Hey Falcoholics! It’s time to talk fantasy football. Last week, the Atlanta Falcons fell to 0-5 for the first time since 1997 as they lost against the Carolina Panthers. This week the team is traveling north to take on the Minnesota Vikings.
Before we look at this weekend’s game against the Vikings, let’s review week 4. Last week I said “Todd Gurley should continue to produce as the Panthers are currently allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing running backs, allowing 5.1 yards per attempt. The Panthers pass defense has been relatively stingy this season, so a smart gameplan for the Falcons would be to use Gurley early and often.” That assumption certainly came true, as Gurley became the first Falcons’ running back to rush for 100+ yards in a game since Brian Hill in week 16 of the 2018 season against the Panthers.
Although it was only on 14 carries, Gurley still had his best fantasy day of the 2020 season. He’s also trending in the right direction as over the last three games, Gurley’s fantasy points have been 15.2, 19.3 and 25.
Falcons vs. Vikings
While on the subject of Gurley, I would expect some regression to the mean here. Although the Vikings defense isn’t nearly as good as in past years, they still have an average run defense. I think Gurley will have a 15 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown type of day, which would be great for those that roster him.
After dropping a goose egg against the Green Bay Packers in week 4, Calvin Ridley bounced back against the very good Panthers secondary that is the 5th toughest against opposing wide receivers. Ridley had 8 receptions for 136 yards, and this week he faces a Vikings pass defense that is the 6th worst against opposing wide receivers. If you have Ridley, you’re starting him.
The biggest letdown fantasy-wise on the Falcons this year is arguably tight end Hayden Hurst. I thought Hurst had the potential to be a top-8 tight end and he most recently had 2 receptions for 8 yards against the Panthers. The production just hasn’t been there as Matt Ryan has been utilizing his wide receivers more than in recent years. You’re probably still starting him because there’s not a lot of replacements out there, but I would lower expectations for now.
Looking at players currently available in 50% or more fantasy leagues, how about Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins is available in 63% of fantasy leagues and is facing a Falcons’ pass defense which has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Through the first five games, the Falcons defense has allowed 15 passing touchdowns and 8.4 yards per throw.
This isn’t specifically for this weekend, but with Le’Veon Bell being released and Frank Gore being older, New York Jets running back La’Michael Perine is worth adding, especially in dynasty-format leagues. He’s their best running back, it’s just a question of will Adam Gase use him. Finally, somehow Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams is still available in 55% of leagues. Williams is definitely benefiting from rookie Justin Herbert being at quarterback, and although they’re on a bye this week, he’s worth adding now.
Well that does it, folks. I wish everyone who took the time to read this the best of luck in their Week 6 fantasy matchups. Every week I’ll be doing a fantasy football preview, so send me some questions before every Thursday and I’ll answer them here. You can ask in the comments below or on Twitter at @EvanBirchfield.