(WITH FANTASY OVERVIEW)
Last season was a disaster for the Falcons. The worst record since Mike Vick was arrested and Matt Ryan was selected #3 overall in the following draft. Matt Ryan had a long off-season to think about his worst season since he joined the league.
He lost one of his favorite targets Tony Gonzalez but, is hoping that Julio Jones and Roddy White will be able to stay healthy this year. The Falcons got younger and in my opinion better on the right side of the o-line with adding John Asamoah from KC and drafting Jake Mathews 6 overall out of Texas A&M. The Center position is up for grabs between Joe Hawley and Peter Konz. Looks like the roles will be reversed from last year seeing that Hawley has been taking most of the first team snaps in practice. Steven Jackson will be back for his 11th season and trying to prove that he is still capable of being an every down back.
The rushing game may be in trouble if Jackson goes down this year. Jason Snelling is no longer in Atl and Jacquizz Rodgers is the only back that has any real experience carrying the ball in the NFL. The rest of the guys behind Jackson and Rodgers have only 5 total carries. Roddy White was hampered all year with injuries along with Julio Jones missing 11 games. White finished with less then 1000 yds for the first time in 7 years finishing with just 700 yards.
Harry Douglass was the only receiver to go over 1000 last year for Atlanta. This year I am expecting this trio of White, Jones, and Douglass to be the first trio since Arizona in 2008 to all surpass 1000 yards each. Lavine Toilolo will be playing the same position that Tony Gonzales vacated. If he is half the player the future the Hall of Famer the coaches will be content.
The secondary has gone through a lot of changes this off season losing Robert McClain, Asante Samuel and Robert DeCoud. Atlanta had only 10 INTs 3rd worst in the league while allowing 31 TDs 4th most in the NFL. The secondary needs guys that will step up and become familiar with the system.
Desmond Trufant had a great Rookie year in 2013 with 70 tackles but only 2 INTs. Adding CB Josh Wilson and Dwight Lowery should be enough to keep them in the middle of the pack. Paul Worrilow is entering his 2nd season after leading the team it tackles with 127, 41 more then William Moore who finished 2nd. Jonathan Babineaux will be in front of Worrilow along side Kroy Bierman looking to apply pressure on the opposing QB and maintain the edge in the run game.
The rushing D was 2nd worst in yards allowing over 2,100 yards only behind Chicago. The Falcons need to create more turnovers and stay healthy on offense this year if they have any hopes of making the playoffs.
6-10 3rd NFC South
Key Games (the bye is in week 9)
Week 1 vs NO Week 3 Thurs vs TB Week 8 vs Det Week 14 MNF @GB
Matt Ryan Proj. 4,700 yards 30 TDs 14 INTs Solid QB if you are playing the QB waiting game currently going as QB9. High floor low ceiling guy with 3 good WRs around him. The improved o-line will give him more time to throw and the possibility that they will be trailing a lot this year he will be placed in a lot of passing situations.
Julio Jones 1300 YDS 12 TDs was having a great start last year scoring double digit pts each of the first 4 weeks and 9 pts week 5 where he went down for the year. Currently going WR6 and will be a reliable option to build your team around.
Roddy White 1150 yds 6 TDs was nagged by injuries for most of the year last year but when healthy put up 3 14+ pt games in the last 5 games of the year. WR19 White is a great option in the middle rounds.
Douglas was dependent on injuries to his teammates having his best 2 games while Jones and White were out. I believe that he is capable of totaling 1050 yds 5 TDs.
Steven Jackson 750 yds 7 TDs last year was the worst of his career. He missed 4 games and only totaled 534 yds 7 total TDs. There is not much behind him on the depth chart so losing playing time is not likely. RB26 is an appropriate slot for him to be drafted. I won't touch him in any of my leagues. The TEs are not worth drafting.