The 2011 NFL afforded the Atlanta Falcons some serious results last weekend; results that will have a huge effect on the 2011 fantasy football season.
As everyone knows, the Atlanta Falcons basically gave up the farm for WR Julio Jones, but it wasn’t a bad move at all when it comes to fantasy football.
With top notch fantasy weapons such as Roddy White and Matt Ryan, Julio Jones is bound to fit right in to an offense that will more-than-likely put more emphasis on the pass game than ever before.
But Jones’ presence also adds value to White and the running game.
If Jones takes off early—which he should—then defenses are going to be forced to spread the coverage field to compensate for two lethal downfield threats, and because of that the ground game should have more opportunities for big gains and scores since there will be less defenders in the box.
Other 2011 NFL draft picks that the Falcons offer in fantasy are OLB Akeem Dent and RB Jacquizz Rogers.
Dent has far more immediate value here than Rogers.
Dent is expected to make a hard push for the middle linebacker spot in Atlanta, with immediate contributions on special teams—don’t be the guy who underestimates special teams value in a player.
The linebacker position in Atlanta is a hot spot for fantasy points, due to their role and cover style of play—similar to Carolina—so Dent is a guy you definitely want to keep an eye on as you approach your fantasy football draft.
Rogers is expected to be a change of pace / third down back by mid-season. While he is an interesting character to keep an eye on, he’s not projected to hold much fantasy value in 2011.
One note to suggest:
While the Atlanta Falcons did manager to grab Akeen Dent, and offer nice IDP options in Sean Weatherspoon, Stephen Nicolas and Thomas DeCoud, the defense as a whole is still an average fantasy team defense without a true threat at defensive end, so look elsewhere for a team defense when drafting.