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28 – 3. That formation of numbers must haunt Matt Ryan. If it doesn’t than he is truly “Matty Ice” … but if it does, one has to wonder what will be going through his mind when he takes the field tonight. Tom Brady isn’t coming out of that tunnel. Rob Gronkowski isn’t coming out of that tunnel. James White isn’t coming out of that tunnel. Unfortunately for Ryan though, Julio Jones is also not coming out of that tunnel and neither is Calvin Ridley.
But who is coming out of that tunnel is arguably the hottest team in football right now, the (my) New England Patriots. Go ahead, prove me wrong. The Patriots are on a 4 game winning streak and playing great on both sides of the ball. During this 4 game stretch, the Patriots have outscored their opponents 150 – 50 and have held 3 of their last 4 opponents to 13 or fewer points too. To say the Patriots are a heavy favorite, even on the road, is an understatement.
Does that mean we can’t play any Falcons tonight? NO! In fact I think your Falcons players will be a way to gain a measure of leverage on the field. And by the way – it’s 2021 – the year of What in the Whaaaaaat?! (Meaning – anything can happen) So let’s talk Captains and MVP Picks, then I’ll talk my Flex/Stack strategy and throw in some dart throws for tournaments.
Mac Jones did you know that of the 5 rookie Quarterbacks who have started a game this season, Mac Jones is leading the pack with 5 games with a 100 point passer rating. Did you know that every other rookie QB who has started at least one game this season has no games with a 100 point passer rating? The crazy thing is, Mac is doing this with a rag tag bunch of recievers signed during free agency in the off season … Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, Hunter Henry, Jonuu Smith … as a Pats Fan it is tough not to immediately compare him to the early Brady days, largely with a rag tag group of recievers. Since week 5 when Mac and the offense has looked decidedly better, he is averaging around 25 pass attempts per game, which isn’t huge believe me. Additionally despite an 82% completion rate last week, he is averaging a 67% completion rate since week 5. So do I like Mac tonight at Captain on DK? Yes, and I will, but he’s not my favorite – more on that later. The Falcons don’t scare me at 17th in the league against QBs, I am just a bit hesitant to roster him as the most expensive Patriot $15,900 Captain on DK.
Damien Harris looks to be back and ready to reclaim his lead roll in the backfield tonight and if that is the case, he will be my favorite MVP on FanDuel at $13,500. Since Week 5, Harris has averaged 17.6 touches per game with there games of 80 yards or more, including 2 100 yard games. What I really like here though is the goal line work. He’s had a touchdown or better in each game since Week 5 and in fact in 6 of 9 games he has played in this season. The only downside to Harris’ game has been lack of targets, but we also know that the Patriots prefer to use a second (sometimes a third) running back specifically for targets. With no air yardage bonus on FanDuel, Harris makes the perfect MVP agianst the 21st ranked Atlanta run defense averaging over 120 yards allowed on the ground. I also expect him to go a little underowned … more on that later.
Kendrick Bourne my favorite way to attack Captain tonight is with Bourne who I think will be low owned enough to give me leverage on the field – more on that later. Despite what seems to be a murky wide reciever corp, I think Bourne is slowly emerging as the X and #1 guy that Jones is looking for Mac Jones. He is seeing nearly identical targets to Jakobi Meyers – but the difference here is the yardage potential. Last week both he and Meyers saw 4 targets and caught both of them. They each caught a touchdown pass. However while Meyers took his 4 targets for 59 yards, Bourne took his for 98 yards his highest total of the season. His previous high had been 96 yards in Week 2. Bourne has gone 68 yards recieving or more 4 times this season to Meyer’s 2. I think from a big play standpoint on this offense Bourne makes a lot of sense as a Captain at $11,400.
Hunter Henry I expect there will be a lot of lineups with Hunter Henry at Captain. Not that I think it’s a bad idea, but I also think that Henry the 6th highest priced Patriot at $10,500 is a big reason why I think Kendrick’s Bourne’s ownership at Captain will be surpressed. Coming off a 2 touchdown grab week it is easy to see why Henry will be popular. However, had he not had 2 touchdowns – or even one, his 4 for 37 line would have been a bust. On the Season, Henry actually has only gone over 47 yards one other time – 75 yards and score against Houston. I don’t mind Henry here against the Falcons, literally middle of the road and to be fair Henry does have 7 Touchdowns on the season, so I do like him at Captain but I still prefer Bourne.
Rhamondre Stevensons will be the clear cut #1 owned Patriot at Captain & MVP tonight. It is understandable. Harris is coming off an injury and Brandon Bolden is questionable and a game time decision. Not to mention Stevensons’ break out game last week 20 touches 100 yards, 2 Touchdowns plus 4 for 14 through the air. If Harris was sitting another week, he would be a lock on both sites for me at $12,900 on DK Captain and $13,000 on FanDuel. But with Harris in, I am concerned Stevenson goes back to 10 or fewer touches and 3 or fewer targets that he had been averaging in every game prior to Week 10. If Bolden is ultimately ruled out, Stevenson becomes a bit more appealing to me as a pass catcher on DK, but in general I will be limiting my Captain/MVP plays with Stevenson at top.
