The Atlanta Falcons are an absolute disaster right now, and if you invested heavily in the Dirty Birds this year in fantasy football, you're feeling the pain too.
The Falcons were actually my pick to win the Super Bowl this year, behind the arm of Matt Ryan and the development of third-year wide receiver Julio Jones. And honestly, despite a slow start to the season, I was feeling pretty good about them picking things up in the second half when Roddy White and Steven Jackson got healthy.
And then, Jones got hurt and was lost for the season. Jones, in my opinion, was playing as well as any NFL wide receiver when he was injured. Then, we learned White -- hampered by a ankle sprain all season so far -- suffered a hamstring injury and will miss the first game of his nine-year NFL career today. Jackson, who suffered a hamstring injury in week 2 and was expected to return this week after the Falcons bye, also remains sidelined indefinitely.
Bad times indeed and suddenly one of the most fantasy-friendly offenses in the NFL is in shambles.
And while he's still standing and healthy, Matt Ryan owners should panic. As good as Matty Ice is, even he can't get it done without sufficient weapons. And when nearly twice retired Tony Gonzales is the best you got, you're in for a rough go.
For what it's worth, I think Gonzales is still fantasy viable despite the myraid injuries in Atlanta. Gonzo is going to have value because Ryan has to complete passes to someone.
WR Harry Douglas? Not so much. he was a popular sleeper option this week, but I'm not buying. He's undersized and, if he were any good, would've been a fantastic PPR option out of the slot when everyone else was healthy because no one would've bothered to cover him. Oh, and this week he'll likely draw Darrell Revis. Let someone else make this mistake.
RBs Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling will have some value until Jackson gets back, especially in PPR leagues. When Ryan isn't finding Gonzo, expect him to check down often. Both are solid pass catchers.
When and if Jackson comes back, he should actually be pretty valuable. Remember, he played on some pretty bad teams in St. Louis where the offense filtered through him and was still a very good fantasy back. Consider seeking out the S-Jax owner in your league and buying low.
In the meantime, here are some guys who can help -- or hurt -- your team this week.