The forecast for today's Falcons-Jets game calls for a 100% chance of rain with 17-20 mph winds. The weather will definitely impact this game -- and probably more so for a dome team in Atlanta. We've moved passing-game guys and kickers in this game down the Week 8 Rankings.
The 2016 Falcons led the league in scoring and finished 2nd in total yards. So, not surprisingly, they don't want to alter the offense, despite the departure of OC Kyle Shanahan. "We love the way that we attack, and it took a lot of work to put that system in place," HC Dan Quinn said. "Along with [GM Thomas Dimitroff], we have a real emphasis now on how we can fit guys into that system. It's very important that we stay consistent with that." In theory, it's good news for QB Matt Ryan and Atlanta's skill-position guys. But we'll see exactly how similar the offense is under new OC Steve Sarkisian.
The Falcons are set to hire Steve Sarkisian as their new OC, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The 42-year-old has spent the bulk of his coaching career so far in the NCAA. His only NFL experience was as the Raiders' QB coach in 2004. (Kerry Collins was his starter.) Sarkisian has loads of talent to work with in Atlanta. But, at least on paper, he's a significant downgrade from Kyle Shanahan.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan was an efficient 18-of-28 for 237 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs in Sunday's dismantling of the Rams. The performance was even more impressive considering stud WR Julio Jones was sidelined. Ryan connected with 8 different pass-catchers, but none had more than 4 receptions. He found WR Justin Hardy and RB Tevin Coleman for short scores and then connected with WR Taylor Gabriel for a 64-yard bomb. Jones' availability and effectiveness going forward remains uncertain, but Ryan's performance in this one should make you feel better about using him the rest of the way. The matchups help, too: home for the 49ers' 29th-ranked QB defense next week and then at Carolina's 26th-ranked unit in Week 16.
The forecast for today's Falcons-Seahawks game calls for a 50% chance of rain with winds of 11-15 mph. That's not quite enough for us to alter our projections, but you could certainly use it as a tiebreaker when considering guys from these 2 passing and kicking games. The weather is a bigger concern for the Falcons, who play their home games in a dome.
The Falcons are hiring Kyle Shanahan as OC. (Atlanta is expected to tab Seahawks DC Dan Quinn as HC after the Super Bowl.) This will be an adjustment for Lil' Shanny after working with mobile QBs in Washington and Cleveland the past 3 years. Shanahan was OC in Houston in 2008 and 2009 with QB Matt Schaub, though, and posted a pair of top-4 finishes in total yards. We like the hire for QB Matt Ryan and the Falcons passing game. Shanahan's run games also tend to be effective.
Bucs CB Alterraun Verner missed his 3rd straight day of practice Friday because of a hamstring injury. The team has designated him doubtful for Sunday's matchup with the Falcons. That's unfortunate for IDP owners, as Verner would have carried plenty of fantasy upside in the game. HC Lovie Smith mentioned Crezdon Butler and Brandon Dixon as potential replacements Friday, which means you can't count on either for fantasy purposes. Verner's absence can only help Falcons QB Matt Ryan's fantasy outlook in an already positive matchup.
Falcons WR Harry Douglas (foot) is active for this morning's game in London. We still wouldn't use him in any but desperate fantasy situations. But having his #3 WR available can only help QB Matt Ryan's (still unattractive) fantasy outlook against Detroit.
Falcons LT Sam Baker suffered a torn patellar tendon in the team's Saturday night preseason game. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Baker will miss the season. That removes a player who has graded out among the league's worst OTs over the past few seasons, according to Pro Football Focus' ratings. So missing Baker certainly shouldn't crush the Falcons offense. Disrupting the O-line group adds a challenge, however, for a group trying to bounce back from an injury-laden, terrible 2013. Rookie Jake Matthews had been slotted to start at RT but could slide into Baker's vacated role, where the team planned to play him in the future anyway. The situation bears watching, but we're not changing our outlook for the potentially explosive Falcons offense because of Baker's absence.
The Falcons grabbed OT Jake Matthews with the 6th pick of the draft. No surprise here. Atlanta needed major O-line help after giving up 44 sacks last year. Matthews is as NFL-ready as they come, with great bloodlines, tons of experience and polished technique. He'll step right into Atlanta's starting lineup. Matthews' arrival is great news for QB Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons passing game.
Falcons insider Vaughn McClure says QB Matt Ryan was "more banged up than he let on" last year. Ryan never appeared on the injury report but did absorb a career-high 44 sacks. Atlanta added G Jon Asamoah and OT Gabe Carimi this offseason and will likely attack the offensive line early in next month's draft. Ryan has plenty of bounce-back potential in 2014, but he'll need to get much better pass protection.
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