Atlanta Falcons: Top Five Fantasy Players to Target

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Top Five Fantasy Targets for the Atlanta Falcons

fal
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There is no shortage of fantasy football talent on the Atlanta Falcons. With the exception of running back, last season they had a top-ten option at every fantasy position, including two at wide receiver. Matt Ryan had a breakout season in 2012 throwing for 4,719 yards, 32 TD and 14 INT. In a weak defensive division, the Falcons are in a good position to repeat, and maybe even surpass, their offensive success from last season.

While Atlanta has a great passing attack, there are some question marks with their running game from a fantasy perspective. None of the Falcon ball carriers managed to crack 1,000 total yards in 2012. They replaced Michael Turner with Steven Jackson in the offseason, but how much of an improvement could that really be?

At the age of 30, Jackson is just one year younger than Turner and has been abused by the St. Louis Rams for the past eight years. Since 2005, he has averaged 331 touches per season. The wear and tear is already catching up with Jackson who has seen a decline in total yards in his each of his last three seasons. It is unlikely that the Falcons will risk making him a workhorse, and if they do his body has to get worn down at some point.

With the move from St. Louis to Atlanta, the touchdown opportunities will certainly come around more often for Jackson but definitely not enough to make him worth an early to mid-second-round selection where he is projected. The players to target in Atlanta should come primarily from the passing game.

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5. Roddy White

rod
Dale-Zanine-USA-TODAY-Sports

White is a great pick to bring a fantasy team some consistency and stability. Not only has he never missed a game in his entire career, but he is also the only wide receiver to finish top ten in fantasy scoring for the past five seasons. At 31 he probably isn’t the biggest upside pick, but he is as much of a sure thing as you can get in fantasy football.

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4. Matt Ryan

mat
Daniel-Shirey-USA-TODAY-Sports

Ryan is player you don’t necessarily want to reach for considering how many solid options there are at his position, but keep an eye on him because he is a likely candidate to get at a value. A lot of drafters are pretty excited about the read-option quarterbacks and Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, and Robert Griffin III are the next three quarterbacks projected after Ryan.

If your league gets overly excited for the read-option guys and Ryan drops, you could get him at a great value. Considering he keeps improving every year, has one of the best arsenals in the NFL, and isn’t near the injury risk that the dual-threat quarterbacks are, Ryan would be great pickup.

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3. Julio Jones

jul
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Jones is entering his third season and has the highest fantasy ceiling of all the skill players on this list. He is a special talent and is fast becoming Ryan’s favorite end zone target. Wide receiver is a pretty stacked position this year so reaching for him may be a mistake. But if you can get him at the end of the second round where he is projected or later, he is definitely worth drafting.

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2. Jacquizz Rodgers

jac
Dale-Zanine-USA-TODAY-Sports

Rodgers is a good upside play for those who enter the late rounds with a weak running back situation. Projected around the 11th or 12th round, Rodgers is a great pass-catching back grabbing 52 receptions last season. The young running back will likely see a larger workload in his third season with the aging Jackson ahead of him on the depth chart and will be a great late-round-sleeper pick.

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1.Tony Gonzalez

ton
Daniel-Shirey-USA-TODAY-Sports

The laws of age do not apply to Gonzalez. The 37-year-old freak is coming back for one last season, and as crazy as it sounds, he is one of the most reliable options at tight end missing only two games in his entire career.

On top of that, Gonzalez has increased his receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns each of the past two seasons. The greatest tight end in NFL history will leave it all on the field for his last season and should definitely be targeted heavily, especially considering the lack of options at the position this season.

1 of 6

Top Five Fantasy Targets for the Atlanta Falcons

fal
Daniel-Shirey-USA-TODAY-Sports

There is no shortage of fantasy football talent on the Atlanta Falcons. With the exception of running back, last season they had a top-ten option at every fantasy position, including two at wide receiver. Matt Ryan had a breakout season in 2012 throwing for 4,719 yards, 32 TD and 14 INT. In a weak defensive division, the Falcons are in a good position to repeat, and maybe even surpass, their offensive success from last season.

While Atlanta has a great passing attack, there are some question marks with their running game from a fantasy perspective. None of the Falcon ball carriers managed to crack 1,000 total yards in 2012. They replaced Michael Turner with Steven Jackson in the offseason, but how much of an improvement could that really be?

At the age of 30, Jackson is just one year younger than Turner and has been abused by the St. Louis Rams for the past eight years. Since 2005, he has averaged 331 touches per season. The wear and tear is already catching up with Jackson who has seen a decline in total yards in his each of his last three seasons. It is unlikely that the Falcons will risk making him a workhorse, and if they do his body has to get worn down at some point.

With the move from St. Louis to Atlanta, the touchdown opportunities will certainly come around more often for Jackson but definitely not enough to make him worth an early to mid-second-round selection where he is projected. The players to target in Atlanta should come primarily from the passing game.

2 of 6

5. Roddy White

rod
Dale-Zanine-USA-TODAY-Sports

White is a great pick to bring a fantasy team some consistency and stability. Not only has he never missed a game in his entire career, but he is also the only wide receiver to finish top ten in fantasy scoring for the past five seasons. At 31 he probably isn’t the biggest upside pick, but he is as much of a sure thing as you can get in fantasy football.

3 of 6

4. Matt Ryan

mat
Daniel-Shirey-USA-TODAY-Sports

Ryan is player you don’t necessarily want to reach for considering how many solid options there are at his position, but keep an eye on him because he is a likely candidate to get at a value. A lot of drafters are pretty excited about the read-option quarterbacks and Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, and Robert Griffin III are the next three quarterbacks projected after Ryan.

If your league gets overly excited for the read-option guys and Ryan drops, you could get him at a great value. Considering he keeps improving every year, has one of the best arsenals in the NFL, and isn’t near the injury risk that the dual-threat quarterbacks are, Ryan would be great pickup.

4 of 6

3. Julio Jones

jul
Daniel-Shirey-USA-TODAY-Sports

Jones is entering his third season and has the highest fantasy ceiling of all the skill players on this list. He is a special talent and is fast becoming Ryan’s favorite end zone target. Wide receiver is a pretty stacked position this year so reaching for him may be a mistake. But if you can get him at the end of the second round where he is projected or later, he is definitely worth drafting.

5 of 6

2. Jacquizz Rodgers

jac
Dale-Zanine-USA-TODAY-Sports

Rodgers is a good upside play for those who enter the late rounds with a weak running back situation. Projected around the 11th or 12th round, Rodgers is a great pass-catching back grabbing 52 receptions last season. The young running back will likely see a larger workload in his third season with the aging Jackson ahead of him on the depth chart and will be a great late-round-sleeper pick.

6 of 6

1.Tony Gonzalez

ton
Daniel-Shirey-USA-TODAY-Sports

The laws of age do not apply to Gonzalez. The 37-year-old freak is coming back for one last season, and as crazy as it sounds, he is one of the most reliable options at tight end missing only two games in his entire career.

On top of that, Gonzalez has increased his receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns each of the past two seasons. The greatest tight end in NFL history will leave it all on the field for his last season and should definitely be targeted heavily, especially considering the lack of options at the position this season.


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