Sunday, June 25, 2017

Atlanta Falcons 2017 Fantasy Football Preview

By: Hunter Hamberlin

The Atlanta Falcons’ 2016 season was a wonderful year...if we disregard the heartbreaking outcome. Nonetheless, many players had great fantasy years from a statistical standpoint. Let’s take a look.

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan had the best season of his career, rightfully earning league MVP. Like his jersey number, Matty Ice was number two in fantasy points for quarterbacks—3rd among all players—with 348 points, according to ESPN Fantasy Football.

It will be interesting to see what Matt Ryan’s fantasy numbers look like next year. Expect similar numbers this coming season because his supporting staff will be returning. Do not get too hung up on Kyle Shanahan’s departure. Steve Sarkisian should do just fine.

Julio Jones

Julio Jones’ 260 fantasy points ranked 6th among wide receivers in 2016. Jet Jones averaged over 100 yards per game, but his number of touchdowns were relatively low.
Expect Julio Jones in the red zone much more in 2017. Sarkisian has said Julio will get more targets in the end zone next season. Fantasy owners should expect more touchdowns, and hope for another 300-yard game.

Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman

Devonta Freeman finished 6th among running backs with 284 fantasy points during the regular season. His running mate Tevin Coleman managed 191 fantasy points. Those are substantial numbers from two running backs with two different playing styles.

Devonta Freeman has repeatedly said that he wants to be “more disrespectful” running the football next season. That is a bold, and intimidating statement from a running back that can certainly back it up. Tevin Coleman has the speed and the hands to get the ball into the end zone when Freeman is sidelined.

Taylor Gabriel, Mohammed Sanu and Justin Hardy

Mohammed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel were certainly important pieces of the Falcons’ offense last season. Fantasy wise, their numbers were impressive considering they are not primary targets. Sanu racked up 149 fantasy points, while Gabriel acquired 140 fantasy points.

Justin Hardy managed 65 fantasy points last season. He’s received high praises from both coaches and players alike during mini-camp, so look for his numbers to have a boost in the 2017 season.


Ranked 16th in fantasy points, the defense put up 88 fantasy points in 2016. The defense got better as the season went on, and the Falcons claimed dominant victories in their final four games of the regular season.

The Falcon’ defense stepped up when they needed to last season and managed to hold the Seahawks to 20 points and the Packers to just 21 points.

Look for the Falcons to skyrocket up this list next season. With Dan Quinn maintaining an emphasis on takeaways, the Atlanta Falcons’ defense should rack up fantasy points from a position where points are not always expected. 

Hunter Hamberlain: @Chips_Ahoy94

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Falcons Have a Well Rounded Tight End Corps

By: Hunter Hamberlin

Until recently, the Falcons’ tight ends have not generated much buzz. To their defense, Tony Gonzalez set a high standard. However, the Dirty Birds’ tight end corps is actually solid.

Jacob Tamme, Austin Hooper, Levine Toilolo, Joshua Perkins, and DJ Tialavea all combined for 11 touchdowns last season. Austin Hooper led the tight ends with four touchdowns—three during the regular season and one in the Super Bowl. Jacob Tamme was right behind Hooper with three touchdowns, even though he injured his shoulder in Week 8. Usually a blocking tight end, Levine Toilolo reached the endzone twice in 2016. Joshua Perkins and DJ Tialavea both scored one touchdown.

11 touchdowns is not an impressive number of touchdowns between five players, but considering this team has arguably the best offensive supporting staff at their disposal…it is impressive.

Jacob Tamme was to Austin Hooper what Dwight Freeney was to Vic Beasley. Tamme set a great example for Austin Hooper to learn from. Ironically, the development of Austin Hooper could be a good reason why Atlanta has not  resigned Tamme.

Toilolo is a good as they come as it pertains to being a blocking tight end. He could become more of a redzone threat in 2017. Regarding Perkins and Tialavea, they both show potential, but have had little playing time to really gauge their overall talent. 

Joining the tight end group is fifth round selection Eric Saubert from Drake University. He has the size, athleticism, and speed to become a solid tight end in the NFL. However, according to Bleacher Report, he needs to work on his catching and “has to learn to play to his size.” Saubert has much to learn, but should fit in well in Atlanta.

Consistency is key in football, and the tight end corps of the Falcons is as consistent as they come.  

Hunter Hamberlin: @Chips_Ahoy94