Kickoff: Sunday, October 2nd, at 1:00 PM EST
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Betting Odds: CLE -2.5, 48 total via Oddsshark
Writer: Matthew Cava (@cavaM_ Twitter & Reddit)
Jacoby Brissett (Sit)
A game-manager at its finest, Jacoby Brissett did just enough to secure the win last Thursday against Pittsburgh, completing 21 of 31 attempts for 220 yards and two touchdowns. He’s been serviceable in Deshaun Watson’s absence but lacks big-play ability, which hinders his fantasy relevancy. Per FantasyData, Brissett ranks as the 16th best quarterback on the fantasy season through the first three weeks. The Falcons defense has given up the ninth most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, but in a run-first offense, Brissett holds no fantasy value in single-QB leagues.
Nick Chubb (Start, RB1), Kareem Hunt (Start, Flex)
The number two fantasy running back on the season, Nick Chubb has delivered each and every week. To date, he has 341 rush yards on 62 carries, with four scores on the ground. Atlanta is a middle-of-the-pack defense against the run, allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to RBs through three games. Do not fret though – this offense runs through Chubb, and that trend should continue; in comparison to Kareem Hunt, Chubb holds a 56.2% to 49.3% advantage on snap percentage. Speaking of Hunt, he is still a factor in this offense; however, his lack of scoring is impacting his fantasy outcome. Hunt hasn’t scored since Week 1, where he had both a rushing and a receiving touchdown against Carolina. For that reason alone, I have Hunt pegged as a Flex option this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Amari Cooper (Start, WR2), Donovan Peoples-Jones (Sit), David Njoku (Start, TE2), Harrison Bryant (Sit)
In back-to-back games, Amari Cooper eclipsed 100 receiving yards, albeit 101 exactly in both contests. He also scored twice – one in each game – and had 21 total targets in that span. He is the clear number one in the Cleveland WR room, as he is leading the charge with an average of nine targets per game; 27 total through three games. The Falcons have given up the 4th most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, and Cooper will look to build off his recent success. Despite being second in targets (15) behind Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones has not been relevant this season aside from his 11-target Week 1. He can be left on the wire. Tight end David Njoku had a blow-up performance against the Steelers last week, catching nine of 10 targets for 89 yards and a touchdown. It was his best game of the season, and he could be in line for another big game against an Atlanta defense that has given up the second most fantasy points to TEs this year. Just last week, the Falcons allowed Seattle’s Will Dissly to catch all three of his targets for 34 yards and a touchdown, and in Week 2, LA’s Tyler Higbee caught seven of nine targets for 71 yards.
Marcus Mariota (Start, QB2)
The attempts weren’t many with only 20, but Marcus Mariota did make the most of his game against the Seahawks in Week 3. He completed 13 passes for 229 yards, one touchdown, an interception, and a lost fumble. More notably, he turned seven carries into just four yards but also a touchdown. He was a serviceable streamer and should continue to offer rushing upside which would boost his fantasy output on a weekly basis. Per FantasyData, Mariota ranks sixth on the season in rushing yards for QBs with 92, and fourth in attempts with 25. At the time of writing, it’s unclear whether Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett will both play in this game, and if both are absent, it could bode well for Mariota to run a bit more than usual; Garrett suffered injuries from a car accident on Tuesday, and his status for Sunday is TBD.
Cordarrelle Patterson (Start, RB2)
Atlanta picked up their first win of the season against Seattle, and Cordarrelle Patterson was a major part of that. 17 carries turned into 141 yards on the ground – a career-high – and a touchdown to sweeten the day. This blow-up is coming off a down Week 2, but the 31-year-old took over for the lack of pass-catching ahead of him. He owns the Atlanta backfield, with 49 carries to his name in comparison to rookie Tyler Allgeier, who only has 16; and that’s with Damien Williams on IR since Week 2. For a team that has said they wanted to limit Patterson’s touches, that hasn’t been the case through three games, as he has 120 total snaps, leading the backfield with a 62.2% snap share. The Browns have given up the 12th fewest fantasy points to RBs this year, but again, this defense may be without Clowney & Garrett again in the middle of the field.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Drake London (Start, WR3), Olamide Zaccheaus (Sit), Kyle Pitts (Start, TE1)
Drake London saved his Week 3 with a touchdown, as he only caught three of six targets for 54 yards against Seattle. Even so, the targets have been there for London even after missing the preseason, as he has 25 through three games, which leads the Falcons offense – even over Kyle Pitts, who has 18. London is making the most of the situation: a QB who doesn’t throw a ton, plus a WR-room where the competition is scarce. For instance, Olamide Zaccheaus lacks fantasy relevancy, as he has only eight targets in three games. And he is really the only notable receiver behind London. We are anxiously awaiting the Pitts breakout game and thought it was imminent in the beginning of Week 3, but alas, he finished the day with five receptions (on eight targets) for 87 yards. It was his best game of the season to date, and you will hope he can build off of it against the Browns.
Me likey your sit/starts for each game big time. Mark Borezo