The 2019 Atlanta Falcons are an enigma. The same team that made Marcus Mariota look like a Pro Bowl quarterback before he was benched two weeks later destroyed the Saints at the Superdome. This is the same team that lost to the Arizona Cardinals but went up to Santa Clara and beat the number one seeded San Francisco 49ers.
The Falcons seem to be clicking after the bye week, with a 4-2 record to show for it. The fantasy performances were hit or miss in the semi-finals of fantasy season.
There is a lot of great content available here at the Falcoholic, and I encourage you to check it out if you want some in-depth analysis. This article will look at things strictly from a fantasy football perspective (that means looking at nothing other than purely statistics). Here are Atlanta’s fantasy stud and fantasy dud from Week 15’s victory against the San Francisco 49ers.
Fantasy Stud/Dud 2019 History:
Past Studs: Austin Hooper (3), Julio Jones (2), Younghoe Koo (2), Matt Ryan (2), Calvin Ridley (2), Atlanta Falcons D/ST (1), Russell Gage (1)
Past Duds: Calvin Ridley (3), Matt Ryan (3) Devonta Freeman (1), Mohamed Sanu (1), Julio Jones (1), Mohamed Sanu (1), Matt Bryant (1), Brian Hill (1), Austin Hooper (1)
Fantasy Stud - Julio Jones
Stat Line - 13 catches, 134 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns: 25.40 standard league points; 38.40 PPR points
Simply put, Julio Jones was Atlanta’s offense in this game. The best wide receiver in football was targeted a gargantuan 20 times, which represented more than half of Matt Ryan’s total target distribution (20 out of 39 targets). He went toe to toe with George Kittle on the other side (13 catches, 134 receiving yards, 17 out of 33 of Garoppolo’s targets).
Jones broke a nearly three month long scoring draught in the second quarter of this game, as he was fed the ball all afternoon long. He scored a second touchdown with five seconds remaining to win the game for the Falcons and to win a number of fantasy matchups in the process.
Jones was especially prolific in PPR leagues thanks to his 13 receptions, which matched a career-high. He was the WR1 in all of fantasy football this week — putting up his best performance in the most crucial of fantasy weeks.
I don’t need to tell you that Jones must be locked in as your WR1 for championship weekend (whether that’s Week 16 or Week 17 for your league).
Austin Hooper - 3 catches, 20 receiving yards: 2.0 standard league points; 5.0 PPR points
It was another rough afternoon for Hooper, who was the overall TE1 in all of fantasy football before his injury. In two games since coming back from said injury, Hooper has recorded a combined five receptions for 52 receiving yards and no touchdowns. With how shallow the position is, many fantasy owners were counting on Hooper to deliver a big performance in the playoffs.
The Stanford alum came so close to scoring the game-winning touchdown on second-and-goal in the late stages of the fourth quarter, even being ruled to have scored before replay overturned the call. That set the stage for Julio to deliver his second touchdown one play later.
It’s difficult to move away from Hooper with how bad the TE position is in fantasy football, especially with Calvin Ridley out for the remainder of the season. Unless you have a dynamite TE option ahead of Hooper (like Kittle or Travis Kelce), I’d advise trusting him in your championship game.