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Atlanta Falcons Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2024

Most Recent Fantasy Football News & Updates

Falcons QB Kirk Cousins did some light jogging and throwing at Tuesday's OTA session. It's a positive sign as he works back from his October 29 Achilles tear. With about four months to go before the season opener, Cousins is seemingly on track to be cleared for Week 1.

The Falcons selected Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. in Round 1 of the NFL Draft. It’s been a long road for Penix, whose college career began at Indiana. Unfortunately, injuries stole headlines in his four years as a Hoosier. In 2018, he missed four games with a right ACL tear. Four more games were lost the following season due to a right shoulder injury. Then in 2020, Penix retore his right ACL, costing him the last two games. Finally, a shoulder injury robbed him of seven games in 2021. It’s an exhaustive injury history for sure. But his comeback story certainly ended on a high note. Transferring to Washington in 2021, Penix excelled in an play-action based, downfield attack. He compiled 4,641-31-8 in 13 games while playing with a trio of NFL-caliber WRs: Rome Odunze, Ja'Lynn Polk, and Jalen McMillan. He recorded nine games north of 300 yards. Come 2023, Penix became the first player with 4,500+ yards in back-to-back seasons since Patrick Mahomes (2015-2016). So production/experience – along with arm strength – supply the bull case. On the flip side, it’s fair to question how Penix will perform outside of an excellent situation. That includes his blocking, as Washington’s O-line allowed only 16 sacks over the past two seasons. We also saw what happened when pressure reached Penix in the National Championship vs. Michigan. That game produced his lowest PFF passing grade (50.1) and yards per attempt (5.0) of the year. The Atlanta landing spot is a true head-scratcher. Kirk Cousins just inked a multi-year deal worth $100 million guaranteed. Perhaps he’s not ready to start come Week 1 – but there’s not a clear path to consistent playing time for Penix.

The Falcons acquired WR Rondale Moore from the Cardinals in exchange for QB Desmond Ridder. Moore is coming off a disappointing 2023 campaign, mustering just 40 catches for 352 yards and one TD over 17 games. He struggled with injuries over his first two NFL seasons but averaged 4.3 catches and 39 yards per game. Still only 23, Moore has a chance to rebound with the Falcons. But he was a low average-target-depth player in college and has remained so as a pro, so he needs significant volume to deliver in fantasy. That'll be tough to find in Atlanta alongside WR Drake London, TE Kyle Pitts, and RB Bijan Robinson. The Falcons also added WR Darnell Mooney to the pass-catching corps in free agency. It's a solid group for QB Kirk Cousins. Ridder, meanwhile, will be no threat to QB Kyler Murray in Arizona. Ridder is only worth rostering in deeper superflex dynasty leagues.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that WR Darnell Mooney is signing a three-year deal with the Falcons. Mooney joins an offense that now has QB Kirk Cousins and features a new coaching staff. Mooney might have trouble ranking higher than fourth in targets, with WR Drake London, TE Kyle Pitts, and RB Bijan Robinson likely drawing more focus. But Mooney and his 11.7-yard career average target depth can fit nicely as a downfield worker. Expect him to be more of a later-round best ball factor than worthwhile option in lineup-setting formats. Check our best ball rankings for his updated position.

The Falcons have agreed to a four-year deal with QB Kirk Cousins, his agent announced Monday. That obviously gives Atlanta the best QB it has had since Matt Ryan left after the 2021 season. Cousins is coming off an Oct. 29 Achilles' tendon tear. We'll have to watch his progress through the summer. But the Falcons' commitment says they believe he'll be ready to lead the offense. Moving away from WR Justin Jefferson and TE T.J. Hockenson presents a challenge. But Cousins inherits arguably even more overall talent in Atlanta: WR Drake London, "TE" Kyle Pitts, and RB Bijan Robinson. As long as Cousins is physically ready, this will be an intriguing 2024 offense. London already landed among our fantasy football breakouts for 2024. Minnesota now has a big question to answer at QB, with Cousins and Baker Mayfield (who had been a potential free agent) off the market.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio writes that he has "very credible indications" that QB Kirk Cousins is "seriously considering" a move to Atlanta to sign with the Falcons. Cousins' wife grew up near Atlanta, and the Falcons "have always been the top alternative to the Vikings for Cousins," per Florio. Cousins would be a nice fit playing indoors in new OC Zac Robinson's offense with WR Drake London, TE Kyle Pitts, and RB Bijan Robinson. Likewise, a move for Cousins would be excellent news for the fantasy value of Atlanta's key weapons. We should know who Cousins will be playing for in 2024 within the next couple of weeks.

