Man, this season has become unbearable out of nowhere, hasn’t it? After a dominating win in Washington to move to 4-4 and to get on the prowl for a Wild Card spot, the Falcons have let us all down by losing three in a row.
A Thanksgiving embarrassment in New Orleans was most likely the final nail in the coffin closing on Atlanta’s playoff hopes.
The offense was plagued by poor blocking from the big men up front and by red zone fumbles (three of them, to be exact). The column still went a solid 6/8 in terms of how close the advice was to actual player performance.
Let’s see how we can do this week.
Matt Ryan - Start
Despite going face-to-face with Cam Jordan on almost every drop back after Ryan Schraeder turned into a turnstile last Thursday, Matt Ryan still managed to put up 377 passing yards and a couple of touchdowns. This game showcased just how strong Ryan’s fantasy floor is when things don’t go right.
The Ravens give up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, but Ryan has proven to be prolific enough to overcome good defenses, especially at home. Fire him up as a QB1 per usual.
Tevin Coleman - Sit
Tevin Coleman got absolutely nothing going against the Saints’ stout run defense on Thanksgiving night. He turned eight carries into six rushing yards and currently leads the league in rushes that go for negative yardage.
This week, Teco gets a matchup against a Ravens defense that’s given up the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Coleman always has the potential to come away with a touchdown (he’s scored in six out of 11 games this year), but the consistency just hasn’t been there.
If you’re struggling at RB due to injuries or a lack of depth, then you could do worse than Coleman, who gets a high volume of touches, but expectations should be seriously tempered.
Julio Jones - Start
Julio currently leads the league in receiving yards by a lot — his 1,305 yards is 167 more than what second-placed Adam Thielen has. Jones needs to average 140 yards per game for the rest of the season to become the first player to ever achieve 2000 receiving yards in a single season.
What I’m saying here is that Julio Jones is really good and should be in your starting lineup every week.
Calvin Ridley - Start
Putting Ridley as a start is a roll of a dice in trusting that the rookie has developed enough of a rapport with Matt Ryan to overcome a bad matchup.
The Ravens defense is the third-stingiest in the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing WRs, but Ridley is coming off of a game in New Orleans where he put up 93 yards and a touchdown against Marshon Lattimore.
If the Ravens employ a similar tactic that the Saints did — double-covering Julio and leaving Ridley on an island with someone — then I trust the 26th overall pick to burn Baltimore. He’s earned my trust as a start this week.
Mohamed Sanu - Sit
I’ll keep this one short and to the point — the Ravens are really good at limiting opposing fantasy WRs (as I just noted under Ridley’s column), so Sanu shouldn’t be in your starting lineup. Julio is Julio and Ridley gets enough volume and trust to possibly overcome it. Sanu, not so much.
Austin Hooper - Start
Hooper had a bad game against a Saints defense that gives up next to nothing against opposing tight ends (and he was a “sit” last week), but he’ll face a Ravens teams that’s a bit more generous against the position on Sunday.
The Ravens are a middle-of-the-pack team when it comes to fantasy points allowed to opposing TEs, but with how much focus will be put on limiting the outside receivers, Hooper should find himself in light enough coverage to do some damage.
Matt Bryant/Giorgio Tavecchio - Start
Bryant hit on his only field goal and extra point attempts on Thanksgiving Night. The volume wasn’t there for him, but that’s mostly due to the fact that the Falcons fumbled the ball three times while in field goal range — that’s an anomaly that likely won’t be repeated.
Atlanta’s offense is incredibly prolific, especially at home. They should be able to successfully move the ball against anyone, and that’ll result in opportunities for either Bryant or Tavecchio, both of whom have been automatic this season.
With Bryant missing practice on both Wednesday and Thursday we don’t know exactly who will handle kicking duties this Sunday, but it doesn’t really matter.
Atlanta Falcons D/ST - Sit
Deion Jones could return this week, but it’s still hard to advocate starting the Falcons defense. The problem is that there’s no pass rush, and Debo may not help much in that department.
Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards will possibly run all over this defense, and that won’t be a pretty sight.