Show Navigation
Show Menu
FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS

Falcons to start Taylor Heinicke in Week 9

By Jared Smola | Updated on Wed, 01 Nov 2023, 12:11 PM EDT
Taylor Heinicke Headshot

Falcons HC Arthur Smith announced Wednesday that QB Taylor Heinicke will start Sunday against the Vikings. It's not a shocking move after the team pulled QB Desmond Ridder from the Week 8 loss to the Titans. Ridder has largely struggled outside of a 329-yard passing effort in the Week 5 win over Houston. Since that game, he has tossed just 2 TD passes vs. 3 INTs across three contests, while also taking a sack on nearly 10% of dropbacks and losing 4 fumbles. Heinicke went an OK 12-of-21 (57.1%) for 175 yards (8.3 per attempt) after taking over against Tennessee. His 9.7 average target depth in that contest -- according to Pro Football Refernce -- was about 2 yards deeper than Ridder's season rate of 7.8. Pro Football Focus credits Heinicke with a career 8.8-yard average depth of target and 9.2-yard aDOT with the Commanders last season. Heinicke's career 63.7% completion rate comes in short of Ridder's (64.8%), and we've seen enough to know he won't bring consistent efficiency. But a daring downfield thrower could boost the fantasy production of Falcons WR Drake London and TE Kyle Pitts ... if Arthur Smith will allow the offense to exploit those skills. (And assuming London's groin injury doesn't linger, of course.) We're not significantly upgrading our outlooks for any Falcons offensive pieces on this switch. But a move away from Ridder at least allows for some optimism. We'll see whether London's able to play this week -- and then how Heinicke fares in his first Atlanta start. The Minnesota matchup looks fairly neutral for Falcons passing.

Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
Optimizing Our Way to $1.5 Million: Looking at Best Ball Mania V Through an Optimizer

Optimizing Our Way to $1.5 Million: Looking at Best Ball Mania V Through an Optimizer

17 hours ago

What's the optimal way to build Best Ball Mania V rosters? Zero RB? Hyper Fragile? Something in between? Let's see what an optimizer says.

Read More »
WR Sleepers 2024 (Wide Receivers)

WR Sleepers 2024 (Wide Receivers)

19 hours ago

Jameson Williams leads our list of seven mid- and late-round WRs with the potential to return a big profit in 2024.

Read More »
Ranking Week 17 Matchups for 2024 Best Ball Game Stacks

Ranking Week 17 Matchups for 2024 Best Ball Game Stacks

8:12am EDT 6/14/24

Which Week 17 matchups should you target for game stacks in 2024 best ball tournaments? And how much should you care about stacking Week 15 and 16 games?

Read More »
Best Fantasy Football Draft Board & Tools

Best Fantasy Football Draft Board & Tools

4:02pm EDT 6/12/24

Got a fantasy football draft coming up? You might want to know about this powerful cheat sheet. Plus a bunch more tools to help you win. (Updated 2023)

Read More »
Compare Plans » Compare Plans »

Turn your phone into a draft weapon with our FREE APP

Download on the App Store Get It on Google Play