How about that? A win for a change! The Falcons put an end to their worst losing streak since 2015, and they put up 40 points in the process. Atlanta was officially eliminated from the playoffs with the Minnesota Vikings also winning this weekend, so this victory serves as a morale booster more than anything else.
We have a lot of great content analyzing the game here at The Falcoholic, but in this article, we’ll look at things strictly from a fantasy football perspective. Let’s look at Atlanta’s top fantasy performer and biggest fantasy disappointment from Week 15’s victory against the Arizona Cardinals.
Fantasy Stud/Dud 2018 History:
Past Studs: Matt Ryan (4), Julio Jones (3), Calvin Ridley (2), Mohamed Sanu (1), Giorgio Tavecchio (1), Matt Bryant (1), Austin Hooper (1)
Past Duds: Mohamed Sanu (3), Calvin Ridley (3), Atlanta D/ST (2), Austin Hooper (2), Tevin Coleman (2) Devonta Freeman (1)
Stud - Atlanta Falcons D/ST
Stats: 7 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, 1 touchdown, 14 points allowed, 253 yards allowed: 20.0 standard league/PPR points
This was finally the week where I advised fantasy owners to start the Falcons defense, and if you did that then you’re most likely sitting pretty in that fantasy semi-final matchup.
Atlanta’s defense feasted against a depleted Cardinals offensive line and inexperienced quarterback. After allowing a touchdown on Arizona’s first drive of the game, the Falcons clamped down and started overwhelming Josh Rosen with pressure on almost every drop-back. Deion Jones took an interception back for a touchdown on the second drive, and it was all systems go after that.
The seven sacks recorded was a season high for the Falcons, as were the two interceptions. Jones’ pick-six was also the second defensive touchdown of the year. As a result, Atlanta’s defense was the highest scoring fantasy defense in Week 15.
Austin Hooper: 0 catches, 0 yards: 0.0 standard league/PPR points
This is the easiest dud I’ve ever had to decide on — Austin Hooper provided literally nothing for fantasy owners who rolled the dice on the No. 6 scoring tight end coming into Week 15.
The Cardinals are one of the stingiest defenses when it comes to fantasy points allowed to opposing TEs (which is why I made the Stanford product a “sit” in this week’s start/sit column), but to get absolutely nothing out of Hooper was still unexpected and underwhelming. He drew one solitary target in a game where the offense put up 33 points.
This game reinforces just how hit-or-miss Austin Hooper is in fantasy football. The difference between his very good outings and his dreadful ones is accurately deciphered by how good the opposing defense is at limiting fantasy points to the opposing TE. He’s the very definition of a matchup-dependent fantasy option.