Many people will tell you that the Atlanta Falcons will be the worst team in the league this year. They may even tell you to avoid drafting everyone besides Matt Ryan and maybe Michael Turner. But they lie.
Why, there's actually...um...at least two decent fantasy players on the team this year! And I'll prove it by totally coming up with some right now. You'll see!
Don't rush me! - Dave The Falconer of The Falcoholic
Best Atlanta Falcon Fantasy Option: RB Michael Turner
It sure as hell wasn't going to be Joey Harrington. Turner is a bruising runner who won't be pulled on the goal line, so he has excellent value in leagues that push yardage and leagues that are TD only. The offensive line actually looks solid, so if Turner can hold up to a full season's pounding he should give you around 1,000 yards and 6-8 TDs. That's not best in the league, but he's certainly a terrific complementary back for a great fantasy team and a workhorse for a not-so-great one.
The biggest problem with Turner is that you have to trust me, always a daunting proposition. He's shown flashes of great talent, but he's never had to carry the load himself. Fortunately, the Falcons have a great backup and change of pace guy in Jerious Norwood, but he's virtually no threat to Turner's touchdown production.
It also helps that the Falcons will lean on him with rookie QB Matt Ryan taking his first real lumps in the NFL. If he's getting killed early, my projections for Turner will go up a couple hundreds yards and a TD or two.
He's a little bit of an unknown, but he's a great value considering many people will consider anyone on the Falcons as fantasy arsenic. Give him a shot and you may thank me later.
Best Atlanta Falcon Sleeper: WR Laurent Robinson
It amazes me that nobody's talking about this guy. My co-owner in my dynasty league had to slam my head off the table a couple times to get me to stop calling for us to draft Robinson, who could well break out like Roddy White did for the Falcons last year. Everyone dismisses him because he's the second or third receiver on a bad team, but L-Rob an intriguing prospect.
His biggest question may still be his hands, but he's actually a very solid pass catcher. He's also fast, rangy and agile, allowing him to get plenty of separation. He's also playing for a team that has a 75 year-old Marcus Pollard and a handless Ben Hartsock at tight end, so he's certainly not threatened for catches there. Once he inevitably passes Michael Jenkins on the depth chart, Robinson should be a #2 receiver.
It's probably only fair to write him in for 600-700 yards and 5 TDs, but he can round out your yearly league and be a terrific flier in dynasty leagues, where he's likely to be one of the last receivers selected if he's picked at all. He's a very low cost investment that could pay you very big dividends down the line.
Atlanta Falcon Fantasy Poison: QB Michael Vick
For those of you who aren't aware, he's not exactly with the Falcons anymore.
So it's a fairly weak team to pick from, and Matt Ryan is still a huge wildcard. I think you can still get solid value with Turner, Roddy White and Robinson, so I'd recommend giving one a shot. Kicker Jason Elam is also a solid bet, as he's going to be kicking plenty of field goals for a relatively weak offense.
Go forth and draft well!