Man, this season really sucks. Each week is accompanied by another loss — that’s five in a row, for those keeping count — and each loss just showcases how much players and fans alike have apparently surrendered on the season.
Things got ugly in a hurry in Lambeau Field this past weekend. After jumping out to a 7-0 lead, the Falcons were beaten down physically and psychologically. The Packers got out to a 34-7 lead before Atlanta scored some garbage time points to make it look closer than it really was.
Last week was hideous, but at least the column managed a bounce-back, going a respectable 6/8 in terms of how close the advice was to actual player performance.
Let’s continue fighting our way through the rest of this season and through the fantasy playoffs.
Matt Ryan - Sit
For the first time since Week 1, I’m telling you to keep Matt Ryan on your bench. With how hard I’ve beaten the drum for Ryan this season, you know that there has to be a good reason for me to give the “sit” designation at this point.
As bad as the Arizona Cardinals have been as a unit this year, they’ve done an incredible job of stifling opposing quarterbacks — they allow the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs, and the 16 passing TDs they’ve allowed is also the third-fewest in the league.
Ryan is the QB3 in all of fantasy football this season, so I wouldn’t blame you if you started him, just temper expectations a little bit.
Tevin Coleman - Sit
Even against Arizona’a dreadful run defense (one which allows the fourth-most points to opposing fantasy RBs), Tevin Coleman can’t be trusted in any fantasy lineups at this point.
Ito Smith officially out-touched Coleman, 14-11, this past week while also out-gaining Teco 74-41 in yards from scrimmage. Smith also figures to get the goal-line work as the team’s short yardage back. Neither Smith nor Coleman warrant a start this weekend, due to the presence of one another.
Julio Jones - Start
Jones had his best fantasy stat line of the season this past game and was named Week 14’s “fantasy stud” as a result. Julio is racking up yardage at a rampant pace and is also scoring touchdowns now as well — he’s tallied five touchdowns in the past six games after being held scoreless in the team’s first seven games of the season.
Jones is a top five fantasy WR in this year. Telling you to start him is a layup.
Calvin Ridley - Sit
Ridley has put up four games of less than 4.0 fantasy points in the past five weeks. Arizona is also one of the ten stingiest defenses in the league against opposing fantasy WRs. Julio will get his, and I don’t think that there will be enough left over for any other WR to prosper.
Mohamed Sanu - Sit
See: Calvin Ridley. Sanu has put up one starter-worthy flex performance (defined as 6.0 fantasy points or more) in the past seven games. Good luck to you if you have to rely on Sanu in your fantasy lineup in the heat of this year’s playoffs.
Austin Hooper - Sit
Hooper is the TE7 in all of fantasy football this year, but he’s been very hit-or-miss based on how favorable his matchup is, and it’s not favorable this week. The Cardinals give up, on average, the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing TEs.
Tight end is a very shallow position, so if you must start Hooper then it’s understandable. However, if you do start him, temper expectations.
Matt Bryant - Start
Bryant had a rough afternoon in Lambeau — missing his first field goal, and second extra point, of the season. However, that missed field goal was from 53 yards out in below freezing temperatures.
The Cardinals are a middle-of-the-pack team against opposing fantasy kickers, and I think that this will be a game where the Falcons offense manages to move the ball before getting bogged down in field goal range (similar to the game against Dallas’ excellent defense earlier this season). When that happens, the Baylor alum will get to kick in the comfortable conditions of Mercedez-Benz Stadium.
Bryant betrayed our trust this past week, but give him another chance.
Atlanta Falcons D/ST - Start
For the first time since Week 1, I’m advocating for you to start the Falcons’ defense. Deion Jones is back and settled in, and opposing defenses score the second-most fantasy points against Arizona’s terrible offense.
Josh Rosen is a rookie, prone to many a mistake, while the Cardinals are also missing plenty of starting offensive lineman. If there was ever a week to start the Falcons defense this season, this is it.