3. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs NO)
Last week, the Falcons upset the Raiders in a 43-6 blowout. Despite the lopsided victory, Ryan did not do much. In fact, Ryan threw for a season low 185 yards and scored only 13.9 fantasy points. Furthermore, Ryan struggled just the week before, as the Falcons lost 24-9 to the Saints. On Sunday, Ryan gets a rematch with the same New Orleans defense that held Ryan to only 5.28 fantasy points in their first meeting.
In that game, both Todd Gurley and Julio Jones exited with injury. While Gurley is a fine back, Julio’s presence makes all the difference. As a team, the Falcons are 1-3 in games without Julio (including the loss to the Saints because Julio was only on the field for four plays). Specifically, Ryan has averaged 9.39 fantasy points over those games because defenses can double team Calvin Ridley.
On the other side of the ball, the Saints defense just faced the Broncos’ offense without a quarterback. The stats from that game will be excluded because that was just a 2020 curveball.
Excluding the win in Denver, the Saints are allowing just less than 14 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks over their most recent five games.
As of Thursday, Julio Jones has not practiced this week and is looking unlikely to play. Without Julio, Marshon Lattimore will clamp down Calvin Ridley. The banged-up Falcons’ line will have an uphill battle stopping November’s NFC defensive player of the month, Cam Jordan. Ultimately, this comes down to the health of Julio, but it could be a very long afternoon for Matty Ice.
UPDATE: On Friday, Julio participated in practice. However, even if Julio suits up and starts this game, there is no guarantee he finishes it, just like two weeks ago.
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