage or produced no gain on first down, putting the offense behind the sticks.
Tampa Bay, however, gives up the most points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks this year, and Ryan is still the QB3 in all of fantasy football. It looks like it’ll be another shootout at the Benz, so slot Ryan into your starting lineup with confidence.
Tevin Coleman - Start
It looks like Devonta Freeman will miss this game with his continued injury troubles. As a result, Coleman will be in for another big workload as he’s averaged 18 touches per game with Freeman out of the lineup this season.
The workload alone makes Coleman an RB2, even if he hasn’t put up eye-popping stats. The threat of Ito Smith possibly stealing goal-line work is there now, but the Bucs still give up the sixth most points to opposing fantasy RBs this year. Coleman should be in for a nice day, even if Smith proves to be a scavenger.
Julio Jones - Start
I’ll let one tweet showcase why you have to start Julio Jones this week:
Per #NextGenStats, Julio Jones runs 83% of his routes out wide, meaning he'll see majority coverage from #Bucs boundary CBs Carlton Davis and Brent Grimes.— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) October 11, 2018
- Grimes: 7/155/2 (8 targets) allowed; 158.3 QB Rating (worst)
- Davis: 13/194/3 (20) allowed; 136.3 Rating (ninth-worst)
Calvin Ridley - Start
Had it not been for a blitz which wasn’t picked up well enough, Ridley’s quiet fantasy day in Week 5 would’ve been a lot more explosive. I’ll let our own Allen Strk show you with this tweet from his awesome weekly gif review:
Steelers knew they had to gamble in order to stop Ryan from torching them. Bringing as many different as blitzes worked out brilliantly for them. It saved them in certain situations like this one. Opening is there for Ridley on the double move. Drive still ends in a TD, but man.. pic.twitter.com/Di6uYGnBGX— Allen Strk (@Allen_Strk) October 11, 2018
If Matt Ryan has time, and with the extra attention Julio Jones demands, Ridley has proven to be too talented not to take advantage of his opportunities. Expect a bounce-back performance against a tumultuous secondary on Sunday.
Mohamed Sanu - Start
Mohamed Sanu just keeps proving me wrong, week in and week out. I once again suggested to sit him on Sunday and what does he do? He has a better game than all of Atlanta’s other fantasy options and is praised as the team’s “fantasy stud” in my other weekly column.
Sanu’s on a hot streak, and I’m going to tell you to ride the hot hand. At least for this week, I’m not saying to bench number 12.
Austin Hooper - Start
I know, I’m telling you to start everyone here, but the Bucs defense is just that bad. Suggesting to start Hooper was the saving grace of last week’s disastrous article, especially in PPR leagues, as he torched the Steelers in the short passing game.
This week he gets another very favorable matchup against a Bucs team that’s tied with those Steelers for most fantasy points given up to opposing tight ends. This will be a game where everyone eats.
Matt Bryant - Start
Bryant had a solid game in Pittsburgh, converting two extra points and his lone field goal. He didn’t have as many opportunities as fantasy owners would’ve liked, but that should change this week.
The offense shouldn’t have a problem moving the ball up and down the field, and Bryant should find himself on the field more often. He’s missed just one kick all season — an extra point in Week 1 against the Eagles.
Atlanta Falcons D/ST - Sit
Jameis Winston owns a 12/2 TD/INT ratio in his career against the Falcons, and Grady Jarrett is looking like he won’t go again this week. Suggesting that you to sit the Falcons’ defense is a slam dunk at this point.