NFL Free Agency Fantasy Fallout: Loss of Austin Hooper and Devonta Freeman leaves big opportunity in Atlanta
The Falcons cut Devonta Freeman and lost Austin Hooper to the Browns. That creates a huge opportunity.
Atlanta Falcons fans are going to have to squint when they look at their team's 2020 depth chart. It's going to look a lot different from 2019. For one thing it won't have Devonta Freeman or Austin Hooper on it. We don't know who will be replacing Freeman, but they traded for their Hooper replacement shortly after his deal was announced. Hayden Hurst will fill that role. While the Falcons aren't likely done yet, it's not too early to look at their updated projections.
In terms of Calvin Ridley, which is why he's one of my favorite breakout picks, but he'll leave plenty for Hurst., the Falcons have more of it than any team in football. There are 271 running back carries available and 261 targets. Some of those targets are going to
Dirk Koetter's offense has thrown the ball to tight ends at least 120 times each of the past three seasons. Hooper's 16-game pace in 2019 was for 119 targets. I'm trying to be conservative by projecting Hurst for 100 targets this year. He's averaged 8.3 yards per target in Baltimore, but I pulled back on that to 7.5. Even with those constraints, Hurst projects as my No. 7 tight end, three spots ahead of the guy he's replacing.
The math on the backfield is going to have to wait. Yes, they still have Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison there. No, I don't anticipate those two backs topping the depth chart by May, and whoever does will be a big winner in terms of Fantasy value.
Here are my current projections for the Falcons:
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