Julio Jones (WR-Atl) could finish as the No. 1 wide receiver in fantasy football in 2016.

The Falcons should be a team to target in 2016. They ended with that top-ranked running back and the second-ranked wide receiver in fantasy in 2015. They have a secure top three for fantasy purposes. The problem is that Matt Ryan (QB) was disappointing and Tevin Coleman could steal some work from Devonta Freeman. I believe in a bit of a rebound for Ryan, and I think that Freeman is going to retain a lot of value, even if he does lose a few carries. 

Coleman was the first running back taken for the Kyle Shanahan system. He's a one-cut runner and should fit perfectly into the offensive game plan. It's hard to believe that a player who finished the season with over 1600 yards is going to fade away. The RB position in Atlanta needs monitoring, but I like Freeman, especially if he falls to the third round.

The Core

Matt Ryan (QB-Atl) is not a QB1 for fantasy football in 2016.

Matt Ryan (QB) - 4600 yards, 26 TDs, 15 INTs.

In 2015, Ryan was drafted as the 8th quarterback off the board, and that is typically where he ended in previous years. He was one of the more consistent QBs in fantasy. Last season, however, he finished as the 19th QB in fantasy.

That obviously wasn't what you drafted him for. One of the problems for Ryan is that he has two capable RBs, and they should swallow up quite a few touchdowns. He's a streamer QBs this year. If you draft him as your only starting QB, you stand a very good chance of being disappointed. Again.

Devonta Freeman (RB) - 1000 yards, 8 TDs, 80 catches, 600 yards, 2 TDs.

Devonta Freeman (RB-Atl) could lose a few touches to Tevin Coleman (RB-Atl) but will be a productive fantasy football running back in 2016.

Freeman was the #1 running back in fantasy last year. Most of his touchdown production was in a short period of time, but he was productive from the time he was named the starter. Freeman was supposed to be the pass catching back, and he was, but he was so much more than that. Freeman has a nose for the end zone and should get every opportunity to be the guy again this season. He's being drafted as the 7th RB off the board in the second round. That value seems about right, but if he falls, don't be afraid to take him.

Tevin Coleman (RB) - 600 yards, 4 TDs, 10 catches, 75 yards.

Coleman is my most interesting handcuff this year. He could get some of the first- and second-down work even if Freeman is still the lead back. Coleman is a must-own for Freeman owners who believe in drafting handcuffs. He's currently being drafted as the 48th RB, which is a steal. He should be drafted regardless, especially if he's available that late.

Julio Jones (WR) - 125 catches, 1800 yards, 9 TDs.

There's not a ton to say about Julio. He's one of the three best receivers in the league. If you want to take him 1.1, I wouldn't argue. Julio is fantastic and should be taken within the top seven picks in every draft, regardless of format. If he finds a way to grab more TDs than he has in the past couple of seasons, he'll finish as the top WR in fantasy.

Sleeper

Justin Hardy (WR).

Atlanta picked up Muhammed Sanu to fill the WR2 role. Sanu has had a few good games over the past few years, but he was never anything more than a bit player next to a superstar. Expect the same thing this season. Hardy was drafted last season, so he has another year in the system. Hardy is a smaller guy (5'10", 192), so he should play in the slot more than Sanu. I see Hardy being the second best wide out in this system, and he could give you good production if you pick the right weeks to start him.

Bust

Muhammed Sanu (WR)

Copy and paste the Hardy write up here. Sanu's had some buzz this offseason, but I don't see him being fantasy relevant outside of the occasional DFS play.

 

The Falcons should be a good offense again this season. Even so, they are probably going to be the 4th best in their division. This is a division on the rise in terms of offensive production. We'll have to see if the Falcons are able to keep up.

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