Consider Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. one of the winners of the 2024 NFL Combine. Per NFL insider Ian Rapoport, Penix’s medical exams were “extremely positive.” That’s huge considering his injury history: two torn ACLs (both to his right knee), a separated A/C joint, and a fractured clavicle. The Indiana transfer excelled in an aggressive, downfield attack over the past two seasons. Throwing to top WRs like Rome Odunze, Ja'Lynn Polk, and Jalen McMillan, Penix led the nation with 4,903 passing yards in 2023. There's not much of a rushing ceiling to chase, however. So while Penix is a potential Round 1 pick come April, he’s not someone to prioritize in 1-QB dynasty rookie drafts.

QB Kirk Cousins posted video on Monday of him dropping back and throwing passes. He's about four months removed from his torn Achilles and has had a setback-free recovery by all accounts. "Encouraged by the progress," Cousins wrote. He and the Vikings are reportedly in talks on a contract extension ahead of March 12, when Cousins' current contract will void. Turning 36 in August and coming off a significant injury, Cousins is a bit of a wildcard heading into 2024. But he remained very effective before last year's injury, completing 69.5% of his passes and ranking fourth in Pro Football Focus passing grade.

Falcons RB Bijan Robinson shared one of his goals for the 2024 season. "I want 2,000 yards rushing," Robinson told Sports Illustrated. "I know those are big expectations, what we can do as an offense, with all the weapons, our O-line with [OC] Zac [Robinson] being at the helm… it can be something special.” As a rookie, Robinson tallied 976 rushing yards across 17 games. And note: in league history, only eight RBs have reached 2,000 rushing yards. Clearly, it's an aspirational goal. Still, Robinson should push for the league lead in touches, making him a top-3 target in our fantasy football RB rankings.

We should know by March 12 whether QB Kirk Cousins will stay with the Vikings in 2024. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports that the final four years on Cousins' current contract will void that day, the last of the league year. More importantly, the resulting $28.5 million in dead cap would immediately apply to Minnesota's 2024 salary cap. The Vikings could offset that by signing Cousins to an extension before March 12 and are reportedly working on that. If the two sides don't agree by then, the veteran QB would reach the open market. We'll be interested to see not only how those talks play out, but also what Cousins gets coming off an Achilles' tear and heading into his age-36 campaign. For now, you shouldn't treat him as more than a low QB2 in best ball drafting.

The Falcons are hiring Zac Robinson as their new OC under HC Raheem Morris, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The 37-year-old Robinson played QB at Oklahoma State from 2006 to 2009. He was selected in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Patriots but never attempted a regular-season pass across four seasons. Robinson then spent some time working as an analyst for Pro Football Focus before joining Sean McVay's Rams in 2019 as assistant QB coach. Robinson worked his way up to QB coach and passing-game coordinator over the last two seasons, but this will be his first time calling plays. Robinson's new offense has plenty of skill-position talent in RB Bijan Robinson, WR Drake London, and TE Kyle Pitts, but QB remains a major question mark. Atlanta currently holds the eighth overall pick in this spring's draft.

The Falcons are hiring Raheem Morris to succeed Arthur Smith as HC, according to multiple reports. This will actually be Morris' second stint as Atlanta head man. He took over the interim role in 2020 after the Falcons fired Dan Quinn. Morris' Falcons went just 4-7 the rest of that season. Morris opened that year as Falcons DC after spending the previous five as assistant HC under Quinn. He also served as HC of the Buccaneers 2009-11 and DC for the Rams the past three seasons, among other coaching stops. Although Morris has spent most of his coaching seasons on defense, he did spend four of those previous Atlanta years as WRs coach -- and three of those as passing-game coordinator as well. Those 2016-19 Falcons leaned pass, especially over the final two years of that span. Ultimately, Morris' offensive staff seems likely to influence the fantasy outlooks of Falcons offensive players more than Morris will. And the biggest fantasy question in Atlanta remains: Who will be the 2024 QB? Arthur Smith's departure should be good for the work shares of players such as Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson. We'll see about the moves yet to come, though.

