Another year is in the books, and with it we reach the culmination of this article series for now the fifth season.
For those of you who may not be familiar, I have been naming and tracking one standout Falcon and one Falcon who disappointed in the realm of fantasy football through each passing week, giving some statistical analysis. The crescendo of this series each year is bringing it all together to highlight one fantasy standout and one fantasy disappointment for the entire season.
Year two of Arthur Smith’s offense saw improvement in comparison to year one, but still with a few steps to go before we get to the finished product. The Falcons were 24th in yardage (vs. 29th last season) and jumped all the way up to 15th in points per game (vs. 26th last season). The main catalyst was the highly effective run game, which compensated for the fall off in going from Matt Ryan to Marcus Mariota in the aerial attack.
For the most part, if you trusted a Falcons pass catcher or quarterback this season, you were likely disappointed, while the team’s running back duo gave you a worthy return on investment.
Please remember that this article looks strictly at the fantasy football numbers and isn’t a specific evaluation of real life play.
Fantasy Stud/Dud 2022 History:
Past Studs: Tyler Allgeier (4), Cordarrelle Patterson (4), Drake London (3), Marcus Mariota (2), Kyle Pitts (1), Younghoe Koo (1), Olamide Zaccheaus (1)
Past Duds: Kyle Pitts (4), Drake London (4), Marcus Mariota (2), Younghoe Koo (2), Cordarrelle Patterson (2), Falcons D/ST (1), Desmond Ridder (1)
Yearly Fantasy Stud/Dud History:
Past Studs: Matt Ryan, Austin Hooper, Calvin Ridley, Cordarrelle Patterson
Past Duds: Devonta Freeman, Mohamed Sanu, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley
Season Stud - Tyler Allgeier
Stat Line - 210 carries, 1,035 rushing yards, 16 catches, 139 receiving yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 1 receiving touchdown, 0 fumbles: 143.30 standard league points; 159.40 PPR points
Tyler Allgeier wasn’t on many fantasy radars going into August drafts this past year. Yes, he was the team’s most recent draft pick at the position, but he was essentially playing third fiddle on the depth chart behind newly signed veteran Damien Williams and last year’s breakout star and freshly re-sign Cordarrelle Patterson. Allgeier even found himself playing in the fourth quarter of the final preseason game, while the starters all rested, and he was a healthy scratch in the season opener.
Damien Williams’ season essentially ended after the first drive of the first game following a rib injury, one which he never returned from. Allgeier received some opportunity in the form of 28 touches over the next three games before Cordarrelle Patterson landed on IR and vaulted him to the top of the depth chart, albeit still working in a time share with Caleb Huntley.
Allgeier ended up being a decent bench stash and good bye week fill-in whom many fantasy managers parted ways with following Patterson’s eventual return from IR, but after the Week 14 bye week the Falcons made a concentrated effort to feature their rookie. From Week 15-18, Allgeier had 85 total touches, 474 yards from scrimmage (no fewer than 95 in every game) and two touchdowns. Down the stretch of the season, that’s what we call a league winner.
Overall, Allgeier became the first Falcon since Devonta Freeman in 2016 to top 1,000 yards rushing and he broke William Andrews’ franchise rookie rushing record, set in 1979. If you got him in a dynasty league you likely struck gold as he looks poised to build on this campaign next season. Not bad for a late round dart throw in redraft leagues.
Season Dud - Kyle Pitts
Stat Line - 28 catches, 356 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns: 47.60 standard league points; 75.60 PPR points
Kyle Pitts was not only the biggest fantasy dud on the Falcons’ roster, but he is considered by many to be the biggest fantasy football dud in the entire NFL in 2021.
Taken with a third round ADP, Pitts went in elite tight end territory, behind only Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews at his position. However, he finished as the overall TE33 in fantasy football, emphasizing what a waste of a premium pick he was in fantasy drafts.
Yes, Pitts got hurt and missed the final seven games of the season. No, that was not the reason for his disappointing finish as he was still only 20th among TEs in points per game (standard league scoring).
The sophomore out of Florida was truly the biggest victim of Atlanta’s run-centric approach, being relegated to mostly blocking duties and leading the league in uncatchable target percentage with Marcus Mariota consistently throwing into a different area code. His receiving yardage plummeted from 1,026 to 326 as a result, and he caught 40 fewer passes in comparison to his rookie year.
The good news is that Pitts seems poised for a bounce back season next year, and you will likely be able to get him at a discount in redraft leagues thanks to fresh memories of failure in 2021. There’s no way Desmond Ridder (or any quarterback) can throw the ball more inaccurately to Pitts than Mariota did, and don’t forget that Pitts was still the number four overall pick and a Pro Bowler just a year ago. I would be shocked to see him not featured in what should be a more prolific passing attack in 2022, even if Atlanta continues to remain one of the more run heavy teams in the league.