Another week, another 30+ performance by the offense, somehow yet another loss. This offense may be for real, though, and a lot of fantasy games are being won even if it’s not translating into real life wins.
Last week’s start/sit column was pretty average, hitting at a 62.5% mark. The column went 5/8 in regards to how close the suggestions were to actual player performance. The goal, however, is to always go at least 6/8 or 7/9 on suggestions.
Atlanta is poised to be involved in yet another shootout this week, against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s a game featuring two explosive offenses, awful defenses, and one which neither side can afford to lose.
Get ready to slot some Falcons into your starting fantasy lineup.
Matt Ryan - Start
We’ve seen not only shades of 2016 Matt Ryan in the former MVP’s performance the past three weeks, but something more along the lines of a total eclipse. Editor’s note: Possibly of the heart.
Ryan is currently the QB2 in all of fantasy football at the season’s quarter-mark. He’s second in the NFL in total touchdowns scored, behind only Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (the QB1).
The Steelers have given up the third most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season, making Matt Ryan not only a must-start but maybe the best QB option in all of fantasy football this weekend.
Devonta Freeman - Start
The offense will see starting running back Devonta Freeman make his return, after suffering a Week 1 knee injury. Tevin Coleman has underwhelmed as the team’s bell-cow RB in Freeman’s absence the past two weeks — recording just 88 rushing yards on 29 carries in those games combined.
Don’t expect Freeman to come back to a full load of touches, however, as he’ll likely be on a snap count. But with how well the offense has played lately, there should be plenty of red zone opportunity for the Florida State alum.
The Steelers aren’t kind to opposing RBs, giving up the third fewest amount of fantasy points to the position in 2018, so you shouldn’t look at Freeman as anything more than a Flex option this week.
Tevin Coleman - Start
I know I just talked about how much Coleman has underperformed and how stifling the Steelers are against opposing running backs, but Teco’s opportunity within this offense this week can’t be denied.
Coleman should still see a healthy amount of touches with Freeman on a snap count. With how well this offense has been moving and the potential for him to be given some goal-line looks, Coleman makes for an intriguing option in your fantasy lineup.
Just like with Freeman, consider Coleman more of a Flex option this week.
Julio Jones - Start
You’re not benching the league leader in receiving yards. Moving on.
Calvin Ridley - Start
You’re not benching the league leader in receiving touchdowns. Moving on.
Mohamed Sanu - Sit
There is no exact science to this fantasy football thing. You can delve into all of the analytics you’d like, look at all of the matchups and circumstances, and then still be incorrect because there’s an element of randomness to this.
Mohamed Sanu has proven me wrong in my advice to sit him in back to back weeks. The 111 receiving yards he had against the Bengals was the most he’s ever had as a member of the Falcons, and the most he’s had in one game since the 2014 season.
This week, the Falcons face a Steelers team which is very generous to opposing fantasy wide receivers and tight ends. I don’t think Sanu can keep putting up starter-worthy numbers with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley dominating the looks, and Austin Hooper poised for a hospitable matchup.
Just to note, I’d love it if Sanu kept proving me wrong on this, because that would be excellent for the team in real life.
Austin Hooper - Start
That element of randomness I just talked about in the Sanu section applies to Austin Hooper as well. In what should’ve been a favorable matchup against the Bengals, Hooper totaled just 19 yards on one catch. Granted, he should have had a late fourth-quarter touchdown, but “should haves” don’t count as points.
All you can do is continue to play the matchups, however. This week, Hooper gets a juicy one against a Pittsburgh team which has yielded the most fantasy points against to opposing TEs thus far in 2018. Feel free to start Hooper based on the matchup this week.
Matt Bryant - Start
The Falcons’ kicker got more opportunity in Week 4 than he had the previous week, because the Falcons finally stalled in the red zone. Bryant was perfect in kicking four extra points and two field goals.
With how prolific the offense is, Bryant will continue to get plenty of opportunities this season. And, as we saw this past week, the Birds won’t always score a touchdown when they get into the red zone, no team will.
Bryant is a “set it and forget it” option in your lineup — you can slot him in with your starters and then not worry about the kicker position at all until Atlanta’s Week 8 bye.
Atlanta Falcons D/ST - Sit
If you gave me the option between starting the Falcons’ defense this week or starting no defense I’d legitimately go with no defense. With no Grady Jarrett, and facing a prolific Steeler offense, the Atlanta defense looks poised for negative points this week.