Shark Bites

Falcons WR Julio Jones did not report for the start of mandatory minicamp on Monday as he angles for a new contract. Jones has 3 years left on his current deal but is "only" the league's 8th highest paid WR in average annual salary. "We have been in contact with Julio and his representation," GM Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement. "We will not discuss those conversations publicly except to say we feel they have been productive and constructive." We'll see how long this standoff lasts. But for now, we're not adjusting our projections for Jones.

Falcons TE Austin Hooper has spent "a lot of 1-on-1 time" with QB Matt Ryan this offseason, according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure. Hooper turned in a promising 2nd season, hauling in 49 of 65 targets (75.4% catch rate) for 526 yards and 3 scores. He's capable of making another leap in 2018. The question is whether there are enough targets to turn Hooper into a TE1. He ranked just 17th among TEs in targets last year and now has to contend with 1st-round rookie WR Calvin Ridley joining Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.

The Falcons added Southern Miss RB Ito Smith in the 4th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Smith topped 1,100 rushing yards each of the past 3 seasons and left school with a solid 5.5 yards per carry average. He’s also a strong pass-catcher, averaging 10.3 yards per catch on 140 career grabs. At 5’9 and 195 pounds, he projects as a change-of-pace option at the next level. He has a shot to step in as Atlanta’s #2 RB if Tevin Coleman walks in free agency next offseason.

The Falcons selected Alabama WR Calvin Ridley with the 26th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Ridley broke Amari Cooper’s school record for receiving yards by a freshman with 1,045 in 2015. He didn’t reach 1,000 yards in either his final 2 seasons, although Alabama’s passing game wasn’t as effective. Consider that Ridley posted a 63.6% catch rate last year, while all other Tide wideouts combined to haul in just 52.0% of their targets. Ridley is arriving from a pro-style offense and is 1 of the best route runners in the draft class. In other words, he’s about as pro-ready as they come. The concerns are that he’s small (6’0, 189 pounds), unathletic (8th percentile SPARQ score) and relatively old (he’ll turn 24 in December). It all makes it tough to get excited about his upside. So does the fact that he’s stuck with target hog Julio Jones in the short term. Ridley will battle with Mohamed Sanu for #2 on the totem pole.

Falcons WR Justin Hardy recently underwent surgery on his right shoulder. Recovery is expected to take just "a few weeks," per ESPN's Vaughn McClure, so Hardy's offseason shouldn't be impacted much. He was a non-factor in fantasy this season, finishing with a 20-221-3 line on 29 targets. Hardy could see a few extra looks in 2018 if WR Taylor Gabriel departs in free agency, but he still won't be worth a pick in fantasy drafts.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman told reporters after Saturday's season-ending loss in Philadelphia that he's been playing through MCL and PCL sprains. He was on the injury report with a knee for both the Wild Card and Divisional Rounds, so it looks like the injuries occurred in Week 17. Freeman is hoping to avoid surgery, but we'll keep tabs on him this offseason. He set 3-year lows in carries, rushing yards, catches, receiving yards and total TDs in 2017 -- although he still finished 13th among RBs in PPR points. Freeman is still in the thick of his prime, turning 26 in March.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) isn't listed on the team's final injury report for Saturday night's game against the Rams. HC Dan Quinn said Freeman had "no limitations" in Thursday's practice. So it doesn't sound like the knee will be a concern. Freeman boasts plenty of upside vs. a Rams defense that's allowed 4.5 yards per carry to RBs over the past 5 weeks.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman was held out of Tuesday's practice and listed on the injury report with a knee. HC Dan Quinn said that Freeman will get in some work on Wednesday -- and that he's "encouraged" about his status for Saturday night's game against the Rams. This will be a situation to monitor closely over the next few days, though. Atlanta's best chance of pulling the upset this weekend is by attacking an L.A. run defense that sits 22nd in Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) isn’t listed on the final injury report after putting in limited practices on Thursday and Friday. There was never any concern about his status for this weekend’s game against the Saints. Jones remains a WR1 for that one.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) missed his 2nd straight practice on Thursday. We don't have any details on the injury and haven't heard anything to suggest he's in danger of missing this weekend's game against the Saints. But check back tomorrow for another update.

Falcons HC Dan Quinn announced on Thursday that RB Tevin Coleman has cleared the concussion protocol. Barring a setback, he'll return for this weekend's game against the Saints. Over their last 5 games together, RB Devonta Freeman has carried 71 times and caught 9 passes vs. 42 carries and 5 catches for Coleman. Expect a similar split this Sunday, making Coleman a RB3 or flex option.

Falcons RB Tevin Coleman returned to a limited practice on Wednesday -- his 1st since sustaining a concussion in Week 14. It gives him a shot to play against the Saints this weekend. We'll continue to track Coleman's progress.

Falcons RB Tevin Coleman (concussion) has been ruled out for Monday night's game against the Bucs. He didn't practice all week and seemingly hasn't made much -- if any -- progress through the protocol. Coleman's absence makes RB Devonta Freeman a good bet for 20+ touches vs. Tampa's 24th-ranked RB defense.

Falcons RB Tevin Coleman remains in the concussion protocol and did not practice on Friday. He has an extra day to get cleared with Atlanta heading to Tampa Bay for Monday Night Football, but Coleman isn't looking like a good bet to play in that one. His absence would turn Devonta Freeman into a workhorse and an elite RB1.

Falcons RB Tevin Coleman sustained a concussion late in Thursday night's win over the Saints, HC Dan Quinn announced Friday. Coleman missed 2 games with a concussion back in 2015. He'll have 10 days to pass through the protocol this time around. We'll track his progress next week.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) put in a full week of practice and will return for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. He should step back in as Atlanta’s lead back but is more of a high-end RB2 vs. Minnesota’s 2nd-ranked RB defense. Tevin Coleman reverts back to RB3/flex status.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman has cleared the concussion protocol and will practice on Wednesday, HC Dan Quinn said. Barring a setback, Freeman will return for this weekend's game against the Vikings. He averaged 14.3 carries and 3 targets in his 8 full games this season and should see a similar workload on Sunday. RB Tevin Coleman is back to RB3/flex status.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) is out for this weekend’s game against the Bucs. He put in limited practices on Thursday and Friday, seemingly putting him on track to be cleared for Week 13. Tevin Coleman gets another game as Atlanta’s feature back this weekend, making him an RB1 in fantasy lineups.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) returned to a limited practice on Thursday. He's made some progress through the protocol but still has at least a couple more stages to pass through. We'll get another update on his status tomorrow.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman remains in the concussion protocol as of Wednesday morning, according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure. It's unclear how much progress Freeman has made since suffering his 2nd concussion in 3 months 10 days ago. We'll continue to keep an eye on his status ahead of this weekend's game vs. the Bucs.

 
 
 

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