Russell Gage is a deep sleeper best reserved for Best Ball leagues and leagues with more than 12 teams. He'll battle Laquon Treadwell to be the No. 3 receiver in Atlanta, which is the role he filled after the team dealt Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots. In nine games without Sanu, Gage caught 45 of 66 targets for 402 yards and a touchdown. You'd anticipate better efficiency than that, but even that makes Gage a No. 4 receiver in PPR leagues. HIs upside comes from a potential Julio Jones or Calvin Ridley injury.
Gage is the favorite to serve as Atlanta's No. 3 option at wide receiver during 2020, Matthew Tabeek of the Falcons' official site reports. The offseason arrival of 2016 first-round draft choice Laquon Treadwell provides some competition to Gage, but the 24-year-old seems to be coming into his own, and he will be difficult for the newcomer Treadwell to supplant. Gage recorded five or more receptions over five of his final six outings to wrap up 2019, proving himself capable of replacing Mohamed Sanu, who'd been traded to the Patriots. If able to fend off Treadwell for the job during training camp, Gage will have an opportunity to build upon the strong second half he put forth as an NFL sophomore while working behind Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley as the third option at wide receiver.
Gage remains well-positioned to serve as the Falcons' slot receiver after Atlanta went without drafting a single wideout during the 2020 NFL Draft, Mike Clay of ESPN.com reports. As Clay noted, during weeks in which both Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones were active last season, Gage saw his target share vault to 16 percent after Mohamed Sanu's Oct. 22 trade to New England. As the No. 4 option at receiver Weeks 1 through 7, Gage accounted for just four combined catches and 44 yards, but from Week 8 to the end of the regular season, he averaged a respectable five catches and 44.7 yards per game. His involvement transferred from obsolete to significant as a result of Sanu's departure, and in the interim, nothing has changed at the position group that would stymie Gage's progression. He appears to be the No. 3 option at receiver for an offense that last year ranked behind only Tampa Bay and Dallas in passing yards per game (294.6).
Gage caught seven of 13 targets for 68 yards during Sunday's 28-22 overtime win against Tampa Bay. The second-year wideout from LSU turned it on over the late stages of 2019, racking up five-plus receptions in five of his final six outings to close out the year. Gage's role within Atlanta's offense increased substantially with the trade of Mohamed Sanu to New England on Oct. 22, as Gage averaged 7.3 targets per game between Weeks 8 and 17 after garnering just eight total targets across his first six appearances. With Calvin Ridley (abdomen) expected to be recovered well in time for OTAs, Gage is expected to enter 2020 as the Falcons' No. 3 option at wide receiver so long as a newly acquired player does not supersede him on the depth chart.
Gage hauled in five of six targets for 49 yards and ran for seven yards on two carries during Sunday's 24-12 win against Jacksonville. The second-year man out of LSU has been a steady contributor in Atlanta's passing game over the past month, as he has amassed at least five receptions in four of five appearances since Week 12. Gage has been efficient with opportunities granted during that span, establishing an impressive 71.4 percent catch rate with 46.8 scrimmage yards per game. He'll continue to be a secondary option for Matt Ryan when the Falcons take on a Buccaneers defense Week 17 that ranks 32nd in the NFL in both receptions (222) and receiving yards (2,970) allowed to opposing wideouts.
Gage is in line for increased usage with Calvin Ridley (abdomen) expected to miss the rest of the season, Will McFadden of the Falcons' official site reports. Since Mohamed Sanu was dealt to the Patriots in late October, Gage has manned the slot for the Falcons, racking up 41 targets over the last six games. Gage's peripheral numbers (9.2 YPC and 6.3 YPT) are appropriate for a receiver that doesn't make an impact outside of short- and medium-range throws from Matt Ryan. Having said that, Gage is set to be an even bigger part of Atlanta's passing attack over the final three games of the campaign.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/06||@Green Bay Packers||12||19.22|
|11||11/22||@New Orleans Saints||27||24.71|
|12||11/29||Las Vegas Raiders||22||22.63|
|13||12/06||New Orleans Saints||27||24.71|
|14||12/13||@Los Angeles Chargers||3||16.13|
|15||12/20||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||32||27.63|
|16||12/27||@Kansas City Chiefs||4||16.68|
|17||01/03||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||32||27.63|
|3 Year Avg||42||28||254||0||14||9.07||25|