Two struggling NFC South foes went at it on Sunday.
The one-win Buccaneers hosted the two-win Falcons, so the real question was which team would struggle more? Atlanta, even without Julio Jones, still have some fantasy star power on that offense, but it was an under the radar rookie that stole the show.
First round rusher Doug Martin totaled all of 62 fantasy points in six games this season. In the first start of his career at running back, Bobby Rainey posted nearly 35 fantasy points. It was a monster game for Rainey, and all of that talk surrounding a committee approach between he and Brian Leonard was silenced. Rainey carried the ball 27 times, compared to Leonard’s four, for 127 yards and two scores. But I’m not finished. The rookie then went ahead and added another two grabs for four yards and another score. He looked awesome, fighting for extra yards, showing very good vision, and as a rookie, the fundamentals were there. Holding onto the football with two hands, succeeding in pass protection, etc. The Bucs offensive line is beginning to click, and based off what we say from Rainey, he will be the number one waiver wire add heading into Week 12.
As for the quarterback position, I loved Mike Glennon in this game. I had him ranked 11th among all quarterbacks. The rookie was outstanding in this game, completing 20-of-23 passes for 231 yards and two scores. His game could have been even better, but the Buccaneers got ahead early, and game flow stuck it’s nasty head into Glennon’s potential volume. In two games against the Falcons this season, Glennon is averaging a solid 19 fantasy points per game. He is playing better, but is only a QB2 option at this point. Meanwhile, wideout Vincent Jackson was a top-five guy for me this week, and boy did he produce? Jackson hauled in 10 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, once again dominating the lowly Falcons defense. In two games against this unit, Jackson has averaged a whopping 29.15 fantasy points per game, hauling in three scores. He’s a borderline top-12 fantasy receiver the rest of the way.
If you weren’t already worried about Matt Ryan, you are late.
The Falcons quarterback continues to struggle without the likes of Julio Jones and a healthy Roddy White in the lineup. After a two-touchdown, two-interception performance on Sunday, Ryan has now tossed nine interceptions over his last four games. He is forcing too many throws to his only reliable weapon, Tony Gonzalez. In a twelve-team league, Ryan is dropable if you have someone you are more comfortable with like Nick Foles or someone. He should continue to throw the ball a lot, considering Atlanta can’t run the ball or stop anyone defensively, but he is a risky play the rest of the season.
Did I mention the Falcons can’t run the ball? Free agent acquisition Steven Jackson has been hurt and ineffective this season, but he did break a 50-yard touchdown run late in this game. Wait, that was Antone Smith? Oh, just great. Jackson, meanwhile, managed just 41 yards on 11 carries. The offensive line has been one of the worst in football, and Jackson should be riding fantasy benches until he proves otherwise. White actually caught his first touchdown of the season, but was limited otherwise. Harry Douglas continues to be a top-25 fantasy wideout, as he exploded for an 80-yard catch and run. He now has posted three double-digit fantasy outings in his last five games. He’s the Falcons wide receiver to own in fantasy. Finally, Tony Gonzalez fought it out with a banged up toe injury, grabbing five balls for 61 yards. His value continues to plummet, as well as the Falcons as a unit.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.