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Falcons fantasy preview for Week 1 against the Saints

Who should you start? Who should you bench?

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Week 1 of the NFL regular season is finally here, as the Atlanta Falcons host their rivals, the New Orleans Saints. All week we’ve discussed what could happen in the real world, so let’s turn our world to the land of focus, that’s right, fantasy football!

The always-growing and all-consuming game of fantasy football is back, and by now everyone has had their league drafts and are anxiously awaiting the rest of the Week 1 games to see how their individual teams are going to fare. Today, we’ll be focusing on which Falcons players should be in your lineups this week, and those that you may be better off leaving on your bench.

Start ‘em

Let’s be clear here, nobody really knows what to expect. The Falcons are in a transitional period on offense as they go from having a known quantity and reliable mainstay in Matt Ryan to someone trying to take advantage of a second chance in Marcus Mariota. Mariota intrigues me, although he should definitely not to be started until we see how he looks in this offense.

Many of the top-performing quarterbacks in fantasy football are those that run. Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles is a great example. He didn’t have the greatest year in the real world last year, but in fantasy, he was the fourth-best quarterback, mainly due to the fact that he runs the ball very effectively, which adds plenty of points in fantasy. Mariota will likely be doing a good amount of scrambling, and he’s certainly someone to keep an eye on if you’re nervous about whomever is your current starter. I think Mariota is going to be the Falcons’ 2022 version of 2021 Cordarrelle Patterson, in that he’ll offer better value than you would have dreamed of before the season.

Speaking of Patterson, I say start him. In 2021, Patterson was a top-10 fantasy running back through the first ten games of the season, before slowing down a bit towards the end. He’ll never be as well rested as Week 1, so unless you have a better option, I’d have him in my lineup until the Falcons give you a reason to keep him out. If Tyler Allgeier and Damien Williams impress as the season goes on, his role certainly won’t grow.

It’s an obvious name, but if you have Kyle Pitts, he’s in your lineup. There’s arguably around five tight ends that you can feel comfortable starting every week, and Pitts is certainly one of them. Even though he only had one touchdown in 2021, Pitts displayed enough that he’s been taken in the first few rounds of drafts this summer. If you have him, he’s starting.

Finally, Younghoe Koo is always worth starting if you have him, as he’s one of the best kickers in real life and fantasy.

Bench ‘em

The only other Falcons player that you should be considering starting is rookie receiver Drake London. I’m going to recommend that you bench London, who is dealing with a knee injury that he sustained during the preseason. I don’t like the matchup, which may see London working against Marshon Lattimore often while and by time you read this, London may be announced as inactive. But even if he plays, he’s staying on the bench for me.

Players like Tyler Allgeier and Bryan Edwards should remain on your benches this week until we get a clearer idea of how they will be used, but both could be assets down the line.

Check out all of today’s odds courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.