Atlanta Falcons Fantasy Football Preview

The NFC representative for the Super Bowl last year had one of the most prolific offenses ever in NFL history. There are a lot of questions about whether or not the offense will be as great in 2017, and a lot of those questions have to do with the offensive coordinator leaving to be the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers this year. There will still be a few assets that Fantasy Football owners will need to own, but there may not be as many as there were last year.

 

Must Draft Players

  • Devonta Freeman – Running Back
  • Tevin Coleman – Running Back
  • Julio Jones – Wide Receiver

 

Two years ago, I took a chance in the 11th round and drafted Devonta Freeman to my team. No one believed that he was going to be the starter for the Falcons, let alone have any relevance for Fantasy Football. He ended up scoring 23.4 points per game and was the number one running back in Fantasy Football. While he scored less points per game last season, he still averaged 18 points a game last season. Devonta Freeman is the catalyst for everything in the Falcons offense, and I doubt that changes this year.

 

The running back that was supposed to be the starter in 2015, Tevin Coleman, was terrible that year. Sure, injuries played a big part in that, but that didn’t stop him from being more dominant in 2016. He only played 13 games because of injury, but he averaged almost 15 points in each of the games he played, including 11 touchdowns. I believe that the Falcons are going to get the ball into their best players’ hands, and Tevin Coleman will see his fair share of touches.

 

Julio Jones is a stud, there is no denying that. While I like him a lot as a top wide receiver option, he is ranked as my 4th wide receiver behind Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jordy Nelson. The primary reason is that he just doesn’t score touchdowns. If you take out his highest touchdown production (10 in 2012) and his lowest (2 in 2013 when he only played 5 games), he averages 7 touchdowns. He more than makes up for it with yards and receptions though. Taking out those two season again, he has averaged 94 receptions for 1,458 yards.

 

Check out my opinion on why Jordy Nelson should be drafted ahead of Julio Jones by clicking this link.

 

Players You Should Probably Be Drafting

  • Matt Ryan – Quarterback
  • Taylor Gabriel – Wide Receiver

 

Matt Ryan had a career year last season. He threw for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns. His average in the previous 5 seasons was 4,539 yards and 27 touchdowns. I think the latter stats are more realistic for Ryan this season, which would still give him an average of 22 points per game. That makes his price tag of being taken in the 5th round a little pricey if you ask me.

 

Taylor Gabriel showed that he can be an effective number 2 receiver for the Falcons. While he only had 35 receptions for 579 yards and 6 touchdowns last season, he was able to help take coverage off of Julio. Gabriel will only be the 4th option at best for Matt Ryan, but at 8 points a game you could do worse for a flex option.

 

Players You Could Draft If Your Rosters are Deep

  • Mohamed Sanu – Wide Receiver
  • Austin Hooper – Tight End

 

Mohamed Sanu was brought into Atlanta to be the number 2 behind Julio. He did average 9 points a game, but it became obvious that Taylor Gabriel is going to be the number 2 in Atlanta moving forward. Sanu could have value if something happens to Gabriel, but that’s it in my opinion.

 

Not since Tony Gonzalez has a tight end in Atlanta been seen as a viable option in Fantasy Football. Austin Hooper could break that mold this year. Sure, he finished with 19 receptions for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns last season, but he looked good doing it. He is someone I’ll keep my eye on, and depending on how I draft tight ends he may be someone I pair with another prospect at tight end.

 

Follow Me on Twitter @hardknoxffb

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