Once upon a time the known championship week for the vast majority of leagues, Week 16 is not where champions are crowned anymore, but rather where teams fight for the honor of getting into the finals. With the addition of the 17th regular season game, Week 16 has turned into the semi-final in most fantasy leagues.
For the Falcons, with this week came a juicy matchup against the ever generous Detroit Lions defense (well, ever generous to everyone coming into this game except Kylar Murray, apparently). It was a defense which some fantasy owners likely targeted. Unfortunately, most of the Falcons didn’t really come through at all.
Cordarrelle Patterson scored a touchdown to save him from having another catastrophic game in the fantasy playoffs, Younghoe Koo kicked two long field goals and converted both extra points, and Kyle Pitts had himself a day. Outside of that trio, every other fantasy relevant Falcon disappointed in fantasy leagues.
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 16’s victory against the Detroit Lions.
Fantasy Stud/Dud 2021 History:
Past Studs: Cordarrelle Patterson (6), Kyle Pitts (3), Russell Gage (2), Younghoe Koo (1), Matt Ryan (1), Nobody (1)
Past Duds: Matt Ryan (5), Mike Davis (3), Kyle Pitts (3), Younghoe Koo (1), Olamide Zaccheaus (1), Cordarrelle Patterson (1)
Stud: Kyle Pitts
Stat Line: 6 catches, 102 receiving yards: 10.2 standard league points; 16.2 PPR points
Kyle Pitts has had a really good season for a rookie tight end. Barring injury, he will achieve just the second ever 1,000-yard receiving season by a rookie tight end, he’s on pace to tie Mike Ditka’s all time rookie tight end record for receiving yards, and he was selected to the Pro Bowl.
It’s been an up and down journey to this point for the University of Florida product, with a number of poor statistical performances, but also with a number of glimpses into what could be a potential Hall of Fame career. This week we got one of those glimpses, as Pitts had his third 100-yard game of the season, leading the team in targets, receptions and yardage.
Pitts did most of his damage on Atlanta’s opening drive of the second half, catching three passes for 62 yards on that drive alone, including a picturesque 35-yard reception that he made one handed without too much room to work with near to the sideline and with a defender draped all over him.
As of the conclusion of Sunday’s games, Pitts is the overall TE3 in Week 16 and the overall TE4 through the season’s first 16 weeks, in PPR leagues. He wasn’t exactly the steal of the century at his 6th round ADP but he’s proven to be worth it overall. He’s an incredible asset in dynasty leagues and could be a viable keeper, as he should take the jump into the elite tight end stratosphere right next to Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Mark Andrews next season. Pitts could ascend into a league of his own at the position after that.
Russell Gage: 4 catches, 39 receiving yards, 1 fumble: 1.90 standard league points; 5.90 PPR points
Gage was my fantasy stud last week after an impressive performance against the 49ers, and I even suggested him as a sneaky good flex play this week, given the matchup and his consistency over the past few weeks. The LSU product burned me and fantasy managers who rolled the dice with him in their starting lineups this week.
Gage was second on the team in both receptions and receiving yards, but that’s not saying too much, as this was the Kyle Pitts show with everyone else clumped together in the background. What really made this a dud performance for Gage was his near catastrophic fumble on Atlanta’s final drive of the game, when the Birds needed just one first down to salt the game away. That took away three points in fantasy, and almost set the Lions up for the game winning touchdown, as they got the ball back just 37 yards from the end zone.
A week after being the overall WR7 in PPR leagues, Gage finished outside of the top 60 at the position in Week 16. He can’t be trusted in championship games, especially not against the Buffalo Bills defense in what is sure to be a cold setting.