After a much needed bye week, the struggling Atlanta Falcons (2-6) return back to the United States for a week 10 match-up with the also struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7).
Neither team has lit the world on fire in recent weeks on the field or in fantasy lineups and if you remember the last time these two teams met was the last time the Falcons looked like an NFL team.
And what a glorious time that was.
But that was then, and this is now. And the Falcons have transformed from an offensive juggernaut to a team that collapsed offensively in their week eight 22-21 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Although the Falcons have historically handled Tampa Bay very well under Matt Ryan the road struggles for Matty Ice have been well documented this year, almost to the point where it feels like a dead horse, but the fact remains outdoors he doesn’t perform as well.
However this weekend, facing a porous Bucs secondary he has a shot to return to fantasy form to start the second half, but that is all taken with the caveat that the offensive line that has been throttled by injuries can at least get in the way of Gerald McCoy and company. However if they do in fact resemble the steamy pile of dog doodie that they had in recent weeks I see Ryan having a long afternoon in Tampa.
And the same could be said for Julio Jones and the receiving corps. If Ryan is getting hit before he can even get halfway through a three-step drop there is no way any receiver can have any value of consequence. The Falcons are at their best offensively when Ryan has even a few seconds for routes to develop downfield – namely Jones, who has slowed down considerably since a redonkulous start to the season. I still see him eating in one way or the other. I say he has a very good chance of ending his scoring drought this week. He hasn’t scored singe the aforementioned week three victory.
However Jones still is having a great year. He is on pace for over 100 catches and 1,400 yards so he is a stud and you are starting him regardless. However the second-tier pass catchers are really a roll of the dice. I see Ryan throwing two or three touchdowns but besides Julio it is anyones guess who they go it. Between Roddy White, Harry Douglas, Steven Jackson and even Leavine Toiololo it is anyone’s guess who catches those balls. But of those names I would say Roddy White is the safest bet so I would start him as well as a WR3 or flex.
For the Bucs, quarterback Mike Glennon has reportedly been benched for Josh McCown, because…. Well Lovie Smith is an incompetent. Or some other reason, but that is the only logical explanation. And with the switch it is hard to trust any Bucs pass catcher, even Mike Evans who has been on an absolute tear of late, but that was with Glennon under center. Granted Evans, and even Vincent Jackson have one thing the Falcons have struggled defending – height. The two Tampa Bay wideouts are not necessarily the best receivers the Falcons have faced of late their sheer height could prove troublesome for Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. The latter of two has been downright nasty this season but Alford on the other hand has been a little susceptible to the long ball and/or pass interference penalties.
Speaking of Steven Jackson, unless you are absolutely desperate you are staying away from the Falcons running game. Steven Jackson is still leading the committee – much to the chagrin of many fans and Antone Smith’s ridiculous scoring streak appears to have slowed down tremendously and when he isn’t breaking off those 65-yard runs he just isn’t touching the ball enough to be fantasy relevant.
On the other hand, the Bucs have a great opportunity to succeed on the ground, unless Doug Martin gets significant touches that is. Remember what I said previously about the QB switch? The same could be said about the continued use of Doug Martin. He isn’t good. If the Bucs actually want to get something done on the ground the smart money is on Bobby Rainey who has absolutely outperformed the former first-round pick. Should Rainey see significant touches there is no way, barring him forgetting how to hang on to the ball like in week three that he doesn’t finish the day with over 100 yards.
In this game Ryan and Julio are the only for sure starters and depending on needs and whatnot Rainey and Roddy could be solid starts as well. Everyone else should be avoided if at all possible.