Head coach- Dan Quinn
Offensive coaching philosophy- Balanced attack run & pass/ zone scheme with deep shots down the field
What to expect- Dirk Koetter takes over the offensive coordinator duties from Steve Sarkisian. Expect a balanced attack neither run or pass heavy. Deep shots taken down the field to Julio Jones mixed in with Devonta Freeman running behind a zone blocking scheme.
Quarterback- Matt Ryan had one of his best years- 4900 yards and 35 TDs. He should do well this year too- although history suggests otherwise. He seems to have a good year when fantasy owners don’t expect much of him, and when they do he seems to throw in a clunker. He has familiarity with Dirk Koetter’s offense- he might have even lobbied for Koetter to return. The transition shouldn’t be difficult and the Falcons are stacked on the offensive side of the ball. The only thing limiting him is points from rushing. Ryan is a statue with very limited mobility.
Running Back- The Falcons couldn’t afford both Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman so they let Tevin Coleman walk in free agency. His loss will be felt. He offered game breaking speed. They’re counting on Devonta Freeman to come through. He’s had several injury riddled seasons but enters this season healthy and he seems like he’s sitting on a big year. An improved offensive line should open more holes for him. He’ll garner the majority of the carries in a RBBC. The Falcons will probably use Ito Smith in Coleman’s old role. He’s 200 lbs dripping wet. Keep an eye on rookie Qadree Ollison. Ollison is the biggest RB Atlanta has. His comp from some scouts is Steelers RB James Conner/ former Falcons RB Michael Turner. He could vulture TDs if Atlanta wants to use him in short yardage. If anything happens to Freeman he’s probably the main beneficiary in what seems like a RBBC.
Wide Receiver/Tight Ends- Julio Jones is absolutely maddening for fantasy owners. He’s one of, if not, the most talented WRs in the NFL, but for some reason doesn’t get a lot of TDs. He’s the Andre Johnson of this fantasy era. His unselfish team play is great for team chemistry, but not for fantasy stats. Still he’s one of the best WRs out there and warrants an early round pick. Calvin Ridley, a fellow Crmson Tide alum mans the other side. He’ll see a lot of single coverage with defenses focused on stopping Jones. It’s hard to believe he’ll repeat 10 TDs again. The law of averages should kick in and regression looks likely. Mohammed Sanu is the 3rd WR. Sanu is a big WR, but too slow to get a lot of yards after the catch. Austin Hooper is the tight end. He had 71 catches last year and head coach Dan Quinn thinks he’s just scratching the surface. We’ll see.
Offensive Line- Very Good Jake Mathews and Alex Mack anchor the line. They’re both all-pros. The Falcons were frustrated with their running attack and invested high draft picks in rookies Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary.. They also signed James Carpenter in free agency. They want to play more physical and these additions make this a stout unit capable of putting up a lot of points.
Schedule- Good Seattle, LA Rams, Tampa, Tennessee all look like favorable matchups. It never hurts playing half of your games in a dome with perfect weather conditions.
Bye- Week 9
Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17 Okay- NO, CAR, at SF, JACK All of these defenses are tough, but 3 of the 4 games are at home where the Falcons offense tends to come alive. This team is built to score points. It’s hard to believe anyone can completely shut them down at home. The game in SF could be problematic though. 49’ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is very familiar with Atlanta’s personnel as a former offensive coordinator and might know how to stop them. Other than that- they should do decent.
Undervalued- Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman
Overvalued- Calvin Ridley
Bottom Line- The Falcons should be one of the top offenses in the league. Upgrades to the offensive line should have a positive, domino effect throughout the offense including bigger running lanes for Devonta Freeman and a cleaner pocket for Matt Ryan. Freeman is finally healthy and seems like he’s sitting on a big year. The only worry is if Atlanta pulls him at the goal line for a bigger RB like rookie Qadree Ollison. Still he’s worth the risk costing only a 4th rd pick in the latest ADP data which seems like a bargain. Freeman can get points both rushing and catching passes. Julio Jones is also slightly undervalued. If he ever caught double digit TDs he’d be the perfect fantasy WR. He’s consistently ranked among the top Wr for receiving yards. Calvin Ridley, while talented doesn’t have the size or speed to be a #1 WR Expecting him to repeat his 10 TD performance seems unlikely.