2021 Projections: Atlanta Falcons
In our fantasy drafts, we always think we have a good idea of what numbers to expect from our picks. However, I think having a set of reasonable or expected projections can really help, not only can they differentiate players’ expected outcomes easily but also show which players have the most room for upside. With this series, I will be showing my personal expected projections and telling you if I think anyone is being under or overvalued in best-ball/redraft drafts right now. These do not really work for dynasty as well because they are just 2021 projections, but if young players are projecting well that is a great sign for dynasty. Let’s dig in.
First, I’ll just touch on my process. I start by looking at the team and individual player trends over the last 2-3 seasons. I get stats like target shares, rush shares, yards per carry, yards per reception, completion percentage, and yards per attempt. As well as team-focused stuff like pass to rush play ratio (this is just team pass attempts divided by team rush attempts), pass to rush touchdown ratio and total plays. I then use these past trends and try to predict what will be in store for 2021. Here are my projections for the Atlanta Falcons’ fantasy-relevant players.
Keep in mind, these stats are for the new 17 game season and not the old 16 game seasons. Let’s look at the start of the offense first, Matt Ryan. I have Ryan slotted in for 4700 yards and 30 TDs. This would be a very typical season for him as he is usually in that mid 4000 yard and high 20s touchdown range. With that being said Matt Ryan currently has a pretty reasonable ADP and I am fine with drafting him there. He’s a nice guy to grab if you wait a bit too long and miss out on the top 10-12 QBs.
Now, onto Mike Davis, the new running back for the Falcons. Davis just had a career year in Carolina where he played CMC’s replacement. Now the reigns belong completely to him and he is in for a large workload. Unfortunately, the Falcons do not target the RB in the passing as many other teams but Davis will still see his share of targets. I have him ready to put up a true workhorse season, consisting of over 320 touches, 1400 scrimmage yards, and 10 TDs. This season is due to the Falcons not having any real competition for carries or receptions. So, I believe Davis will see a monster’s share of the touches. Somewhere around 85% seems very likely to me. His ADP is currently RB24 and I absolutely love him there. I have Davis projected for just under 15 points per game and if he can stay healthy that will be good for a top 16-18 RB season. Draft him at or slightly above ADP.
Now onto the best part of the Atlanta offense, the pass catchers. I have Ridley doing exactly what we expect of him while no longer having to share a field with Julio Jones. 97 catches, 1400 yards, and 9 touchdowns. This all adds up to a 17.2 ppg season. His ADP is currently WR6 and that is exactly where he falls in my projections. Scoop Ridley up at ADP in your drafts and feel great about it. The other WRs on this team are more just role players and I am not expecting too much from them this season. They can be good dart throws if you do not believe in Pitts, but I do, and I see Ridley and Pitts soaking up a large chunk of Matt Ryan’s passes.
Lastly, maybe my favorite rookie of the class, Kyle Pitts. I have Pitts projected to absolutely explode onto the scene and break pretty much every rookie TE record that exists. He is essentially replacing Julio, Matt Ryan is an exceptional quarterback, the Falcons defense is awful, and Kyle Pitts looks like he was created in a lab for the sole purpose of playing tight end in the NFL. For all of these reasons, I have Pitts projected to go for 90 catches, 1200 yards, and 8 TDs. Thus putting him up pretty much with the current top three tight end grouping of Kelce, Waller, and Kittle. I do have them all projected for more points, but Pitts is in his own little tier that falls between the top three elites and the second-tier guys like Andrews, Fant, and Hockenson. With a current redraft ADP of TE5, I am all aboard the hype train and even ready to reach on him just a tad and draft him as the TE4.
That is all I have for you here today. I hope you enjoyed and lookout for the next installment, when I bring to you the Chicago Bears and their new look offense led by the rookie Justin Fields.