QB Matt Ryan (QB - #4) - Solid/Safe Pick
Matt Ryan has the potential to develop into one of the elite quarterbacks in fantasy football, but has yet to elevate his game to that level in four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. Ryan established new career highs across the board, including reaching the 4,000 yard plateau for the first time in his career last season. Ryan has a plethora of weapons at his disposal with veterans like Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, along with breakout candidate Julio Jones in the fold; which makes him a solid fantasy option with legitimate upside this season.
QB Luke McCown (QB - #52) - Not Draft Worthy
Signed by Atlanta after the Falcons released backuo Chris Redman, McCown has thrown nine touchdown passes over a longer than you think but as spotty as can be NFL career, but none since 2007. Last season threw for 256 yards and four interceptions over four games with the Jaguars. Undrafted rookie Dominique Davis may be No. 2 on the depth chart, so McCown's presence may be no more than hand holder should Matt Ryan be sidelined.
RB Michael Turner (RB - #26) - Solid/Safe Pick
Michael Turner has rushed for over 1,000 yards in three of the last four seasons and has scored double-digit touchdowns in four consecutive seasons. However, there are legitimate concerns that the heavy workload will start to take its toll. Turner is also 30 years old now and is not a factor in the passing game, which hurts his value in point-per-reception leagues. Turner remains a low-end number one or a solid number two fantasy option, but he is a potential bust candidate with clear warning signs.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers (RB - #37) - Sleeper (undervalued)
Jacquizz Rodgers will serve as Michael Turner's primary backup this season, which makes him the ideal handcuff for Turner's fantasy owners on draft day. Rodgers, dual threat who excels in the passing game, rushed for 205 yards and a score on 57 carries as well as caught 21 passes for 188 yards and a score as a rookie last season. If Turner goes down with an injury, Rodgers will have a significant fantasy impact this season, which makes him worthy of a selection in the late rounds of all fantasy drafts.
RB Jason Snelling (RB - #73) - Deep-league Only
Jason Snelling has seen his role in the Falcons offense diminish in each of the last two seasons and is now third on the depth chart thanks to the emergence of rookie Jacquizz Rodgers last season. If Turner were to go down, Rodgers would get the first shot at the starting job, but Snelling has excelled when given the opportunity in the past; keep an eye on Snelling this season, he could be worth a speculative pickup off the wavier wire at some point.
WR Julio Jones (WR - #2) - Stud (low risk)
Julio Jones, Atlanta's highly touted first round pick, displayed a propensity for breaking big plays during his rookie season and is poised for a breakout sophomore campaign. With Pro Bowl wideout Roddy White drawing away defensive attention, the Alabama product will have plenty of opportunities to burn opposing defenses with his blazing speed this season. Jones will be highly sought after in all fantasy leagues this fall.
WR Roddy White (WR - #7) - Stud (low risk)
One of the top receivers in fantasy football, Roddy White has been a model of consistency over the last five years, recording at least 80 receptions and 1,000 yards over that stretch. With second-year wideout Julio Jones poised for a breakout season, White's numbers could drop slightly, but he remains a stud at the wide receiver position worthy of being one of the top five players at the position taken on draft day.
WR Harry Douglas (WR - #87) - Deep-league Only
Harry Douglas resigned with Atlanta this offseason after the most productive season of his career in which he caught 39 passes for 498 yards with one touchdown. Douglas is now two years removed from a knee injury that cost him all of the 2009 season, but has yet to truly breakout as many expected. Douglas is a shifty slot receiver, but with Roddy White and Julio Jones ahead of him in the pecking order, targets will be hard to come by this season.
TE Tony Gonzalez (TE - #4) - Solid/Safe Pick
Tony Gonzalez is now 36 years old, but is coming off another productive season in which he caught 80 passes for 875 yards with seven touchdowns. There are younger options with more upside, but the reality is that the future Hall of Famer just continues to produce. Gonzalez is the ideal pickup for fantasy owners who miss out on the elite options at the position on draft day. Gonzalez is a low-end starting fantasy tight end with extremely limited upside due to his age.
PK Matt Bryant (K - #7) - Stud (low risk)
A solid fantasy option, Matt Bryant has two key attributes that you look for in a fantasy football kicker: he plays in a dome (which eliminates weather issues on most weeks) and also plays for one of the NFL's most explosive offenses. Bryant connected on 27-of-29 (93%) field goals last season, including a perfect 2-for-2 from beyond 50 yards.
Atlanta Defense (Def - #15) - Quality Backup
The Falcons are a middle of the road fantasy defense that lacks the true impact playmakers necessary to transform an average defense into a quality fantasy defense. Atlanta added a ballhawking corner in Asante Samuel this offseason, but they still lack any kind of a pass rush, which will prevent them from becoming a solid fantasy defense this season.