By Adam Filadelfo (@FNTSYArchitect)
Continuing the Team Preview series, it's time to move over to the NFC
South and take a look at the Atlanta Falcons. Coming off of a
disappointing 2014, the Falcons will look to get back on track in 2015
and make some fantasy owners happy. There aren't many changes heading
into the 2015 season as far as fantasy football is concerned but another
year with Matt Ryan throwing to Julio Jones is always interesting for
fantasy owners. Let's see what the dirty birds have in store for fantasy
owners in 2015.
Matt Ryan- Quarterback- Coming off of a season where fantasy owners may
have been a little disappointed in the former Boston College signal
caller, Matty Ice averaged 22.6 fantasy points per game in 2014 and
scored 25 fantasy points or more in only six games all season. He did
throw for over 4,600 yards and 28 touchdowns but fantasy owners were
expecting a little more production and consistency from the Falcons
quarterback. Expect Ryan to be in the second tier of quarterbacks take
off the board come draft day.
Julio Jones- Wide Receiver- Now entering his fifth season in the NFL,
Julio Jones just seems to get better each and every year. In 2014, Jones
averaged 13 fantasy points per game while seeing 163 targets. He
finished the season with 104 receptions and over 1,500 yards and six
touchdowns. He also scored double digit fantasy points in nine games in
2014. There isn't much else to say about the former Alabama stand out
except fantasy owners should expect more of the same when it comes to
Julio Jones. His only downfall will be if he remains healthy enough to
play a full season.
Roddy White- Wide Receiver- The days of Roddy White being the Falcons
number one wide out are clearly behind him at this point. Regardless of
playing second fiddle behind Julio Jones, White has still been
productive for fantasy owners and the Falcons. His 2014 season saw White
average just under 10 fantasy points per game while seeing 124 targets
for 80 receptions and 924 yards. He also had one more touchdown than
Jones did and one less game of double digit fantasy points. While Roddy
White clearly isn't the top target in Atlanta anymore, he can still give
fantasy owners a boost to their receiving corp. He should not be
overlooked on draft day.
Devin Hester- Wide Receiver- With the exception of a couple of games
early in the season, Hester wasn't much of a fantasy asset in 2014.
Averaging under five fantasy points per game, Hester was nothing more
than a week one waiver wire pickup who could be used in the flex spot
only and really didn't even warrant that. He scored double digit fantasy
points in back to back games in weeks three and four but not again
until week 15. He finished his first season with the Falcons with 38
catches for just over 500 yards and a touchdown. Fantasy owners
shouldn't expect anything more than that heading into 2015.
Justin Hardy- Wide Receiver- The rookie out of East Carolina set a
record for most catches in college football history with 387 and had
4,541 yards and 35 touchdowns to go with it. A fourth round pick in the
2015 draft, fantasy owners should expect Hardy's role to be third
receiver replacing the production the Falcons lost in Harry Douglas but
could supplant Roddy White as the number two before all is said and
done. Justin Hardy has some eye popping numbers coming out of college
and if that talent translates to the NFL, fantasy owners will know the
name Justin Hardy before his rookie season is over.
Devonta Freeman- Running Back- His rookie season was not what fantasy
owners were expecting and Freeman didn't even produce much of anything
in the passing game either. Starting the season behind Steven Jackson,
even when Freeman got the chance to shine, never really did. He averaged
just under four fantasy points per game and produced one game of double
digit fantasy points. And that game came in week 16 versus a pathetic
Saints defense. Freeman may get the chance to show what he can (or
cannot) do in 2015 but fantasy owners don't have much to get excited
over at this point until Freeman proves us wrong.