The Falcons went into San Francisco for what was the most important game for them since the 2017 NFC Divisional Round and they absolutely laid an egg. The defense was sliced through easily and the offense managed a meager 13 points.
To make things worse, this was the first week of the fantasy football playoffs for most leagues. There are not many Falcons who would even be worth taking a look at in starting lineups, and those who did trust any Falcons (except for a couple) were left disappointed.
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 pure statistics). Here are Atlanta’s fantasy stud and fantasy dud from Week 15’s defeat against the San Francisco 49ers.
Fantasy Stud/Dud 2021 History:
Past Studs: Cordarrelle Patterson (6), Kyle Pitts (3), Younghoe Koo (1), Matt Ryan (1), Russell Gage (1) Nobody (1)
Past Duds: Matt Ryan (5), Mike Davis (3), Kyle Pitts (3), Younghoe Koo (1), Olamide Zaccheaus (1)
Stud: Russell Gage
Stat Line: 8 catches, 91 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown: 15.10 standard league points; 23.10 PPR points
Russell Gage was started in 19.7% of NFL.com fantasy leagues this week and he made managers who pulled the trigger on putting him in their lineups look very smart. Operating as Matt Ryan’s favorite target, seeing a team high 11 passes thrown his way, Gage led the team in receptions, yardage and he scored Atlanta’s only touchdown. That came on a magnificent leaping catch where he absolutely Mossed San Francisco’s Ambry Thomas on a one on one jump ball.
Heading into the Monday and Tuesday games (remember, there are four games after Sunday this week, as opposed the traditional one), Gage is currently this week’s overall WR6 in PPR leagues and WR8 in standard leagues. He has stepped into Calvin Ridley’s vacated role of Atlanta’s WR1, and his connection with Matt Ryan has gotten stronger and stronger as the season has gone along.
Gage is on a bit of a hot streak, and he’s doing it at the best possible time for fantasy owners — he’s either recorded 100 receiving yards or scored a touchdown in three of the past four games, and he’s a sneaky good flex play against the Detroit Lions next week.
Cordarrelle Patterson: 11 carries, 18 rushing yards, 2 catches, 5 receiving yards: 2.30 standard league points; 4.30 PPR points
It hurts me to write Patterson’s name in this section of the article after I had grown so accustomed to writing it in the “stud” category just a little higher up (he’s been the fantasy stud a team high six times), but in the first week of the fantasy playoffs CP84 just had his worst fantasy output of the season (this includes the game against Dallas, where he did not finish out the first half due to injury).
Patterson was this year’s best waiver wire pickup and he helped get many teams into their playoffs, but he certainly did not help anyone get into the second round of those playoffs. As of the conclusion of Sunday’s games, No. 84 was this week’s RB41 in PPR leagues. I will acknowledge that fellow running back Mike Davis scored fewer points, but Cordarrelle burned many more fantasy teams this week (he was started in 97.9% of NFL.com leagues while Davis was started in 20.7%).
It was an unfortunate day which looked so promising on the first drive — Patterson punched in Atlanta’s opening drive following a fumble recover on the initial kickoff, but that ruling was reversed. I still don’t know how officials reversed the call given the inconclusive camera angles, but the points were taken off the board and the lanes were never opened up for either RB throughout the afternoon.
If you did survive Patterson’s dud, you should still start him against the Lions, who offer a much more generous defense than San Francisco. The touches are there, and this feels more like an anomaly performance than anything else for CP. It’s just a shame that it happened to come in the fantasy playoffs.