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Fantasy Football Player Notes

2020 Half PPR Draft Rankings
Julio Jones Note
Julio Jones photo 11. Julio Jones WR - (at TB)
Fade aging wide receivers, they said. Julio laughs as he posted his sixth straight season with more than 1,390 yards. He still has just one season under his belt with double-digit touchdowns, which is quite ridiculous when you consider he's had three seasons with 1,500-plus yards. He's as safe as they come at the wide receiver position. Think 31 years old is too old? Check out this piece on what age a wide receiver declines. There are a lot of fantasy owners drafting Tyreek Hill over him, and while I understand the upside Hill presents on a weekly basis, Jones presents stability that Hill can only dream of. Hill has posted WR2 or better numbers in 21-of-43 games (48.8 percent) over his career. Meanwhile, Jones has hit that mark in 64.8 percent of his career games and has posted WR1-type numbers in 42.4 percent of them. Sure, Calvin Ridley is going to ascend, but a lot of his ascension comes from the missing targets from Mohamed Sanu. Jones should be the No. 3 wide receiver off draft boards, at worst.
4 weeks ago
Todd Gurley II Note
Todd Gurley II photo 33. Todd Gurley II RB - (at TB)
The Rams offense was in complete disarray last year, as their offensive line started to crumble, which dragged Gurley's efficiency down the drain. He did show that he's still able to handle a big workload down the stretch, finishing with 98 touches over the final five games. Now going to the Falcons, who have one of the better offensive lines in football, with little competition, Gurley could return to RB1 status. It's a high-scoring offense where the running backs have averaged 1,383 yards and 9.7 touchdowns on the ground, while averaging another 572 yards and 4.7 touchdowns through the air over the last three years. With Ito Smith and Brian Hill the only running backs behind him, Gurley should receive most of the work/production.
4 weeks ago
Calvin Ridley Note
Calvin Ridley photo 38. Calvin Ridley WR - (at TB)
Prior to getting hurt and having his season cut short, Ridley was on pace for 1,066 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019, which would have had him as the WR14. Now going into his third NFL season, there's a real chance for a breakout. Sure, Julio Jones isn't going away but he doesn't have to. Not many realize that Mohamed Sanu saw 94 targets in 2018 and was on pace for 96 targets before being traded in 2019. We don't really expect Russell Gage to fill that role, do we? If you want to know if there's room for both Ridley and Jones to be WR1s, look no further than the Bucs last year with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, even if it is rare for that to happen. Ridley saw 49 targets in the six games he played without Sanu, which would amount to 131 over an entire 16-game season. Ridley has real top-five breakout potential and is an ideal high-end WR2 on your fantasy team.
4 weeks ago
Matt Ryan Note
Matt Ryan photo 77. Matt Ryan QB - (at TB)
His finishes over the last four years are (most recent first): QB11, QB2, QB15, QB2. So, are we supposed to expect another QB2 finish this year? The bad news is that Ryan offers nothing on the ground. The good news is that he's played under Dirk Koetter in four separate seasons and has finished top-8 in pass attempts in each of them. It also doesn't hurt throwing to Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and now Todd Gurley and Hayden Hurst. Knowing there isn't any running back depth behind the trending-downward Gurley, it seems more likely than ever that Ryan chucks the ball up 620-plus times. His weekly floor won't be as high as some of the top-six quarterbacks, but Ryan is certainly in the next tier. The best part is that you get him at a discount because he's not the "sexy" pick that someone like Josh Allen is. He's my No. 7 quarterback and I feel pretty good about that.
4 weeks ago
Hayden Hurst Note
Hayden Hurst photo 83. Hayden Hurst TE - (at TB)
When projecting Matt Ryan for somewhere in the neighborhood of 620-plus pass attempts, you need to disburse them somewhere. The Falcons didn't even make an offer to Austin Hooper but decided to spend a second-round pick to acquire Hurst from the Ravens. It's clear they view him as someone who can step right into Hooper's role. It may take some time for Hurst to get acclimated to the new offense with a shortened offseason, but Hooper's role was massive last year. He totaled 97 targets in just 13 games, which was a pace of 119 targets on a full 16-game season. Did you know that of the 116 tight ends who've seen more than 85 targets the last 10 years, that 97 of them finished as top-12 tight ends? That's an 83.6 percent success rate and it seems highly likely that Hurst is going to hit that. Move that number up to 90 targets and it's a 92.4 percent success rate. One of my bold predictions this year is that Hurst finishes as a top-five fantasy tight end. Don't think he was bad because he was playing behind Mark Andrews, one of the best tight ends in the league.
4 weeks ago
Younghoe Koo Note
Younghoe Koo photo 220. Younghoe Koo K - (at TB)
Although Koo's 2019 season will be remembered primarily for his three successful onside kicks in Week 14 against the Saints, he actually had a pretty dominant year for the Falcons. Despite playing just eight games, he had 26 field-goal attempts, converting 23 of them. Back with the Falcons and kicking indoors, Koo should easily finish as a top-12 kicker this season if he can again hit 88.5% of his field-goal attempts. Draft him as a starter in all leagues.
3 weeks ago
Russell Gage Note
Russell Gage photo 244. Russell Gage WR - (at TB)
Once Mohamed Sanu was traded, Gage saw a ridiculous 66 targets in nine games, though it did help that both Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper both missed time during that stretch. I expected the Falcons to fill that role with someone in the draft or free agency, but it never happened, so it's possible we see Gage as a bye-week filler on fantasy rosters, especially if any of the other pass-catchers were to miss time. There isn't much upside here, though. Best case scenario is that we're looking at someone like Cole Beasley from 2019. Again, could play a role in fantasy, but don't see a consistent fantasy producer.
4 weeks ago
Brian Hill Note
Brian Hill photo 270. Brian Hill RB - (at TB)
Ito Smith Note
Ito Smith photo 271. Ito Smith RB - (at TB)
Some are automatically assuming that Smith is the handcuff to Todd Gurley, but I wouldn't be so sure. The Falcons were talking about benching Smith prior to him getting injured last year. It's not like Brian Hill did a lot to change their mind, but it's likely they'd split the carries among them.
4 weeks ago
Atlanta Falcons Note
Atlanta Falcons photo 272. Atlanta Falcons DST - (at TB)
Qadree Ollison Note
Qadree Ollison photo 351. Qadree Ollison RB - (at TB)
Olamide Zaccheaus Note
Olamide Zaccheaus photo 425. Olamide Zaccheaus WR - (at TB)
Jaeden Graham Note
Jaeden Graham photo 428. Jaeden Graham TE - (at TB)
Laquon Treadwell Note
Laquon Treadwell photo 475. Laquon Treadwell WR - (at TB)
Christian Blake Note
Christian Blake photo 498. Christian Blake WR - (at TB)
Keith Smith Note
Keith Smith photo 533. Keith Smith RB - (at TB)
Matt Schaub Note
Matt Schaub photo 576. Matt Schaub QB - (at TB)
Luke Stocker Note
Luke Stocker photo 601. Luke Stocker TE - (at TB)