When I was writing this column last season, I had hope that the Falcons would be putting together a bounce-back season after going 7-9 in both 2018 and 2019, but alas this campaign was over before it started thanks to an insurmountable 0-5 record to kick things off.
Fans who relied on the Falcons for some joy in the crazy year we just had were left starved and disappointed (again). Fantasy football managers who relied on Falcons players for their success hopefully fared a lot better.
Each season, I put together a weekly column looking at a Falcons player who was a fantasy football standout and one was a fantasy football disappointment. This is the culmination of year three of that article series, looking back at our season long standout and season long disappointment in the realm of fantasy football.
Please remember that this article looks strictly at the fantasy football numbers and isn’t a specific evaluation of real life play.
Fantasy Stud/Dud 2020 History:
Past Duds: Matt Ryan (3), Calvin Ridley (2), Russell Gage (2), Brian Hill (2), Younghoe Koo (2), Todd Gurley (2) Hayden Hurst, Julio Jones
Yearly Fantasy Stud/Dud History:
Past Studs: Matt Ryan, Austin Hooper
Past Duds: Devonta Freeman, Mohamed Sanu
Season Stud - Calvin Ridley
Stat Line - 90 catches, 1,374 receiving yards, 9 receiving touchdowns, 1 rushing yard, 1 2-point conversion, 1 fumble lost: 191.50 standard league points; 281.50 PPR points
Calvin Ridley was the trendy pick to be this year’s version of Chris Godwin and to break out in a big way among wide receivers, and he fully delivered upon those expectations. Taken at an ADP in the 4th round, Ridley delivered a top 5 finish in both PPR and standard league formats.
Not having topped the 1,000-yard plateau in either of his first two seasons, the Alabama alum blew past that mark and he did so thanks to durability (only missing one game this season) and a jump in production that you hope for out of a third-year wide receiver.
Julio Jones missing so much time gave Ridley the opportunity to run with the WR1 role on the team and he finished in the top 5 in receiving yards and in the top 10 in receiving touchdowns. Moving forward, it’s fair to assume that Ridley will continue to improve while Jones’ durability will be questioned.
Just like with Godwin this year, if you want Ridley’s services on your fantasy team in 2021 you will likely have to invest a 2nd round draft pick. Hopefully he enjoys a better follow-up year than what we saw from Godwin this season.
Season Dud - Julio Jones
Stat Line - 51 catches, 771 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns: 95.1 standard league points; 146.10 PPR points
I’m not questioning Julio’s talent or value to the team — remember this article is strictly fantasy football based. That being said, injuries are a part of the game, and if a player is unavailable then obviously he’s not of much use to the fantasy managers relying on him.
Jones was taken with an ADP in the 2nd round and he finished outside of the top 50 in PPR scoring, behind the likes of Darnell Mooney, Laviska Shenault Jr. and Russell Gage. He missed seven games and left two other contests early due to a hamstring issue which lingered all season. Father time is undefeated and he dealt a strong punch to Jones in the Alabama man’s age-31 season.
In the games where he did see the field, Julio had as many sub-40-yard games as he did 100-yard games. His NFL-record streak of 1,300-yard receiving seasons was halted at six as he did not come close to that figure this year.
Due to name value and hope for durability, Jones will be a very risky pick in fantasy football in 2021. The injuries and breakout of Calvin Ridley will offer him at an ADP discount, but I’d be weary of spending a premium pick on Number 11 next season.