Atlanta Falcons Fantasy Outlook: Week 14 vs. Saints

by Evan Birchfield

Welcome back, Rise Up Readers! It is I, the self-proclaimed Fantasy Guru, Evan. Hopefully you all won last week, and now you’re coming to me for advice in your fantasy playoff matchup? Maybe you just enjoy my articles? Whatever reason, I’m happy to see you’ve returned for the Week 14 outlook.

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Now, before we dive into the Falcons-Saints game, let’s review the Vikings game. The Falcons ultimately lost, and sadly the offense didn’t score. This had a big effect on fantasy scores for every Falcons offensive player.

I predicted Matt Ryan to have below-average performance, and he did. Matt Ryan had his worst fantasy performance of the 2017 season, giving his owners only 8.75 points after having 20 points or more in his last six games.

I predicted a good game for WR Mohamed Sanu, which he didn’t have unfortunately. He did, however, outperform WR Julio Jones, as I predicted. Last week, I got K Matt Bryant and the Falcons defense right on the money in regards to predicted points.

Below are the predictions/outcomes of Week 13:

  • QB Matt Ryan – Prediction: 19.8, Actual: 8.75
  • RB Devonta Freeman – Prediction: 9.9, Actual: 9.1
  • RB Tevin Coleman – Prediction: 10.6, Actual: 9
  • RB Terron Ward – Prediction: 0.0, Actual: 0.0
  • WR Julio Jones – Prediction: 16.8, Actual: 4.4
  • WR Mohamed Sanu – Prediction: 21.9, Actual: 7.3
  • WR Taylor Gabriel – Prediction: 6.2, Actual: 2.1
  • TE Austin Hooper – Prediction: 6.9, Actual: 5.1
  • TE Levine Toilolo – Prediction: 1.3, Actual: 4.5
  • K Matt Bryant – Prediction: 10.0, Actual: 10.0
  • Defense – Prediction: 3.0, Actual: 3.0

And now, your Week 14 predictions:

Quarterback

Thursday night, the Falcons will be dawning their Nike Color Rush jerseys, which were announced last season. I’m hoping the mixture of excitement and urgency to win is enough for the Falcons offense to show up for this game.

QB Matt Ryan will be facing a New Orleans Saints team that has given up the 15th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Last week against the Minnesota Vikings was the first time Matt Ryan hadn’t thrown a touchdown since the 2015 season.

I expect him to bounce back this game, especially if the Saints’ CB Marshon Lattimore is inactive. I expect this game will be a shootout, hopefully ending in a Falcons victory.

Prediction:

  • QB Matt Ryan – 23.47 points

Running back

The Falcons got RB Devonta Freeman back in Week 13 after missing the last two games. He, along with RB Tevin Coleman, faced a tough challenge in the Minnesota Vikings, and it showed in their fantasy performances.

Freeman has a solid day, receiving 12 carries for 74 yards. Coleman returned to his backup role, getting only eight carries after receiving 19 or more carries in the three games prior to last weekend. Freeman has yet to score following the Falcons Week 5 Bye Week, but I have a feeling it’s coming this week. In the past four games against the Saints, Devonta Freeman has five touchdowns.

Prediction:

  • RB Devonta Freeman – 17.9 points
  • RB Tevin Coleman – 8.4 points

Wide Receiver

Coming off an incredible fantasy performance by Julio Jones, he came back down to earth against the Vikings. I had a feeling he would against a shutdown defensive back such as CB Xavier Rhodes.

Julio had his worst performance of the season, going for only 24 yards on two receptions. Julio should bounce back against an average Saints passing defense, but I wouldn’t expect anything crazy. Julio’s a must-start always, so don’t start outthinking yourself here.

Sanu, on the other hand, has been a quality WR2/Flex option, but unreliable. Sanu is a textbook definition of “hit-or-miss”, and for the sake of being optimistic, I’m saying he’s a hit on Thursday night. I recommend staying away from WR Taylor Gabriel, as he has only had two games this season where he’s scored more than 10 points.

Prediction:

  • WR Julio Jones – 17.4 points
  • WR Mohamed Sanu – 11.5 points
  • WR Taylor Gabriel – 3.8 points

Tight end

TE Austin Hooper has continued his streak of bad performances, having three straight games of seven or less points. Unfortunately, his streak is bound to continue as the Saints defense is the 8th best in the league against opposing tight ends. This is the first playoff week in many leagues, so I can’t in good conscious recommend taking a chance on Hooper. He has the potential to have a good game, but I think it’s too much of a risk this week. Also, don’t start Toilolo…just don’t.

Prediction:

  • TE Austin Hooper – 6.9 points
  • TE Levine Toilolo – 7.6 points

Kicker

For the second time this season, I predicted K Matt “Money” Bryant’s fantasy score correctly. So, what I’m saying is, if you were going to take my advice for only one position, this should be it. Matt Bryant’s one of the most reliable fantasy kickers in the league, so if you have him, you’re starting him this week. Even though the Saints have given up the 13th fewest fantasy points to kickers this season, I still expect Matt Bryant to perform well.

Prediction:

  • K Matt Bryant – 11.0 points

Defense

I recommend avoiding the Falcons defense, probably for the remainder of your fantasy season. Even though they are decent in real life, in the fantasy world, they’re too unreliable. This week, they’re facing one of the best offenses in the league and are likely to be scored on often.

I expect this game to be similar to the Patriots game on the defensive side of the ball, but hopefully I’m wrong here. Keep in mind the Saints have given up the 6th fewest fantasy points to defenses this season.

Prediction:

  • Falcons Def – 2.0 points

Well folks, that concludes my Week 14 Falcons fantasy outlook. For those of you with fantasy matchups this week, I wish you the best. Remember not to overthink yourself, which is very easy to do this time of the year.

Hopefully Friday morning, your Falcons players set you up with an early lead going into the weekend. As always, if you’d like to reach me for fantasy questions, Falcons topics, or just about anything else, you can find me on Twitter at @EvanBirchfield.

Best of luck, and go with your gut!

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