Welcome to the season. Each week, I will highlight one standout performer from the Falcons, and one player who put up a disappointing stat line, specifically looking at things from a fantasy football perspective.
This series started last season, and was tracked through Week 16 (championship week for a vast majority of fantasy leagues). This year, I hope to replicate that.
Now, let’s get into it. Let’s look at Atlanta’s top fantasy performer and biggest fantasy disappointment from Week 1’s horrible defeat against the Minnesota Vikings.
Fantasy Stud/Dud 2018 History:
Past Studs: Matt Ryan (4), Julio Jones (3), Calvin Ridley (2), Mohamed Sanu (2), Giorgio Tavecchio (1), Matt Bryant (1), Austin Hooper (1), Atlanta D/ST (1)
Past Duds: Austin Hooper (4), Mohamed Sanu (3), Calvin Ridley (3), Atlanta D/ST (2), Tevin Coleman (2) Devonta Freeman (1)
Fantasy Stud - Calvin Ridley
Stat Line - 4 catches, 64 receiving yards, 1 touchdown: 12.4 standard league points, 16.4 PPR points
I had some trouble finding a player to slot into the “stud” category after the first three quarters of that game, where the Falcons scored a grand total of 0 points. Fourth quarter garbage time saved some points, especially if you had one of the Falcons’ two primary pass catchers on your roster (or both of them).
Calvin Ridley ended up being the clear choice this week — catching four of his six targets, finishing second on the team with a respectable 64 receiving yards, and scoring a touchdown. Ridley’s fantasy day would have been even more fruitful as he was in line to catch a touchdown pass in the third quarter but was interfered with.
In Atlanta’s prolific offense, Ridley offers some very good WR2 upside in any given week. While Julio Jones demands more targets (he had a team-leading 11 today), Ridley still benefits from the added coverage Jones demands as well.
Devonta Freeman: 8 carries, 19 rushing yards, 3 catches, 12 receiving yards, 1 fumble: 1.1 standard league points, 4.1 PPR points
Freeman picked up right where he left off from last season, disappointing fantasy owners who spent a high draft pick on him.
Freeman was awful today, in real life in and in fantasy as an extension. In fairness, the Florida State alum was running behind an outmatched offensive line today, but he still did nothing in his opportunities as both a runner and a receiver. Backup Ito Smith also looked a lot better running behind that same offensive line.
To make matters worse, he had a crucial fumble in the second quarter which stalled out an important drive for the Falcons, and which lost fantasy points for his owners. In the end, Freeman recorded less than two points in standard leagues, which is a killer for those who slotted him into their lineups.
Freeman should be fine moving forward, as he won’t have to face off against run defenses as good as Minnesota’s, but it was a disappointing beginning to his fantasy campaign.