Coming off a ridiculous fantasy matchup in week 14, the Atlanta Falcons are facing another potential fantasy explosion in week 15 as the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town.
After throwing for 375 yards and four touchdown on the Frozen Tundra, Matt Ryan returns to the cozy confines of the Georgia Dome where he plays much better than on the road.
In five home games this season “Matty Ice” has thrown for 1,639 yards, and 15 of his 25 touchdowns. And with a Steelers secondary who, despite giving up less than 250 yards per game, fantasy owners that are fortunate enough to still be alive in the fantasy playoffs must be licking their chops. Since the offensive line has seemed to settle itself and play much better since the Falcons’ week nine bye it is no coincidence that Ryan has emerged from his annual fantasy rut.
When Ryan is given time to allow routes down the field to develop, and many times he is looking for Julio Jones. Since the Falcons’ offensive line has played better so has Ryan and in-turn Jones has returned to the form that has many touting him as a top-3 fantasy receiver going into the season.
Jones has been on an absolute tear of late, catching 26 passes for 516 yards and three touchdowns over the last three weeks and with Ike Taylor and William Gay starting at cornerback for the Steelers it is hard to imagine Jones, should he be healthy, not absolutely torch them for over 100 yards and a score.
Jones is currently leading the NFL in receiving yards with 1,428 yards. But he is followed closely by Antonio Brown of the Steelers who has 1,375 yards but he has a significant edge in catches (105 to 93) and touchdowns (11 to six). Although Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant has been lights out this year it is hard to imagine him totally shuting down Brown, who has built quite the reputation of being the elite-CB killer. I fully expect both Brown and Jones to go off this week, I could easily see them combine for close to 300 yards and three touchdowns.
This is good news for both Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger. Both signal callers have been up and down fantasy starts this season but with neither defense being necessarily stout I see this turning into a shootout, with both quarterbacks throwing for well over 300 yards and tossing three or more touchdowns in the Georgia Dome.
Despite this however, there is no way you are benching Le’Veon Bell if he is on your roster. Bell has been arguably the fantasy MVP this season with 1,924 total yards and eight total touchdowns, including back-to-back 200 yard games. With a Falcons defense that is giving up over 120 yards a game on the ground and have been pretty bad covering receivers over the middle I see Bell, and to a lesser extent Heath Miller, having huge days in the middle of the field. I see Bell finishing with another 200-yard day and multiple scores.
For the Falcons running game, with this likely turning into a shootout and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s propensity to completely abandon the run game once the team is down 10 or more points, which is extremely likely this week, I don’t see any Falcons back worth starting. I think Steven Jackson does end up getting a short touchdown run but besides that I see him being about what he has been. Which is about 15 touches for 75 yards.