Week 14 fantasy preview: Atlanta Falcons vs Green Bay Packers

I shouldn’t have to stress how important Monday Night Football is for the Atlanta Falcons and their push for an NFC South title but, I will. This game is a virtual must win if the 5-7 Falcons hope to keep pace with the second-place New Orleans Saints. But with the surging Green Bay Packers next on the slate, they are facing easily the biggest challenge of the season.

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Matt Ryan completes a pass

Now, from a fantasy standpoint this game sets up pretty nicely for both offenses. Aaron Rodgers has been on fire of late, since the Packers’ week nine bye the former Cal Bear has thrown 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions and despite a much improved Falcons defense in recent weeks I don’t see that slowing down.
If you own Aaron Rodgers, then I probably don’t have to tell you to start him, and facing a shotty Falcons defense, at home… Yeah, it’s all systems go for the Packers offense as a whole. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy are all no brainers.
Luckily for Falcons fantasy owners, this game could get ugly pretty quick. I could very well see the Falcons pass rush, or lack thereof, allow Rodgers to simply pick apart the coverage and the Packers jump out to a quick 14-0 lead, which is when Matt Ryan may be at his best in Dirk Koetter’s offense.
However despite the garbage time or shoot out potential this game has, I would be wary of starting Matt Ryan. Despite his “Matty Ice” nickname he has historically struggled in Green Bay. In two career games at Lambeau Field he has managed a mere 400 yards, four TDs and two interceptions. Now that isn’t necessarily horrible by any stretch but in the fantasy playoffs you need more than what I project as 225 yards and two touchdowns and he will probably turn the ball over a time or two on the Frozen Tundra.
I would even say that Davante Adams, who is coming off his first career 100-yard game in Green Bay’s 26-21 victory over New England last Sunday and with the likelihood that he will be lining up against either Robert McClain or Josh Wilson in the slot… He should see plenty of opportunities. The Packers passing game as a whole is all systems go this week, even Jordy Nelson who, pardon the lazy fantasy analysis, will likely be shadowed by Desmond Trufant – who has quietly had himself quite a sophomore season with the Falcons. But even his greatness can’t stop Aaron Rodgers.
With the possibility of this becoming either an ugly blowout or a track meet I would find it hard to trust Steven Jackson in this game. On the surface he should have a big game – cold weather, a shotty defense so the Falcons might want to try to control the clock. But… You’ve watched the Falcons try to run the ball right? Yeah, I’ll pass.
Despite the qualms I have about starting Jackson and Ryan, Julio Jones, much like the Packers’ pass catchers is a no brainer start. Especially coming off a 10 catch, 189 yard performance last week against Arizona. Now, I don’t expect that kind of production out of Julio this week but a 7-95-1 stat line is very realistic for him, now besides him I think one of the Falcons other offensive players will have a nice game as well, but for the life of me I cannot put my finger on which it will be.
I fully expect Jacquizz Rodgers or Eric Weems to catch some fluke three yard TD pass from Ryan late in the game and have a decent enough fantasy day. But good luck picking who will be on the receiving end of said touchdown.