Week 4 Fantasy: Start/Sit Special – Packers-Falcons

As our Fantasy weeks wrap up, there’s a lot on the line on Monday as two offensive powerhouses face off when the Green Bay Packers host the Atlanta Falcons. Do yourself the favor and bet the over, as they own the second- and fourth-ranked total offenses, respectively.

You know what high-scoring games means? Lots of fantasy points up for grabs.

Let’s take a look at both teams and try to figure out who’s poised for a big game and who you might be better off leaving on your bench. 

Since COVID-19 is now impacting the NFL schedule, we have been blessed with an extra Monday night game. If your fantasy match-up has more riding on the Patriots and Chiefs game, NZI’s Jake Miller has you covered.

Creator: Tom Pennington | Credit: Getty Images

 QUARTERBACKS

  • Aaron Rodgers: Aaron Rodgers is out to prove a point this year, as he’s coming off a three-touchdown, 283-yard performance against the Saints. If he wants to keep pace with Russell Wilson inthe MVP race, his Monday night match-up against the Falcons should do just the trick. Their defense has been getting carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey all season, and they just so happen to give up the most fantasy points to the quarterback position in the league. Rodgers is in contention to finish the week as the QB1. You know what to do.
  • Matt Ryan: Despite the Falcons blowing two leads in the fourth quarter and being winless on the season, Matt Ryan has continued to keep this offense rolling, putting up fantasy points in the process. He currently sits as the QB8, but considering his team is at high risk of being down early, he might have to try to put the team on his back once again and go toe-to-toe with Rodgers. The Packers defense is 18th against the pass and Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley could easily exploit their matchups. Even in the event of a blowout, Matt Ryan has the weapons and arm to put up some valuable garbage-time points. Start Matt Ryan.
Photo credit: Packers.com

RUNNING BACKS

  • Aaron Jones: Aaron Jones is a REALLY good running back. Following in the mold of Alvin Kamara, he’s made a name for himself by being hyper-efficient on a smaller number of rushing attempts. To prove my point, he’s 11th in the NFL in rushing attempts with 50, yet is second in rushing yards with 303. Jones’ upside doesn’t stop there, as what separates the elite tier of running backs from the rest, is their usage in the passing game and goal line work. Good thing Aaron Jones is third among running backs in targets with 18, and he’s tied for first in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (4). Jones can do it all, and he only gets better when Davante Adams is hurt. From Weeks 5 through 8 in 2019, Adams was out with turf toe. Jones proceeded to out-produce every other RB during that time, averaging 26.6 fantasy points per game (half-point per-reception), averaging 137.75 yards from scrimmage and 1.75 touchdowns per game over that span… Did I mention he finished as the fantasy RB2 with 19 total touchdowns last year? For the love of God, don’t ever bench Aaron Jones.
  • Jamaal Williams: If you’re trying to decide whether you should start Jamaal Williams tomorrow, chances are you have already lost your matchup. Williams’ fantasy relevance diminishes with each passing week. The only chance he has at seeing significant work is if the Packers are blowing out the Falcons so badly, Matt Lafleur benches Aaron Jones. His lowly 12% average ownership should speak for itself. Leave him on waivers.
  • A.J. Dillon: With all the injuries at wide receiver, imagine what the Packers offense could look like if they drafted a position of need with their second-round pick
  • Todd Gurley: Todd Gurley’s fantasy performance could go either way. On one hand, he could gouge the Packers defense that has allowed 5.38 yards per carry through three weeks and tack on a touchdown. On the other, Gurley continues to show his regression, the Falcons get blown out, and Gurley is a complete bust. He’s a RB3/Flex play that’s a major boom-or-bust candidate. Tread carefully.
  • Brian Hill: Brian Hill has only seen 22 touches through three weeks and is still stuck behind Gurley on the depth chart. As long as they try to prove Gurley’s signing wasn’t a mistake, Hill will remain to be a player that should be rostered, but not in your starting lineup. He could see another uptick in usage this week, depending on game-script. However, if there’s anything we know about Dirk Koetter’s Offense, they’re throwing the ball downfield, not checking it down to Brian Hill.

PASS CATCHERS

  • Calvin Ridley: The king of all fantasy wide receivers, Calvin Ridley enters the week as THE WR1. Just look at some of his production through three weeks. He’s the league’s second-most targeted receiver (35), leads the league in air yards (542), deep targets (10), red zone targets (7), and is tied for the most receiving touchdowns with 4. Considering his worst fantasy performance was last week, where he totaled five receptions for 110 yards and 7 yards rushing, you have to be insane to even question his place in your roster. Ridley is breaking out this year, and should be in line for another monster performance this week. Start him as your WR1 without hesitation.
  • Julio Jones: Although Julio Jones is coming back from a hamstring injury, he was a limited participant in Friday’s practice, which leads me to believe he will suit up on Monday night. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the years, if Julio is playing, you start him, regardless of match-up or defense he’s up against. You invested too much draft capital in him to let him sit on your bench for another week as-is. Jones has been Matt Ryan’s go-to receiver for the better part of nine years, and since 2015, his lowest fantasy finish in half point-per-reception leagues is the WR6… Jones will see plenty of targets as Matt Ryan’s safety blanket.
  • Russell Gage: Often forgotten among the Falcons receivers, Russell Gage has carved out a nice role among this receiving corps. As their primary slot receiver, Gage has racked up 24 targets for 186 yards and one touchdown so far this season. In what’s suspected to be such a high-scoring affair, if you’re desperate to start someone in your flex, look no further. 

Photo credit: atlantafalcons.com

  • Hayden Hurst: Coming off back-to-back weeks finding the end zone, Hayden Hurst is starting to click in the Falcon’s offense. Coming in as the fantasy TE11, he hasn’t shown any reason for you to bench him. Lastly, as I’ve continued to express throughout this article, considering the projected score of this game, you start Hayden Hurst.
  • Robert Tonyan: Seeming to have surpassed both Jace Sternberger and Marcedes Lewis as the Packers starting tight end, Robert Tonyan is a player worth monitoring. He’s coming off back-to-back weeks with a touchdown, and is quietly asserting himself in this offense as an outlet for Rodgers to throw to. Considering Rodgers’ other passing options, I’d start him as my tight end.
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling: Forced into the Packers’ starting wide receiver role due to injury, Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the only notable wideout left for Aaron Rodgers to throw to. Seriously, the next two wide receivers on their depth chart are Malik Taylor and Darrius Shepherd. Between the two of them, they account for a whopping zero fantasy points and are tied for WR157. Any pass catcher is worth starting in this matchup, even if you’re as volatile as M.V.S.

DEFENSES

You will lose points. Don’t even think about it.

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