2016 Dynasty Outlook: Atlanta Falcons

With the dog days of summer kicking in and training camps still a month or so away, let’s take this time to review each team and provide a dynasty outlook.  In alphabetical order, we’ll point out their dynasty relevant players, both offense and IDP, as well as some notes on the long term arch of each offense and defense we’re talking about.  Below is a convenient set of links to keep track of each article we produce in this series.  We’re going alphabetical, so next up is Atlanta.

AFC: BAL | BUF | CIN | CLE | DEN | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | MIA | NE | NYJ | OAK | PIT |SD | TEN

NFC: ARI | ATL | CAR | CHI | DAL | DET | GBP | LAR | MIN | NOS | NYG | PHI | SF | SEA| TB | WAS

Offensive Outlook

Kyle Shanahan is known to get the most out of his running game but in it’s first year of installation last year his passing game suffered.  This is year two so things should improve on that end, though the Falcons have no proven fantasy TE or WR2 so while Julio Jones will get his and Matt Ryan will be a serviceable QB, there is room for others to step up or for the offense to continue to struggle if they do not.

Dynasty Stars – Guys who you want on your team…Period.

Devonta Freeman, RB – Freeman just doesn’t get any respect.  No doubt he’s a marginal athlete but the Shanahan zone read running system has proven since the mid-90’s it does not need an elite athlete to create fantasy relevant RBs.  What Freeman lacks in speed he makes up in cutting ability and pure heart.  He’s a guy who nobody has every believed in and he wears that on his shoulders.  Is Tevin Coleman a better prospect? Yes.  Will Tevin Coleman earn more carries in 2016?  Yes.  Will Freeman be a top 10 RB anyway?  Absolutely.  Many tout that Freeman didn’t perform the same when he came back from a concussion.  Nobody can perform at the level he was performing forever.  Look for him to sprinkle in 3-4 elite games this year while being involved enough in the passing game to be an every week starter.

Julio Jones, WR – 27 years old and in the prime of his career, Jones is one of those guys that is expected, barring injury, to be in the top 3 every year for the next 3-4 years.  With a solid if unspectacular QB situation, that is a reasonable expectation.  Not much to say here, he’s elite and if you have a chance at him, take him.

Serviceable Veterans – Guys who could help you short term.

Matt Ryan, QB – At 31, Matt Ryan pretty much is what he is.  He had a bit of a down year last year and in year 2 of the Shanahan offense he should improve his numbers, but not enough to be considered elite.  He’s a solid QB2 for the next 5-7 years with the chance of an upside year once or twice.

Mohamad Sanu, WR – He is expected to take over WR2 duties for Roddy White.  He’s 26 so there is good potential for him to be a solide WR2/3 for several years to come, but he’ll play third fiddle at best in this offense behind Freeman and Jones.

Jacob Tamme, TE – At 31 with a moderate production past he really doesn’t elicit much excitement, but he wins here by default as there is no other quality TE on the roster.

 

Dynasty Sleepers – High potential, low production players to consider.

Justin Hardy, WR – Hardy is in a great position to snag the third WR position and could be a great upside candidate going into his second year.  I wouldn’t expect miracles, but solid WR3 production would be his upside, even it Sanu gets hurt or is ineffective.

Tevin Coleman, RB – I don’t know if he’s a sleeper, per se, but he does fit the high potential, low production tag.  Let’s get this straight, clearly Coleman is a better athlete than Freeman.  Also clearly Freeman has many more intangibles that Coleman has yet to display in the NFL.  His numbers will grow this year and he’s a great handcuff, but nothing more than that until Freeman moves on or has a catastrophic injury.

Austin Hooper, TE – He will take time to develop but is clearly a rookie sleeper to keep an eye on.  I’m not sold on this year’s TE class, but he has athleticism and could develop.

Dynasty Frauds – Players who should not be considered in dynasty.

Brandon Wilds, Levine Toliolo, Devin Hester, Erick Weems, Matt Schaub  – These are the best of the rest on offense but none of them will be fantasy relevant, even with injury to core players.

IDP Outlook

The Falcons play a 4-3 defense in the style of Seattle with one high safety, pressure corners and eight in the box to defend the run and support the blitz.  They are still putting the pieces together here but are clearly in transition mode which will create lots of opportunities for rookies and second year players.

IDP Stars- Guys who you want on your team…Period.

Because of their transition, there is no “bank on him” IDP star here, but there are lots of serviceable veterans and sleepers that are expected to break out.

Serviceable Veterans – Guys who could help you short term.

Vic Beasley, SLB – Yes, Beasley is now in the dreaded SLB position which may be good for the NFL defense but absolutely kills his dynasty value.  He’ll be getting DE level tackles at the LB position and while he’ll get plenty of sacks, the lack of tackles will dimish his value…unfortunately.

 

Jonathan Babineax, DT – The definition of a serviceable DT, will be a good bye week filler.

Paul Worrilow, LB – Poor Worrilow, he did nothing to deserve his demotion except just not be athletic enough to do what is needed to keep his job.  He could start the season at MLB but he won’t start for long.  It’s possible his dynasty relevant days are over.

IDP Sleepers – High potential, low production players to consider.

Deion Jones, MLB – Rookie Jones is expected to take over at MLB.  You’ll have to watch training camp closely but if he does, there is no reason to believe he won’t thrive.  Worth a 3rd round pick in rookie drafts if he shows the juice in training camp.

Keanu Neal, SS – Drafted to take the Kam Chancellor role in this defense, Neal has the athleticism and instincts to be very successful.  Currently going in 4th round in rookie drafts, I would take him there.

De’Vondre Campbell, WLB – Expected to start at WLB this year, if he wins the job it’s a very good fantasy position to be in.  Considering he’s not being drafted currently in rookie drafts, and he could be a high upside steal if he produces close to the numbers that Deion Jones gets.

Derrick Shelby, DE – 27 and in his prime, Shelby was a reserve for the Dolphins but moved to a starter last year when Cam Wake got injured.  He posted starter quality numbers there and now will be starting for Atlanta.  Another great sleeper prospect.

Ra’Shede Hageman, DT – Only 25, he’s a good sleeper at DT for leagues that start one.  He hasn’t proved he can get sacks, but if he does he can be relevant.

IDP Frauds – Players who should not be considered in dynasty.

Tyson Jackson,  Courtney Upshaw, Brooks Reed, Sean Weatherspoon, Laroy Reynolds, Philip Wheeler00

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