Friday, July 12, 2013

Atlanta Falcons Fantasy Football Team Preview

At the QB position, the Falcons have a franchise Quarterback in our 6th ranked Matt Ryan. He is a perennial lock for 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns and can take another big step forward to the tune of 5,000 yards and 35 TD. He is a great option at the back of the fourth round and doesn't have the risk of injury carried by Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, or Cam Newton. Also, in auction leagues, he is going for about 33% of what Aaron Rodgers is currently going for (41.7 vs. Ryan's 15.9)So, if you want a great value and a high floor with some upside, Matty Ice is your man!

Next, we have our 12th ranked RB Steven Jackson. If the slow and just-cut Michael Turner can churn out double-digit touchdowns, former Rams workhorse Steven Jackson can get at least 12 touchdowns. 12 Touchdowns along with CBS Sports projection of 1140 yards, and 371 receiving yards would equal 223.1 points which would make him fantasy's 6th rated running back. Also, running mate Jacquizz Rodgers is a nice sleeper PPR option with 53 catches last season. If something happens to Steven Jackson, Rodgers is a speedy back that could be a mid-to-high RB 2 next season.

At Wide Receiver, the Falcons are a two way show with pass catchers Julio Jones and Roddy White. When healthy, Julio Jones is one of the most talented players in the NFL and a great deep threat for QB Matt Ryan. The only issue with Jones is targets. Even though he didn't miss a game, he still only finished with the 19th most targets to a WR. The thing that pushes his fantasy value, and the reason he is our 5th ranked pass catcher is touchdowns. Last season he had double digit TDs (10) and there is no reason to think that he cannot build on that. On the other hand, Roddy White is our 12th ranked receiver because of consistency and past success. In 2012 he had more targets, catches, and receiving yards than Julio Jones and led the team with first down conversions on 3rd down showing that when it matters most, Matty Ice is looking for Roddy. Even though both these players should preform well, an injury could open up a chance for Harry Douglas. Douglas is a talented slot receiver, but really hasn't gotten a chance in Atlanta with Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez taking most of the targets. If an injury happens to one of these three, Douglas could step up to a low end WR3.

At Tight End, we all know that Tony Gonzalez is a PPR monster with the 9th most receptions in the NFL in 2012. We have him ranked 2nd, behind only Jimmy Graham, and he should be a great option in his final season as a Falcon. Can I guarantee 93 receptions? No. Can I guarantee the same yards with a player who is entering his age-37 season? No. But there is one thing I know, that is that he will be a big red zone threat. Last season he tied for a TE-high 12 catches and eight TDs inside an opponent's 20, scoring 8 TDs. If you're scared off by the questionable mid-to-late TE 1's Gonzo is a great way to go.

Obviously, team defense is not a priority in your draft, but you have to start one each week. You shouldn't be looking to draft the Falcons team defense, but there are some good match ups in there, including week 5 against the Jets, week 8 @ the Cardinals, and week 13 @ Buffalo. For you IDP players out there (which includes me) Sean Weatherspoon, at age 25, could have a breakout season at LB after last season's 70 tackles in 13 games along with 3 sacks. Well, there you have it, with a very Strong QB, a touchdown machine running back, and one of the best receiving corps in the league, the Falcons aren't a bad place to look during your draft.

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