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Atlanta Falcons fantasy stud/dud from week 1

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Atlanta’s two biggest fantasy stars, on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

In a carbon copy of last season’s Divisional Round playoff game, The Atlanta Falcons’ defense stepped up, the offense sputtered, then marched down the field and ultimately came up a few yards short.

We have a lot of fantastic 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 1’s defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Stud - Julio Jones

Stat line: 10 catches, 169 receiving yards, 1 carry, 11 rushing yards: 18.0 standard league points, 28.0 PPR points

Julio Jones looked like the elite wide receiver we’ve all grown accustomed to watching in this one. He was consistently tearing the Eagles’ defense to shreds, whether they were in man coverage, zone coverage, or giving him extra attention.

The 169 receiving yards he accounted for is more than what he had in any game last season, outside of the 253-yard explosion against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a game-winner in PPR (points per reception) leagues especially, demanding Matt Ryan’s attention early and often. The only thing missing was a touchdown, and he was just a few feet away from that as well, at the end of the game.

Had the refs not robbed Jones of a 52-yard catch in the third quarter, he would have gone over 200 yards receiving for the fourth time in his career, and would have totaled over 30 PPR points.

At least as far as game one is concerned, Julio Jones gave you a nice return on the first or second round investment you made in him in your fantasy draft. And if you managed to somehow get him after the second round, then you’re in a league full of people who don’t know what they’re doing.

Dud

Devonta Freeman: 6 carries, 36 rushing yards, 3 catches, 14 receiving yards: 5.0 standard league points, 8.0 PPR points

Just like in the playoff game against the same opponent, Devonta Freeman was rendered almost entirely ineffective. I slotted Freeman into the “start” column in my start/sit article leading up to this game, and him proving me wrong ended up being the only mistake in that article.

Things looked so promising on the first drive of this game — Freeman rattled off a 20-yard run to begin the night, and the Falcons marched to the Eagles’ 1-yard line. Everything went downhill from there, however, as the starting running back was repeatedly stuffed at the goal line to the point where Atlanta turned it over on downs.

The poor stats put up in both the rushing and receiving column have owners who took Freeman in the second or third round hurting in their week 1 matchup. I’m not expecting to write Freeman’s name in this column often, however, as this week 1 game is most likely just an anomaly as a result of a stout Eagles defensive line.