Falcons TE Kyle Pitts believes the knee he injured in 2022 remained a factor throughout the 2023 campaign. He had surgery on November 29, 2022 to repair MCL and PCL damage to his right knee, missed most of the offseason program, and was limited at the start of training camp. "It's a continual growth in terms of coming off an injury," Pitts said. "So each week was trying to get better, keep getting stronger and, you know, just doing what I need to do to get back to the bionic knee that I used to have. That natural knee, you know, after surgery." Pitts had two of his four best fantasy outings of 2023 over the final five weeks of the season. Hopefully healthier in 2024 and with HC Arthur Smith finally out of the way, Pitts has obvious bounce-back potential.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Falcons have parted ways with HC Arthur Smith. Despite the Falcons spending three consecutive top-10 NFL draft picks on offensive skill position players (TE Kyle Pitts, WR Drake London, RB Bijan Robinson), Smith's teams posted 7-10 records annually since 2021 and never finished within the top half of the NFL in total offensive yards. It's tough to be overly excited about this change without knowing who will take over in Atlanta long-term. Still, dynasty managers everywhere may rejoice and breathe a sigh of relief. Smith's dismissal is an addition by subtraction.

Falcons QB Taylor Heinicke (ankle) is inactive for today’s game vs. the Saints. That puts QB Desmond Ridder back under center for a game Atlanta needs to win to have a shot at a playoff berth. Ridder, of course, would be a weak fantasy play.

Falcons QB Taylor Heinicke (ankle) was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. the Saints. QB Desmond Ridder will be back under center if Heinicke can’t go. It’s not a situation to mess with in Week 18 fantasy lineups.

Bears WR Darnell Mooney (concussion) is out for Sunday’s finale vs. the Packers. WR D.J. Moore should continue to dominate targets from QB Justin Fields.

Falcons QB Taylor Heinicke hurt his left ankle in the Week 17 loss to the Bears and is uncertain for this weekend's game vs. the Saints, HC Arthur Smith said Monday. The team hopes to know whether Heinicke can play by Friday. If not, it'll be back to QB Desmond Ridder. This is not a situation you should be messing with in Week 18 fantasy lioneups.

Falcons WR Drake London had a difficult go in Week 17, catching just 4 of 10 targets for 56 receiving yards vs. the Bears. The second-year wideout ends the fantasy season, having posted six top-30 weekly finishes in PPR scoring, two of which were top-5 performances. London didn’t have a terrible season by any means, but he only saw a bump in PPR points per game from 10.5 in 2022 to 11.1 this year. The bulk of his troubles come from inconsistent volume (6.7 targets per game) and the poor QB play from Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke. Still, he’ll be entering his age-23 season in 2024 and did manage to put up consecutive seasons of 800+ receiving yards. London has a chance to see Atlanta make a QB upgrade in the offseason. Such a move would help his case of potentially elevating his value above being a low-end WR2 in dynasty formats, but we’ll have to remain in ‘wait-and-see’ mode on that front.

Falcons RB Bijan Robinson posted 15 carries for 75 rushing yards in Week 17 vs. the Bears. The rookie was also able to haul in 3 of 4 targets for 11 yards as a receiver in the contest. Though Robinson’s debut campaign had its complications, he’s on pace to become the 17th rookie RB to accumulate 1,000 rushing yards in a season since 2013 and sits as the RB12 overall in PPR scoring. It’s not quite the dominant “2016 Ezekiel Elliott” first season that fantasy managers had hoped for, but it’s encouraging enough to remain optimistic about Robinson as a high-end RB1 in dynasty formats. The biggest potential boon for his value would be if Atlanta chose to move on from HC Arthur Smith after the season and allowed Robinson the opportunity to take on a larger workshare instead of splitting with teammate Tyler Allgeier. Be sure to keep up with us on that front as we head into 2024.

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