The Atlanta Falcons are finally coming off a win for the first time in three weeks, and that win was complete with some fantastic fantasy performances from almost everyone involved.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense was overmatched, giving up 34 well-balanced points to a Falcons offense which had almost everyone step up and deliver quality performances. This week, the Birds face another seemingly inept passing defense which should provide more feast than famine for fantasy purposes.
Last week’s start/sit column was one of the strongest yet, going 7/8 in terms of how close the advice was to actual player performance. It would’ve gone a perfect 8/8 had Calvin Ridley not gotten injured in the first half.
Let’s see if we can build on the momentum from last week.
Matt Ryan - Start
Matt Ryan is currently the QB2 in all of fantasy football — Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes is the only quarterback in the game to have scored more fantasy points than Mattie Ice at this point in the season.
This week, Ryan faces a middle-of-the-road Giants fantasy defense — one which has allowed the 14th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. It would be foolish not to ride the hot hand, especially with the game being played in Atlanta where Ryan has a TD/INT ratio of 13/1 this season.
Tevin Coleman - Start
With news that Devonta Freeman has gone on IR and will be out of the lineup until at least Week 16, Coleman becomes an every-week RB2 for the time being.
However, due to his recent ineffectiveness — 134 rushing yards on 46 carries since that Week 2 explosion — Coleman lost quite a few touches to Ito Smith last week. In fact, Smith had 13 touches, including one which went for the team’s lone rushing touchdown in the game, to Coleman’s 11 touches. Coleman managed to salvage his fantasy day with a late receiving touchdown.
Teco is still the team’s starter and the more trusted receiving option out of the backfield, but this is something worth monitoring closely. For the time being, Coleman is worth the start against a Giants defense which is bottom 10 in fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs this season.
Ito Smith - Start (if desperate)
Ito Smith has worked his way into the column with Devonta Freeman now sidelined indefinitely. The rookie out of Southern Miss has scored a rushing touchdown in three straight games and looks to be the team’s new preferred short-yardage option.
If you’re really hurting for a RB or a Flex option with this week’s slew of bye weeks, or from injuries, then feel free to roll the dice on Smith. But if you have a better option on your bench then sit Ito out this week.
Smith is a good looking rookie but he’s far too touchdown dependent to trust as a solid starter. He’s recorded only 31 yards from scrimmage in the past two games combined, so if he doesn’t find the end zone he’ll most likely be a dud in your lineup.
Julio Jones - Start
Jones still has yet to find the end zone this season, but he’s second in the league with 708 receiving yards. You don’t bench a player who puts up yardage at the rate Julio does.
Calvin Ridley - Sit
Calvin Ridley is nursing a bone bruise injury coming into this game. He may not be fully healthy in this one and there’s a decent chance that he’ll be rendered inactive on Monday Night. If that happens, it’ll be difficult to find an alternate player to slot into your lineup with all of the other Week 7 games having been played at that point.
Moreover, the Giants do a great job of stifling opposing fantasy WRs — they give up the second fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs this season. Julio Jones will get his, but will that leave room for a hobbled Calvin Ridley to generate points? I certainly hope so, but I wouldn’t risk it.
Mohamed Sanu - Sit
The same thing I just wrote about Ridley applies to Sanu as well. He’s also coming off of an injury, and may be a game-time decision where he could be ruled inactive, with very few alternatives being present for your lineup at that point in time.
Sanu has put up four starter-worthy fantasy performances in a row; he’s the hot hand and if he was fully healthy I’d most likely tell you to start him. The risk is just too great, however, and if Sanu can prove me wrong after I tell you to sit him once again, that’ll be good news for the Falcons.
Austin Hooper - Start
Hooper had another very good fantasy performance last week, and has really stepped up all season in general. This week, he may be one of Ryan’s favorite targets with Sanu and Ridley hobbled, or maybe even out completely.
Ride the hot hand with Hooper, even with the Giants’ defense being one of the 10 stingiest defenses against opposing fantasy TEs this season. The opportunity is there for the Stanford product to get a lot of looks from Matt Ryan on Monday Night.
Giorgio Tavecchio - Start
New Falcons kicker Giorgio Tavecchio will garner weekly start advice unless he starts failing to convert on a lot of kicks. The Falcons’ prolific offense provides ample opportunity for the team’s kicker to put up points, especially when playing at home.
The Giants also give up the second most fantasy points to opposing kickers this year, making Tavecchio a very worthy start in Week 7.
Atlanta Falcons D/ST - Sit
I don’t care how awful Eli Manning is, Saquon Barkley looks poised to tear this defense to shreds.