Welcome to championship weekend, the new championship weekend. With the introduction of the 17-game schedule in the NFL, fantasy championships which were once decided in Week 16 are now decided in Week 17 instead.
For fantasy owners who were relying on any Atlanta Falcons, that wasn’t the best of news. The Falcons had the toughest of matchups against the Buffalo Bills in the snow, and while they held their own into the third quarter, they succumbed to the elements and to Buffalo’s mighty defense.
Atlanta was promptly shut out in the second half after going into halftime with the lead. Unfortunately, that also killed many fantasy prospects along the way for managers who were relying on Atlanta’s fantasy relevant players to help deliver a championship in respective 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 17’s defeat against the Buffalo Bills.
Fantasy Stud/Dud 2021 History:
Past Studs: Cordarrelle Patterson (6), Kyle Pitts (4), 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), Russell Gage (1)
Stud: Mike Davis
Stat Line: 8 carries, 42 rushing yards, 1 catch, 15 receiving yards, 1 rushing touchdown: 11.70 standard league points; 12.70 PPR points
To give you an idea of how rough Atlanta’s offense was in Buffalo, they did not produce a single QB1, RB1, WR1, TE1, K1 (defined as being ranked inside the top 12 of the respective position group), QB2, RB2 or WR2 (defined as being ranked inside the top 24 of the respective position group). Mike Davis gets the nod here as he was Atlanta’s overall highest scoring player in both standard leagues and PPR leagues. Kyle Pitts was on his way to being this week’s “stud” but he suffered a hamstring injury which cost him his second half.
Mike Davis was overall a fantasy bust at his fourth round ADP in drafts this past summer. He received a decent amount of touches in Atlanta’s backfield (10.81 per game) and has delivered some quality games of late, but was clearly quickly overshadowed by waiver wire sensation Cordarrelle Patterson.
Davis found the end zone in the second quarter for Atlanta’s only touchdown of the afternoon, and this bolstered him as a decent flex play as this week’s overall RB26 in PPR leagues. It was just his fourth score of the season along with 734 total yards from scrimmage, which was also very underwhelming given the investment fantasy managers made for his services.
This is the first “fantasy stud” finish for Davis this season (he’s been our “fantasy dud” three times), and it happened at the last possible moment. If the Falcons were to bring him back next season, I would not look at Davis as anything more than a high end handcuff to whoever Atlanta’s actual starting running back will be, whether that’s Patterson or someone else.
Matt Ryan: 197 passing yards, 2 carries, 7 rushing yards, 1 fumble (lost): 6.58 standard league/PPR points
It’s just been that type of season for Matt Ryan, who has had to navigate a shaky offensive line, a lack of receiving threats and a disappointing run game in what has been his worst statistical season since 2009. Against Buffalo, he also had to contend with the elements, as the snowy weather along with a Kyle Pitts injury right before the half doomed the signal caller to another poor statistical performance.
Ryan finished Week 17 as the overall QB28. It looked like he would at least be in QB2 range when he scored a late rushing touchdown to pull the Falcons within one score, before replay ruled that he had given himself up at the half yard line with his knee hitting the ground before the ball broke the plane.
Even if the touchdown had stood, it would have still been an overall poor performance. Everything has gone against Ryan this season, but as I always say, none of the circumstances matter in the game of fantasy football. The only thing looked at are the cold hard stats.
Ryan will have one more opportunity against the Saints to extend his impressive streak of consecutive 4,000-yard seasons to 11. He will need 248 passing yards in Week 18, a number he has only hit once in the past eight weeks, but he’ll be up against a Saints defense he exceeded 300 yards against last time out.