Well, that was a pretty rough week last week. In a game which the Falcons should have easily won, a few of the players underestimated the Cleveland Browns and the Birds were left to lick their wounds as a result.
The offense struggled to get things going all afternoon in Cleveland and the result was a very poor 4/8 for last week’s column in terms of how close the advice was to actual player performance.
Let’s do much better this week:
Matt Ryan - Start
Telling you to start Matt Ryan from Week 2 on this season has become an absolute layup. Even when the offense sputters, like it did in Cleveland, Ryan generally throws for enough yards late in the game to salvage what would normally be a disappointing fantasy performance for most other QBs.
The Cowboys are a middle of the pack team in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs but the fact that this game is being played at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium gives Matt Ryan a boost — he has a TD/INT ratio of 14/1 at the Benz this season.
Tevin Coleman - Start
Coleman didn’t have the best game against the Browns last week but he’s still getting too many touches to consider benching him. He’s also enough of a threat in the receiving game to keep his floor high enough to warrant a start even if he doesn’t play up to expectations.
The Cowboys boast one of the 10 stingiest units in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs but will be without star LB Sean Lee for this one, making that defense a bit more susceptible.
Julio Jones - Start
While the offense as a whole had issues in the last game, Julio Jones continued do do his thing — he racked up over 100 receiving yards and scored his second TD in as many games.
Julio is currently the only WR in the NFL to have over 1000 receiving yards, he’s a WR1 in all formats and should be treated as such.
Calvin Ridley - Sit
Ridley faces the team that many thought would draft him before he ultimately ended up falling into Atlanta’s lap at pick 26. Putting him on the “sit” list this week is by no means a knock on his ability, but rather a show of respect for the stifling defense he’ll have to face.
The Cowboys boast the league’s second stingiest defense when it comes to fantasy points allowed to opposing WRs. Julio Jones will get his, and with how good Dallas is at stopping wideouts, there may not be enough fantasy points left over to give Ridley a productive stat-line. If you don’t have a better option on your bench then start Ridley, but tamper expectations if you do.
Mohamed Sanu - Sit
Sanu had maybe the worst day among all of Atlanta’s offense players last week, as his third-quarter fumble went a long way in losing the Falcons that game. His prospects this week against a better defense don’t look so promising.
As mentioned, the Cowboys just don’t give up many points to opposing WRs so it would be a good idea to leave Sanu on your bench this week. Beyond that, the Rutgers man has registered three straight weeks of poor fantasy performances following his hot four-week stretch right before that. Momentum isn’t carrying Sanu the way it was earlier this year.
Austin Hooper - Start
If the Cowboys are good at shutting down opposing WRs and if Matt Ryan is to have another good game at home, then it’ll be Austin Hooper who will be the primary beneficiary.
Hooper has stepped up this season and has earned Ryan’s trust as a reliable safety blanket over the middle of the field, in the way that Tony Gonzalez used to be. He caught 10 passes last week, including one which went for a touchdown, and looks to be on the upswing. You could do a lot worse at the TE position than Austin Hooper this weekend.
Matt Bryant/Giorgio Tavecchio
You know the drill here, Atlanta’s offense is prolific enough to where its kicker will always warrant a start. Tavecchio only attempted one FG and one extra point last week, but that’s more of an anomaly than the norm.
With Atlanta’s offense expected to get back on track, whoever starts at kicker should be in starting lineup within every single fantasy league.
Atlanta Falcons D/ST
Even with Deion Jones potentially returning, this defensive unit still isn’t dependable for fantasy purposes. The lack of a pass rush is what really hurts as well as the subpar performances from starting CBs Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford.
Leave the Falcons defense off your roster against a Dallas Cowboys team that doesn’t give the ball away very much (just 10 giveaways this season has them among the NFL’s top 10 in taking care of the ball).