This promises to be a great matchup on a week featuring many great games like the Vikings and Eagles, Cardinals and Seahawks, and even the Patriots and Steelers. However, this may be the most entertaining game out of all of those, featuring the #1 (ATL) and #3 (SD) scoring offenses and two defenses that give up the 7th most (ATL) and 10th most (SD) points per game. This will be a joy to watch with high flying offenses flying up and down the field.
Okay, so we all expect a boatload of points from this game, but how exactly are they going to come. To start with, the Falcons possess the top complementary running back duo in the league in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Coleman is the current RB7 in PPR scoring, and right there, three points behind him Devonta Freeman at RB8. The surprising thing, however, is how they’ve been used. Coleman has been used as a space player and very successful receiver, while Freeman is the between the tackles runner, who has in his own right, also been a great receiver. Coleman’s rushing stat line is 51/170/4 and receiving wise, he has 18/320/1 with 23 targets. Freeman’s 90/450/2 rushing is a very good line, while he is catching 17/127/1 on 22 targets.
The thing that stands out immediately is that Coleman is the one currently scoring all the TDs, and he’s doing it at an absurd rate, scoring on 7.2% of his touches. Freeman is only scoring on 2.8% of his touches and only on 2.2% of his rushes, the 3rd lowest % of any backs with 90+ touches. Freeman should regress his scoring % towards the 3.8% average by RBs with > 90 rushes. Based off of that %, Freeman would have 3 rushing TDs through the first 6 weeks. Tevin Coleman, however, is scoring on 7.8% of his rushes, the highest mark of anyone with at least 32 rushes. Coleman’s touchdown total is not only out of line with the rest of the league, not to mention the yards he’s racking up. In this game, I expect that both Coleman and Freeman will get fantasy points in terms of yardage, but Freeman is the better bet to get a TD.
Next, we have the monster himself, the #1 WR in the NFL, Julio Jones. Julio is a clear start each and every week, but apparently, he was being sat against Seattle by lots of people. Julio’s response to that was to go off for 7 receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown. Now, Julio has had a two and four point showing, but also had a 300-yard game this season and three touchdowns heading into the game. Julio is the WR1 this week against a Chargers defense that lost Jason Verrett to an ACL injury early in the season. Don’t do anything stupid again and go sitting Julio Jones, please.
What about Mohamed Sanu though? After Week 1, it looked like Sanu was going to be the best secondary WR Julio ever played with, posting 5/80/1. Then it all went downhill, with Sanu only combining for 162 yards on 16 catches to go with one touchdown. So do you start him or not? Obviously, he isn’t a must start, being an inconsistent WR2 on a team spreading the ball around, but if there is ever a week to take a shot, it’s this one. Start Sanu, not with confidence, but with hope, as your WR3 or Flex play.
On to the guy who’s been throwing him the pigskin. Matt Ryan. The QB1. Fun fact: The point difference between Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger (QB2) is 21 points. The point differential between Ben and Dak Prescott (QB 10) is 19 points. Absolute dominance over the rest of the QB position in year to date scores (Tom Brady is destroying in per game averages). With his 2,075 yards through 6 games, Ryan is actually on pace to break Peyton Manning’s season record of 5,477 yards with 5,533. The Chargers are allowing opposing teams to pass for 280 yards per game to go with 17 TDs allowed and only 3 INTs on the season. Ryan is a top 3 QB start this week, right up there with Brady and Philip Rivers.
TE – wise, the Falcons have been rolling with Jacob Tamme and Levine Toililo, neither of whom inspires much confidence or excitement. The Chargers have been decent against TEs in 2016, only allowing 353 yards on 32 catches (43 targets) and 1 TD. In desperate situations, Tamme is startable in pinch, but you are hoping for a TD, which is what you want from anyone not named Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Delaine Walker, and Jordan Reed. I would much prefer dart throws such as Cameron Brate, Dennis Pitta, and Jack Doyle.
Players to start for the Falcons:
- Matt Ryan
- Tevin Coleman
- Devonta Freeman
- Julio Jones
- Mohamed Sanu (Conditional WR 3/Flex)
Players to sit for the Falcon:
- Jacob Tamme
- Aldrich Robinson
- Justin Hardy
- How do the RBs score? Do the TDs head back towards Freeman based off of touches and yards or does Coleman stay electric?
- Can Mohamed Sanu rebound in a great matchup?
San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers, also the guy who is QB, but has had terrible second half splits the last few years. Good thing that we only care about Week 7, which isn’t in the second half. Anyway, if this was the second half, Rivers would still be the top 3 QB start he is based off matchup. The Falcons give up 285 passing yards per game, despite having the good CB duo of Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. Most of the Falcons’ passing defense woes stem from their inability to rush the passer, only producing 11 sacks, 4 of which came against the woefully incompetent Ty Sambrailo. However, the Chargers are once again dealing with a porous offensive line, which could pose a few problems for Philip Rivers. Regardless, look for Rivers to post a great week against a woeful Falcons defense.
In 2015, Melvin Gordon was a disappointment. Now in 2016, Gordon is the RB 6 throughout the first 6 weeks. So what changed for Gordon? More success running the ball? Not really, Gordon still sports a ghastly 3.4 YPC, but then again how much of that is due to his terrible offensive line? Despite dealing with a subpar offensive line, Gordon should be rushing better if he really is a franchise back. Touchdowns are what has changed. Touchdowns and more involvement in the passing game. Through six games, Gordon has 7 TDs after goose-egging in the TD category in 2015. The Chargers don’t have any other good RBs for goal line work so Gordon will continue to see short yardage rushes in the red zone. The passing success for Gordon has come from the gaping hole in fantasy owners’ hearts and the Chargers’ offense left by the fall of Danny Woodhead (RIP). Without Woodhead instituted as the pass catcher, Gordon has caught 14 passes for 122 yards and a TD after posting 33 catches for 192 yards through 14 games last year. Volume, not efficiency, is the name of the game for Gordon and he should see plenty of opportunities against a Falcons defense that is allowing 94 YPG at a 4.0 YPC clip.
The Falcons are absolutely putrid defending WRs, but unfortunately Keenan Allen has fallen and is unable to destroy this defense. Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin have established themselves as quality options in his absence, with Dontrelle Inman filling in as a decent role player. Williams and Benjamin are both over 350 yards for 2016 and stay as starters in most fantasy lineups. Williams is my preferred choice over Benjamin, especially with his athletic upside.
On to the more interesting position on the Chargers. Hunter Henry is the young buck at TE that has been doing the unthinkable for a rookie TE. He’s been producing! 19 catches for 310 yards and 3 TDs, while Old Man Gates only has 12 catches for 81 yards and 2 TDs. Henry is an uber-athletic TE who looks like the future for not only the Chargers but for the NFL. More NFL teams are looking for athletic TEs and Henry is the epitome of that archetype. Hunter Henry is already TE TE 5 on the season and is only going to be moving up.
Players to start for the Chargers:
- Philip Rivers
- Melvin Gordon
- Tyrell Williams
- Travis Benjamin
- Hunter Henry
Players to sit for the Chargers:
Can Melvin Gordon get more than 3 yards and a cloud of dust against this Falcons defense?
Who really is the Chargers WR 1 in fantasy?