Okay, wow. Just when you think the season can’t get any worse, a game like Sunday’s against the Ravens happens. That stinker marked the team’s fourth straight defeat, and the Falcons looked visibly defeated and uninterested in the process of it.
The Ravens came into the game with maybe the best defense in the league, but nobody could predict that the Falcons would put up just 131 yards of total offense. It was the team’s lowest offensive output in years.
Needless to say, the column suffered as a result, going a season-worst 3/8 in terms of how close the advice was to actual player performance. This included season stalwart’s such as Matt Ryan and Julio Jones each putting up their worst numbers of the season.
Let’s bounce back in the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
Matt Ryan - Start
As mentioned, Ryan was dreadful on Sunday — throwing for a season-low 131 passing yards and just one touchdown pass. He was the victim of more shoddy offensive line play and plenty of drops from his WRs. However, every QB not named Patrick Mahomes has a bad fantasy day here and there.
The Falcons will be playing in frigid conditions in Green Bay this weekend, but Ryan should be in for a good statistical afternoon in what could become a shootout against Aaron Rodgers, especially since Atlanta will have to pass with no run game to speak of.
Don’t expect a repeat of what we saw on Sunday from Ryan, especially against a banged up and broken down Packer secondary.
Tevin Coleman - Sit
At this point, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re slotting Coleman into your starting lineup at all. He’s the team’s starting running back but his production has fallen off a cliff — Teco totaled just 11 yards from scrimmage on Sunday, and he’s turned 14 carries into just 14 rushing yards in the past two games combined.
The Falcons recognize this drop in production and have reacted to it as any team would — by gradually cutting down Coleman’s touches.
Tevin Coleman's touch count since #Falcons Week 8 bye: 18 > 14 > 11 > 11 > 9— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) December 6, 2018
The poor offensive line work does come into play here, but when backup RB Ito Smith is taking the same amount of touches and producing twice the yardage (as he did against the Ravens on Sunday), then some serious questions must be asked.
Julio Jones - Start
Jones had only 18 yards on Sunday, the lowest output he’s had in a game since Week 3 of 2016. However, even with that terrible game plugged into his season, Julio still leads the league in receiving yards by over 100.
That cold 2014 Monday Night Football game was the last time the Falcons played in Green Bay, and Julio Jones put up 259 receiving yards in that one. I wouldn’t expect a repeat of that explosion, but Jones should bounce back and put up some healthy numbers this weekend.
Calvin Ridley - Start
Ridley also put up some below average statistics against the Ravens, but that Baltimore unit was a much tougher defense than what he’ll face in Wisconsin — the Packers give up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing WRs.
With CBs Kevin King and Ibraheim Campbell placed on IR earlier this week, and Bashaud Breeland coming off of an injury, Ridley should get plenty of opportunity to feast against a banged up Packer secondary.
Mohamed Sanu - Sit
Sanu’s production, much like Coleman’s, has also been lackluster as of late — he has just one start-worthy performance (which I define as 6.0 points or more in standard leagues for a flex player) in the past six games. He also hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 6.
You don’t want to be relying on Sanu getting you numbers in your fantasy playoff matchup.
Austin Hooper - Sit
Hooper was maybe the only fantasy-relevant Falcons player who didn’t disappoint on Sunday, putting up a team-high 44 receiving yards and Atlanta’s lone offensive touchdown of the game. As a result, he was named last week’s fantasy stud.
The Ravens defense shuts down a lot of positions, but tight end isn’t one of them. The Packers are a different beast entirely, however — they give up the third-fewest points to opposing fantasy TEs.
Hooper has been a TE1 this season, registering the seventh-most points scored among TEs this season in standard leagues. However, all of his good performances have come in favorable matchups, and that’s not what he’s getting this Sunday.
Matt Bryant - Start
Once again, through no fault of his own, Matt Bryant had a second straight poor fantasy outing despite converting on all of his kicks. Bryant is completely dependent on the Falcons’ offense moving the ball (as is every kicker with their offense) and that just hasn’t happened the past two games.
With Green Bay trotting out a beat-up secondary, however, that should change this weekend. Bryant should get more opportunities for field goals and extra points than he’s had in the past two games combined.
I wouldn’t worry too much about him kicking in poor conditions, either, as the money man has failed to convert just one kick all season (and that was in Week 1)
Atlanta Falcons D/ST - Sit
I’ve gotta hand it to the Falcons’ defense — Deion Jones returned and they had their first start-worthy performance since Week 1. The defense put up double digit fantasy points for the first time all season, and scored a defensive TD for the first time all year, as well.
However, Aaron Rodgers is a much more formidable foe than Lamar Jackson, especially when playing in Lambeau Field. Maybe we can give the Falcons’ defense a look against the Cardinals next week, but it’s best to avoid them this Sunday.