Kickoff: Sunday, November 3rd, 1:00 PM ET
Location: FedEx Field, Washington
Betting Odds: MIN -3;5, 43.5 total via PFF.com
Writer: Dustin Ludke (@TheDunit13 on Twitter)
Marcus Mariota (Sit, QB2)
Marcus Mariota has been a very solid quarterback for fantasy despite the comical play at times. He has been in the QB2 range five times and QB1 twice. The problem is when he misses, he misses hard having two games with under ten points. He now losses his star hybrid tight end in Kyle Pitts. He does get to play the Commanders who are giving up the thirteenth most points to quarterbacks. it’s not a great matchup for Mariota who has been on the razor’s edge of getting benched for rookie Desmond Ridder. I’m not starting Mariota this week. The Commanders have some very solid cover corners and the lack of a playmaker for the Falcons can’t make up for it. It’s also a very low-volume passing team. In only five games has Mariota had over 25 passing attempts?
Cordarrelle Patterson (Start, Flex), Tyler Allgeier (Sit)
Let’s start by congratulating Cordarrelle Patterson on setting the all-time record for kickoff returns for touchdowns. He got his 9th last week. Now while that was very exciting it’s not something we can count on or something that most people get fantasy points for. Looking at the Week 11 game it was a pretty even split between Patterson and Tyler Allgeier.
Looking at these numbers it’s hard to get excited about either running back. Neither played a large snap percent nor got a high volume of carries. They are playing the Commanders who are giving up the fifth-fewest points to running back and are could be getting Chase Young back. I’m okay starting Patterson as a flex play. The hope is that he will get back to the 60+ percent snap share he had before his injury. He is averaging 5.28 yards per carry and running the higher route percent. Allgeier isn’t getting enough volume to be fantasy relevant with Patterson back. Caleb Huntley is now just an afterthought.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Drake London (Start, Flex), Olamide Zaccheaus (Sit), Kyle Pitts (OUT)
With Kyle Pitts seemingly done for the season, it will fall to Drake London to be the alpha that he was drafted to be. The Commanders are giving up the twelfth most points to wide receivers but have two very good cover corners in Kendall Fuller and Benjamin St-Juste. Both rate over 60 on coverage by PFF.com. It’s not a great matchup for London but I expect him to still see plenty of targets. He ran a team-high 22 routes in Week 11. As we mentioned before it’s a low-volume passing offense so London will have to be very efficient on his targets. he only saw three this past week and caught only one for two yards. He saved his day but scored on that one catch. It is two games in a row for London to find the end zone so the hot hand is good enough for a flex play this week.
After London, the only other name to mention is Olamide Zaccheaus. He ran 20 routes this past week and is playing on over 75% of the team’s snaps. I’m not starting him based on the fact that he hasn’t been over the flex range except for weeks when he scores. It’s still a tough matchup for him coverage-wise. Someone else may step up to fill the Pitts void. it’s impossible to pick between Damiere Byrd, KhaDarel Hodge, tight end Parker Hesse or MyCole Pruitt.
Taylor Heinicke (Sit, QB2)
Taylor Heinicke has to lead the Commanders to a record of 4-1 since taking over for the injured Carson Wentz. It’s a classic example of good for real football and not so much for fantasy. In those five games, he has one game of QB1 range and then four in Sit range. he was close to QB2 in two of those weeks. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown in the past two weeks and now gets the Falcons who are giving up the eighth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. It’s a solid matchup for Heinicke but he would have to have a season-high day for him to be fantasy relevant. He has only one game over 250 yards. There just isn’t a pathway to solid production.
Antonio Gibson (Start, Flex), Brian Robinson Jr. (Sit, flex)
With J.D. McKissic out for the season, it comes down to Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson to carry the load in the backfield. While it looked like Robinson would take over it has still been Gibson’s backfield. In Week 11, Gibson played on 68% of the team’s snaps and saw 18 carries and three targets. Robinson was only out there for 34% of the team’s snaps and got 15 carries and no targets. In fact, Robinson didn’t run a single route. The Falcons are giving up the thirteen most points to running backs at 23.49. The game does not project to be a defensive battle so there should be points scored on both sides of the ball. I’m willing to start Gibson as a flex. With him being involved in the passing game he has enough opportunities to easily get into that range. Robinson needs to score to clear the flex range, and if he doesn’t he barely makes it there most weeks.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Terry McLaurin (Start, WR3), Curtis Samuel (Start, FLEX), Jahan Dotson (Sit), Logan Thomas (Start, TE2)
Terry McLaurin has been coming on lately. He has seen seven or more targets in the past five games. he is playing on the majority of the team’s snaps and leading the team in routes run. He probably draws coverage from Darren Hall who rates at 67.7 in coverage. He could also see A.J. Terrell who, while rates at 51.2 in coverage is one of the top corners in the league. Given the matchup and coverage options, McLaurin can be started as a WR3.
Curtis Samuel has been lining up more in the slot role and in Week 11 he ran 21 routes which was the second-highest on the team. He will probably see coverage from Isaiah Oliver who rates at 61.8. He hasn’t seen a ton of targets lately but is getting involved some in the rushing game and the team seems intentional about getting him the ball. I think he is a solid flex play this week. If they continue to manufacture touches for him he can continue to produce in the flex range.
Jahan Dotson returned from injury two weeks ago and has seen his snap share increase since then. In Week 11 he played 66% of the team’s snaps. He looks well on his way to getting back to the 85%+ that he was seeing before the injury. He hasn’t scored since returning and despite tying McLaurin with 23 routes run in Week 11 he only saw two targets and caught only one for 13 yards. It’s the second straight week of him only having one catch. You can’t start him with that limited volume and production.
Logan Thomas is leading the team’s group of tight ends. He played on 68% of the team’s snaps in Week 11 and saw six targets, catching five of them for 65 yards. The Falcons are giving up the eighth most points to tight ends so it’s a matchup I like. If you are looking for a tight end to play you can’t go wrong with Logan Thomas. It’s a good matchup and the volume has been there lately. He is a solid start in the TE2 range.