There's a lot to like about the Fantasy options for the Falcons, who should have a No. 1 quarterback, two No. 1 receivers, a No. 1 tight end and a No. 2 running back on Draft Day. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are proven commodities in Atlanta, and we'll see how Todd Gurley does going from the Rams to the Falcons. Hayden Hurst has breakout potential at tight end, and this should be a fun offense in 2020.
Record: 7-9 (17)
PPG: 23.8 (13)
YPG: 379.7 (5)
Pass YPG: 294.6 (3)
Rush YPG: 85.1 (30)
PAPG: 42.8 (1)
RAPG: 22.6 (29)
2019 Fantasy finishes
QB: Matt Ryan QB11
RB: Devonta Freeman* RB19
WR: Julio Jones WR3; Calvin Ridley WR27
TE: Austin Hooper* TE6
*No longer with team
Number to know: 29
The Falcons have been No. 29 or worse in rushing production in each of the past two seasons, which has put their offense in position to be throwing a lot. Atlanta has been in the top five in pass attempts in each of the past two years, including leading the league in that category last season. We'll see if Gurley can change that, but the volume of throws has been good for Ryan, Jones and Ridley — and now potentially Hurst.
RB Todd Gurley, TE Hayden Hurst, DE Dante Fowler
188 carries, 81 RB targets, 68 WR targets, 111 TE targets
Rankings and Projections
| ||Heath Cummings' projections|
|QB||Matt Ryan||4,709 YD, 28 TD, 14 INT; 144 Rush YD, 1 TD|
|RB||Todd Gurley||833 YD, 7 TD; 47 REC, 333 YD, 2 TD|
|WR||Julio Jones||157 TAR, 99 REC, 1,464 YD, 7 TD|
|WR||Calvin Ridley||113 TAR, 77 REC, 1,053 YD, 8 TD|
|WR||Russell Gage||88 TAR, 59 REC, 607 YD, 3 TD|
|TE||Hayden Hurst||94 TAR, 65 REC, 708 YD, 6 TD|
Does Todd Gurley still have something left in the tank?
Only the Jets (78.6) and Dolphins (72.3) rushed for fewer yards per game than the Falcons last season (85.1), and we'll see if Gurley can change that. However, in 2019 with the Rams he topped 85 rushing yards just three times -- and had no 100-yard outings. He appears in line to get a heavy workload, which keeps him in the No. 2 running back range, but Gurley should only be drafted toward the end of Round 3 or beginning of Round 4 in all leagues.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
I'd put Hurst more in the breakout category, but the Falcons are kind of limited for this exercise. In any event, this should be a good season for Hurst with his move from Baltimore to Atlanta as the replacement for Hooper. For the past two seasons, Hooper averaged 93 targets, 73 catches, 724 yards and five touchdowns for the Falcons. That will hopefully be what Hurst is able to do this year. He has struggled to produce in two seasons with the Ravens, mostly due to injuries in 2018 and playing behind Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle. He'll be behind Jones and Ridley when it comes to targets, but this is his time to shine. Ryan will hopefully find that Hurst is a quality weapon, and he has the chance to be a No. 1 Fantasy tight end this year.
Last year in Tampa Bay, we saw promising third-year receiver Chris Godwin overtake proven veteran Mike Evans. Could the same thing happen here with Ridley and Jones? I'm not ready to go there yet, but Ridley should close the gap between the two this season. Ridley really took off in 2019 when Mohamed Sanu was traded to New England prior to Week 8. In his final six games (Ridley missed the last three games of the season with an abdomen injury), he averaged 17.1 PPR points per game. I like Ridley as a third-year breakout receiver, and he's worth drafting in all leagues in Round 3.
I don't consider Jones a bust, but someone has to go into this category. And Jones does have the furthest to fall since he will likely be a first-round pick in all leagues. We did see his numbers dip slightly after the Falcons traded Sanu to the Patriots, averaging just 14.4 PPR points over the first six games, before taking off in the final three outings when Ridley was out. He averaged 26.0 PPR points over that span, and hopefully that's the guy who continues to show up. But he's 31 now, and Ridley is ready to take off. If Gurley is good and Hurst fills in admirably for Hooper, Jones could see a decline in production. He might be a risky pick in Round 1.
AFC East: Bills | Jets | Patriots | Dolphins
NFC East: Giants | Cowboys | Eagles | Redskins
AFC South: Colts | Texans | Jaguars | Titans
NFC South: Panthers | Bucs | Falcons | Saints
AFC North: Ravens | Steelers | Browns | Bengals
NFC North: Packers | Vikings | Bears | Lions
AFC West: Chiefs | Broncos | Raiders | Chargers
NFC West: Seahawks | 49ers | Rams | Cardinals
So what Fantasy football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which WR1 candidate can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get cheat sheets from the model that was all over Derrick Henry's huge season, and find out.