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Detroit is like a junior version of the Falcons…if Atlanta had no running backs.
Detroit has a better than people think defense, as does Atlanta…but Atlanta's is better. Matt Stafford is a strong-armed version of Matt Ryan – making most of their throws to one guy, Golden Tate/Julio Jones. Both QBs are solid 'B-' guys…not great but not bad…not emerging…just reliable and more good than bad.
Atlanta is a little better at RB, WR, O-Line and defense with similarly good QBs. It's no surprise these two teams played to the last second with the game on the line, but that Atlanta won…because Atlanta is the better-Detroit.
As mediocre as these two teams played, I thought the Falcons held more control…but not by much. I'm re-looking at the Atlanta win over Green Bay and realizing the Packers aren’t that good either. Atlanta should have lost to the Bears and almost lost here to the Lions. Atlanta is a lucky 3-0 team…they are not the dominant NFC team at this point. Dallas would whack them. Atlanta is the better version of Detroit…and Dallas is the better version of Atlanta…and was last year. Aaron Rodgers spared the Falcons finding out last season's playoffs.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The old Taylor Gabriel (5-79-1/6) was back this week. Finally. What the hell offensive coordinators think possessing that guy and not doing anything with him…not leaning on him…I have no idea. The guy is the closest thing to Tyreek Hill in the league right now and the Falcons are taking a nap on it.
He made a great diving catch…because he's an excellent receiver. He caught a designed bubble screen, and raced it 40+ yards for a TD…like he did several times last year when he scored more TDs than Julio Jones in 2017…in fewer games/fewer touches.
I'd recommend dipping back in with Gabriel, after me saying give up a few weeks ago because they weren't using him. Atlanta is re-waking back up, hopefully. Last man on the bench/#5 WR, etc. to take a look on your fantasy roster to see if he is 'lit' once again.
-- Conversely, Julio Jones (7-91-0/12) is not to be interrupted from 1-4pm ET because he is napping. Be very quiet as not to disturb him. The more I watch him the less impressed I am. I know he has mega skills, but he is sleepwalking through games. He's not playing with 100% effort in my estimation.
Now just 2 TDs in his last 11 regular-season…Odell Beckham just had 2 TDs in a game with a mostly good knee. Julio cannot be considered a top 5 WR if he can only score 2 TDs in 11 games. It's silly. He has no TDs this season-to-date.
It probably doesn't help that Matt Ryan (24-35 for 294 yards, 2 TD/3 INT) played a terrible game. How he was the league MVP last year, I don’t know. He so stares down Julio Jones and throws it to him no matter what coverage is on him…the Lions had two guys plastered on Julio all game and Ryan still tried to bomb it to him deep several times. Ryan's lucky he didn't have 4-5 picks in this game.
Matt Ryan may be my least favorite 'good' QB in the NFL. I really don’t get him.
-- You’d rather have Golden Tate (7-58-1/11) than Julio Jones in PPR leagues these days. If you don’t think so – you’re out of touch with the last 5-10-15 games between these guys in output.
Julio trades as a strong WR1 still. Tate trades more like a distrusted WR2…which is why we had him as a top 'Undervalued Asset' for 2017 in the preseason – but no one really reacted to it. There's something about him people don’t trust.
The numbers don’t lie.
7.0 rec, 63.3 yards, 0.33 TDs per game = Tate 2017
6.7 rec, 85.9 yards, 0.37 TDs per game = Tate's last 11 games of 2016
-- The last two games, Devonta Freeman (21-106-1, 3-32-0) has taken 19 and 21 carries respectively. He has clearly put Tevin Coleman (6-46-0, 3-43-0/5) in his rearview mirror with the new O-C.
-- Don’t bail on Theo Riddick (4-38-0/9). In Week 2, the NYG-DET game was bizarre and the Lions didn’t need to pass, which is rare. In his two other games, Riddick has averaged 8.0 targets per game and 5.0 catches. He's fine for an RB2-3. Don’t panic.
-- Every time I watch Lions games, Miles Killebrew (8 tackles) is in the mix on most plays. He's going to become a starter and apparently a producer. I didn’t think his game was built for the NFL but he looks better than I've ever seen him.
Snap Counts of Interest…
34 = Riddick
29 = Abdullah
53 = Killebrew (78%)
58 = Julio
57 = Sanu
36 = Gabriel
15 = Hardy