Mike Davis no one will play Mike Davis anywhere near Captain/MVP tonight. He has looked TERRIBLE all season long. Additionally, with the Patriots favored – who wants to play a Atlanta Running back. Let me state my case. First Corradelle Patterson is doubtful to play in this game. This immediately thrusts Davis into the game plan, more seriously than if Patterson was in. Second, you can run on the Patriots who allow nearly 110 yards on the ground. Second, he is cheap on FanDuel. $7,500 Captain and on DK $8,700 at Captain. Thirds – NO ONE is playing Mike Davis. In fact I could see the Patriots Defense get more ownership than Davis at Captain. So I’ll take my shot as a leverage play.
By the way, if Patterson does play tonight – he’s my favorite Falcon Captain/MVP – and it isn’t even close
Russell Gage I am not going to go into the Russell Gage stats here because, why. However at somepoint, Gage has got to take a step forward in this offense without Calvin Ridley and with the Patriots likely keying in on Kyle Pitts (they are already #1 in the league against Tight Ends) why can’t this be a Russell Gage break out? As much as it can be against the Patriots Defense I mean. In a competitive win against New Orleans, Gage was targeted 8 times. You are hoping for a repeat or more tonight but as a low owned Captain play, he seems the most likely Falcon to have a shot at a decent Fantasy night so I’ll roll the dice on a few lineups. He is $9,900 on DK at Captain, $10,000 on FD.
Matt Ryan I think the smart players who are multi entering will have a fair share of Matty Ice at the top of their lineups, and I do suppose if Patterson doesn’t play he’s probably my favorite Falcon to play at Captain – but he also is the most expensive player on both sites and likely will be the highest owned Falcon, so I am really not excited about it. But with a plethora of recievers at his disposal and a pass catching running back, kinda in Mike Davis primarily, I could see Ryan doing everything he can to win this game at home and so I don’t think he will kill you in the top spot. And anything can happen in 2021. I prefer Jones, Bourne, Stevonson and Gage on DK and Harris, Stevenson & Davis on FanDuel, but I’ll find a way to a couple Matt Ryan led lineups. $16,200 on DK, $15,500 FD.
Dart Throw Captains/MVPs
Younghoe Koo – Falcon’s Kicker
Brandon Bolden (if he plays)
JJ Taylor (if Bolden doesn’t play)
First if I am playing Matt Ryan at Captain or MVP, I am stacking him with at Least 2 Wide Recievers – Gage or Olamide Zaccheaus or Tajae Sharpe plus Mike Davis or Wayne Gallman OR I am finishing the stack with the Kicker Younghoe Koo. I am really concerned for Kyle Pitts tonight. The Patriots are known for taking out other team’s best weapon and if Patterson is out, that immediately becomes Pitts. Plus the Pats are already #1 against Tight Ends.
If I am going to stack Ryan and Pitts, I am going two ways – first Just Ryan and Pitts stacked with Patriots in the rest of the lineup. Or Ryan – Pitts – Davis or Gallman – Falcons Defense. This would be the way I would approach a Falcons domination stack. Either of these ways I am building the lineup to say that Pitts has himself a game and is the cheif driver of the offense and the Falcons keep it close.
I’d also throw in one dart throw here Atlanta TE Lee Smith. Smith will get to play in place of Hayden Hurst and even though he is primarily a blocking Tight End, if the Pats shut down Pitts – you may see Lee Smith across your screen. Sprinkle him in is all I’m saying.
On FanDuel if I am using a running back at Captain (either Davis or Gallman) I am also going to use Matt Ryan stacked with one recieving option (Gage, Zaccheaus, Sharpe or Pitts) plus the Kicker Koo mainly. This is a balaned way to attack the Falcons Offense, playing to FanDuel’s strength with the Running Back at MVP.
For my Patriots stacks I think the Priority is Jones – Bourne & Myers + Henry or Jonuu Smith. If I have Mac Jones at top I want the most likely pass catchers stacked. I don’t mind using Stevenson or Bolden (if he plays) or JJ Taylor (if Bolden doesn’t play). I also like the domination of Jones – Meyers or Bourne, a tight end, a running back and the Patriots Defense together too.
If I am using the Patriots defense at Captain I like also using Jones and 1 pass catcher, one running back too. If I am using Bourne at the top, I am stacking him with Jones + a Tight End and a Running back.
On FanDuel with Harris or Stevenson at top, I like Mac Jones plus a pass catcher in that mix too.
This will be a tough game to call. I think the Patriots will try and run the ball down the Falcons throats and I think they will try and eliminate Kyle Pitts. That may leave little for Jones and his pass catchers to do other than Red Zone work and it will have Matt Ryan targeting many recievers that you may be saying “who” each time they catch the ball. Or the Falcons Defense surprises us all and shuts down the Mac Jones. All I can say is –
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR CONTESTS!