2010 NFL Preview: Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons took a step back from their stellar 2008 season, but still managed to win 9 games. Michael Turner’s injuries were a downer, but the glass half-full view saw improvement (at times) in Matt Ryan. A healthy Turner and an even more seasoned Ryan should lead to big things for the Dirty Birds.
Fantasy Playoff Schedule: Moderate
The Falcons play at Carolina and Seattle and then host the Saints. I wouldn’t call this either an easy or a tough schedule at this point. Weather should not play a factor.
Five Star Fantasy Options
Michael Turner – Despite playing in just 11 games (178 carries), Turner managed to run for 871 yards and 10 TDs. He is in better shape than last year, which should serve him well. He also should avoid overuse thanks to Jason Snelling’s performance last year when Turner was out.
Roddy White – Tony Gonzalez’s arrival did not prevent Roddy from putting up a fantastic season (85-1153-11). He has averaged 85 catches for 1246 yards and 8 TDs over the past three years.
Four Star Fantasy Options
Matt Ryan – Ryan threw more TDs (22 compared to 16) last year, but was down elsewhere (2916 yards, 58.3 completion percentage, 80.9 rating compared to 3440, 61.1, 87.7). I expect him to continue to develop into one of the game’s best QBs (both in fantasy and in reality) in his third season.
Tony Gonzalez – He’s 34, but showing no signs of slowing down. Last year he caught 83 passes for 867 yards and 6 TDs. With Turner and White commanding so much attention, Gonzo should turn in another solid year.
Three Star Fantasy Options
Two Star Fantasy Options
Jason Snelling – Snelling filled in admirably for Turner last year running for 613 yards on 142 carries (4.3 ypc) with 4 TDs. He is the primary handcuff to Turner.
Falcons Defense/Special Teams
The Falcons weren’t particularly strong at producing sacks or turnovers last year. They can be used when their match-ups are favorable.
One Star Fantasy Option
Jerious Norwood – Norwood is a change-of-pace RB that tends to get hurt about every third time he touches the ball. In all seriousness, he’s only a viable option if Turner goes down and his workload is increased.
Michael Jenkins – Jenkins only topped 45 yards on five occasions last year. He managed 50 catches for 635 yards and a score, but you can’t rely on that 40 yards per game average.