Fantasy Football Fanatics; Atlanta Falcon 2012 Offseason Breakdown

Fantasy Football Fanatics

2012 Preseason Breakdown: Atlanta Falcons

Stadium: Georgia Dome

Schedule Strength: 1 (easiest schedule)

Postseason Weather issues: None

Offensive Line Ranking: 28th

Head CoachMike Smith (2008 AP coach of the year);  Smith is a former Linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens (can you say Ray Lewis) and defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Coach Smith has proven he prefers a run-to-set-up the pass Offensive System.  However, like many Head Coaches with a defensive background Coach Smith will have offensive input, but playing calling and game planning typically fall under the guidance of the Offensive Coordinator.

Offensive CoordinatorDirk Koetter;  Coach Koetter is the former Offensive Coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars.  While in Jacksonville, Koetter adhered to a run first mentality adopted largely due to the talents of RB Maurice Jones-Drew, a lack of QB talent (Garrard and Gabbert) coupled with a defensive minded Head Coach (Jack Del Rio).  Koetter is linked to a “vertical passing attack” installed during his time as the Arizona St. Head Coach.  Coincidentally Atlanta has the offensive weapons to stretch the field, along with greatest TE in league history.  We should anticipate the Falcons to continue a balanced attack of pass and run mix, but the deep downfield passing game will be opening up this season.

QBMatt Ryan;  Coming into his fourth season (2011) much was expected of starting Quarterback Matt Ryan.  However, the young signal caller began the season at a snail’s pace posting only one multi-TD game in the first seven weeks (week 2).  After a week 8 Bye, Matty Ice ratcheted up his game becoming the 4th highest scoring QB between weeks 9-16.  Ryan has shown to be incredibly durable, while possessing arguably the best WR tandem in the NFL.  A declining Michael Turner (RB) will force the Falcons to produce more through the aerial attack.  Upon review the Falcons also have the league’s most favorable Regular Season and Postseason Schedule, and playing in a Dome is always a QBs best friend.  Ryan’s only downfall could be a very suspect Offensive Line but the upside has Ryan pegged as a sure fire Top 8 QB or better with a Player Rating of 8.8.

RBMichael “The Burner” Turner;  Turner has become a conundrum of sorts. No major injuries, only 1418 carries over his career, but now on the wrong side of 30 years old.  Last season Turner wore down quickly late in the year posting only one double digit game in weeks 12-16 (which included the Fantasy Postseason).  On the upside, Turner is surprisingly fast for his size while possessing enormous leg strength and a downhill running style that ensures Goal Line Carries (losing TD vulture Jason Snelling doesn’t hurt either).  The Atlanta Falcons are a run-to-set-up-the-pass Offensive System, but also posses the leagues most dangerous WR duo thus relieving defensive pressure from the running game.  In addition Turner has the intangibles that coaches love; Work ethic, leadership, pass blocking and he rarely fumbles (4 lost fumbles in two seasons).  The inability to play in the passing game has always been his Achilles heel, and a subpar run blocking Offensive Line will limit production.  All told, “The Burner” should have one more solid season as the Falcons “bell-cow-RB” giving Turner high end RB2 status and a 8.5 Rating  (Handcuffs – Jacquizz Rodgers)

WR1Roddy White;  Surpassing 80 receptions and 1150 yards in five consecutive seasons Roddy White has quietly become the prolific fantasy WR over that stretch (almost unrecognized).  White’s only downfall is the continued emergence of 2nd year WR Julio Jones cutting into his production.  Considered amongst the elite WRs in the game today White has no injury history equaling a solid Player Rating of 9.0.

WR2Julio Jones;  Plagued by nagging injuries his rookie season Jones displayed flashes of brilliance as a deep downfield threat with the potential to score a TD on every play.  Talent alone should make Jones a hot commodity in fantasy drafts, and rightfully so. 8.8 Rating

TETony Gonzalez;  At age 36 history would indicate Tony Gonzalez should be on the downhill side of his career, and by his standards he is.  However, against all odds Gonzalez just continues to produce solid fantasy numbers.  With 875 yards and 7 touchdowns, the third lowest total of his career, Tony still placed 4th amongst Tight Ends in 2011.  He may no longer be amongst the elite Tight Ends (Gronkowski or Graham), but we could do a whole lot worse. 8.1 Rating

KMatt Bryant;  Bryant has many advantages we look for when selecting a Kicker. 1) Plays on a team with a solid offense, 2) Plays in a Dome, 3) Possess the accuracy and Leg Strength to meet the minimum requirement of 84% and ability to kick FGs over 48 yards. 9.3 Rating

DefAtlanta Falcons;  A low / low D1 meaning better options should be available. 7.8 Rating

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