After a 24-10 loss at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals the Atlanta Falcons will be looking to right the ship on short week as the host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football.
Historically Thursday Night Football games can be a mixed bag from a fantasy perspective and because of this starting players on Thursday night can be a risky proposition. On one hand you could get off to a nice lead in your weekly fantasy matchup but at the same time if you get a dud, it could put you at a distinct disadvantage going into the weekend.
But, if you are a Julio Jones owner, odds are you cannot afford to bench the electrifying Alabama product and after watching the Tampa defense get roasted by two different backup quarterbacks this year there is no reason to expect any different on Thursday night as Matt Ryan, the NFL’s leading passer through two weeks is playing at home—where he is historically a much better fantasy quarterback than on the road. It should be all systems go for the Falcons relevant passing options in fantasy. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White, given he practices at some point before Thursday are all starts, should he not practice then I would suggest finding a better option to avoid a potential Thursday night dud.
I could see in a larger league having a guy like Harry Douglas or Devin Hester as a consideration as a WR3 or a flex but with all 32 teams all playing this week odds are you can find a better option on the waiver wire and for the Falcons running game….. If you are relying on Steven Jackson or any Falcons runner as a starter this early in the season you might be in some trouble. Although running backs tend to show up big on Thursday Night Football I honestly don’t think the Falcons will run the ball enough, or effective enough to be a plausible fantasy option.
On the Bucs side of thing, if Bobby Rainey does get the start for the injured Doug Martin, START HIM. Not only have the Falcons been brutal against the run this season (you all watched what Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard did on Sunday, right?) but he also has shown that he is a more than capable fantasy and real life back and should he get the nod he could be in for a huge night.
The Tampa Bay receivers are interesting fantasy options as well with the Falcons defense being what it is. Although Desmond Trufant has played very well this season he hasn’t faced a receiver as big or physical as either Mike Evans or Vincent Jackson. Whichever guy lines up opposite of Trufant could be his biggest test of the year and although neither receiver has shown they are a consistent enough to fear, the sheer size advantage that they have on both Trufant as well as Robert Alford and Robert McClain and it wouldn’t shock me if one, or both of them end up getting into the end zone which is the only way Josh McCown could even be looked at as even a passable fantasy starter, even in two QB leagues.