I gave myself a bye week yesterday which was probably for the best as several players left fantasy owners frustrated with early injuries, questionable usage, and game scripts going every which way.
Looking back on a winning Thursday Emmanuel Sanders cruised to an early over and Christian Kirk made us sweat for the second while David Johnson was unable to get going as Denver’s defense “kicked their asses” – Von Miller.
Looking forward to a shootout tonight – let’s review the plays and leans.
Evan Engram Total Receptions: Over 4.5
Welcome back, Evan Engram! After a multi-week absence, Engram was close to playing last week and should be close to full strength tonight. Engram’s sample size is small this season, but he cleared the 4.5 reception total fairly regularly in 2017 as well as in his one game truly healthy in week 2 (7 for 67). The Falcons have lost multiple key cogs in the secondary and should continue to struggle against the tight end. Engram is a talent in a shallow position.
Matt Ryan Total Completions: Over 26.5
Both the Falcons defensive short comings and issues running the ball with much success have spelled Ryan throwing A LOT. He has attempted 35-40 throws in 5 of 6 and been at over this completion number in each of the last 4. This offense has been forced away from the run thanks to a bottom 5 mark in both total yardage and yards per attempt. Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith have been inconsistent in Devonta Freeman’s absence. Ryan should have his full compliment of pass catchers and should continue to air it out in this one.
Austin Hooper/Calvin Ridley Total Receptions: Over 4.5 and Over 4
If I am in on Ryan, I might as well take some stock in the mouths he’ll feed. Julio Jones will continue to be heavily targeted, but he will also draw the coverage of Janoris Jenkins. Hooper has caught 9 passes in back-to-back weeks, but in games where either one or both of Ridley and Mohamed Sanu have been banged up. Both will be active, but Hooper looks to have cemented a role in this offense either way. The Giants have been middle of the pack against the position, but have also not faced anyone that demanded attention. I am putting a lot of faith in injury reports, not normally advised in today’s NFL, but Ridley participated in multiple practices this week and will be active tonight. Prior to going down in week 6, where he still caught 3 for 47 early, Ridley’s role had grown opposite Julio and catching 4+ in each game since week 2. As long as he is not out there as a decoy, I think both of these receivers catch 5+.
As an apology for missing a full slate yesterday here are my other leans tonight:
Saquon Barkley O82.5 Rushing – Special talent, faces defense allowing 3rd most points to RBs, game script will tell if he gets the ball enough on the ground.
Odell Beckham Jr O7.5 Receptions – Greasy wheel effect in full force, Eli may not get it to him down the field but still seeing the targets (averaging tonight’s total of 7.5 catches per game) against a secondary allowing in the top 5 fantasy points to opposing WR.
Hooper O48.5 Rec Yards – See above, two straight weeks over 70 yards, would have been a pick if the health of Falcons’ secondary options (Ridley/Sanu) was more transparent.
Ito Smith O37.5 Rushing – Change of pace back chasing a low rushing total, split carries with Tevin Coleman last week and could hit based on that volume.