Well, that sucked. The Atlanta Falcons have to be a social experiment, one whose purpose seems to be to see just how much abuse their fanbase can take before finally cracking.
Regime after regime, the players may change, the coaches may change, but what stays the same is this team’s proficiency in blowing leads. Up 16 against the dreaded rival New Orleans Saints, the Falcons’ coaching staff called the fourth quarter like cowards and the result was yet another embarrassment.
We won’t get into the actual game itself too much in this article — I strongly encourage you to check out some of the actual deep dive analysis pieces we have here at The Falcoholic — instead, here we will look at things from purely a fantasy football perspective, meaning nothing but cold hard statistics.
On a weekly basis, we will highlight two Falcons players in each game — one who was a standout fantasy performer and one who did not live up to expectations.
Only fantasy relevant players will be featured in this series. A wide receiver at the end of the bench or a 4th string running back who isn’t on anybody’s fantasy team will not be looked at.
Expectations are of course always higher for players who were drafted at higher ADPs, so they will be under added scrutiny when dissecting fantasy performances.
I hope your fantasy team had more success this week than the Falcons. Let’s get into it.
Fantasy Stud/Dud 2021 History:
Past Studs: Cordarrelle Patterson (6), Kyle Pitts (4), Russell Gage (2), Younghoe Koo (1), Matt Ryan (1), Mike Davis (1), Nobody (1)
Past Duds: Matt Ryan (6), Mike Davis (3), Kyle Pitts (3), Younghoe Koo (1), Olamide Zaccheaus (1), Cordarrelle Patterson (1), Russell Gage (1)
Yearly Fantasy Stud/Dud History:
Past Season Studs: Matt Ryan, Austin Hooper, Calvin Ridley, Cordarrelle Patterson
Past Season Duds: Devonta Freeman, Mohamed Sanu, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley
Fantasy Stud - Cordarrelle Patterson
Stat Line: 22 carries, 120 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 3 catches, 16 receiving yards: 19.6 standard league points; 22.6 PPR points
The more things stay change, the more they stay the same, and despite all the turnover on the Falcons roster from last season, one thing that has stayed consistent is Cordarrelle Patterson helping managers win some fantasy games.
The Falcons had three active running backs in Week 1, with one of them being return specialist Avery Williams, after rookie Tyler Allgeier was announced as a surprise inactive. When Damien Williams left the game with a first quarter rib injury (he came back in the fourth quarter), Patterson became the bell cow and did not disappoint.
The 25 touches he received were a career high in a single game and the 136 yards from scrimmage were his second-highest single game mark ever, tying that masterclass Week 9 performance against the Saints last year. All afternoon, Patterson kept getting chunk yardage against a vaunted New Orleans rushing defense and he even plunged into the end zone in the second quarter. CP sits as the overall RB5 going into Monday Night Football.
Patterson was always going to factor heavily in Atlanta’s offense. I would not expect him to get 20+ touches weekly (he won’t always be the only available runner), but Patterson will likely prove to be a very wise investment with the middle round ADP you spent on him.
Kyle Pitts: 2 catches, 19 receiving yards: 1.9 standard league points; 3.9 PPR points
Kyle Pitts came into the season ranked in that tier one of tight ends, along with Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews. His ADP in NFL.com leagues was 33.87 — on average, that’s in the third round of 12-team leagues, and as the third tight end off the board at that. That’s premium investment, with owners hoping to give themselves the “tight end advantage” over opponents.
Naturally, fantasy managers who made such an investment will be incredibly disappointed with a sub-4 point fantasy performance. Pitts ranked fourth on the team in receptions in a game where the aerial game was already diluted enough with just 20 completed passes from Mariota on the afternoon. Atlanta did most of its damage on the ground.
Despite being taken as the third TE off the board in most leagues, Pitts ranked as the overall TE30 at the conclusion of Sunday’s games. The Falcons will have to do more to get the ball into their best player’s hands moving forward.
I would not panic if you currently have Pitts on your roster. For one, he tied Drake London for the team lead in targets with seven, and secondly, the team played from ahead for most of the game. Pitts will be fine, and I would even recommend seeing if the Kyle Pitts owner in your league panics and is willing to trade him at a discount.