Kickoff: Monday, October 5th at 8:15 PM ET
Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
Betting Odds: ATL +7.5, 58 total via Oddsshark
Matt Ryan (Start, Low-end QB1)
Green Bay’s secondary has been pretty mediocre so far this year, allowing plenty of yards per game. The Packers are right next to the Bears (the Falcons’ Week 3 opponent) in yards allowed so far this year. Still, this game should be high-scoring, and Matt Ryan will need to throw like crazy for the Falcons to have a shot this week. Ryan’s completion percentage took a 15% hit last week, and lacking receiving options was certainly a factor. Assuming he has Julio Jones and/or Russell Gage back in the mix this week, Ryan should be capable of QB1 numbers if the Falcons plan to throw the ball as much as I believe they will.
Todd Gurley II (Start, Low-end RB2), Brian Hill (Sit)
Green Bay had a bad rush defense last year and is looking pretty mediocre in 2020. Todd Gurley (fresh off his best performance of the season) should be capable of a solid performance against the Packers. The chief concern will be how much work he receives. I don’t know if it’s Dirk Koetter or what, but this team does not commit to running the ball. If Atlanta finds themselves playing from behind or in a shootout, Gurley will quickly lose relevance this week.
Brian Hill put up 15 fantasy points last week, but it was mainly due to a fluky play. Hill scored a touchdown on a 35-yard run in Week 3, but expecting that sort of production every week is unrealistic. Brian could become more involved as the season goes on, but I doubt that happens anytime soon.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Julio Jones (Start if active, WR2), Calvin Ridley (Start, WR1), Russell Gage (Startable WR3 if Julio inactive), Hayden Hurst (High-end TE2)
The Falcons decided to let Julio Jones sit last week with his hurt hamstring. Jones is a tough guy and was a game-day decision in Week 3, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Julio return this week. Keep an eye on his injury updates, though. If Julio is good to go, I like his odds for WR2 production (even if he is still a little banged up) in a game where the Falcons will likely need to throw the ball a lot.
Even with his subpar game, Calvin Ridley nearly put up WR2 numbers last week. I wouldn’t be too worried about Ridley. The entire Falcons offense was struggling last week. Calvin is still a top fantasy receiving option, especially when considering how often this team will throw the ball this year. The Packers are allowing more than enough yards for Ridley to return to his WR1 production.
With Julio Jones inactive last week, many thought Russell Gage would be the next man up. Unfortunately, he had to exit the game midway through the first half after a big hit and was evaluated for a concussion. Keep an eye on Gage’s availability this week. If he’s healthy and Jones is still inactive, fantasy players could be considering Russell once again.
Hayden Hurst salvaged his Week 3 with a one-yard touchdown on his one reception. I expected Hurst to receive more targets with Ryan low on options, but it seems the opposite was true. It’s possible he still needs more time to develop a connection with Ryan, so I can’t quite start Hurst with full confidence yet. The Packers were mediocre against fantasy tight ends last year, but have been stingy thus far in 2020. It’s encouraging that Hurst has found the end zone the past two weeks, but his fluctuating targets are giving me pause.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers (Start, QB1)
Atlanta was substandard against the pass last year and has begun the 2020 season looking even worse. Allowing the second-most passing yards per game this season, the Falcons’ secondary should be easily exploitable for Aaron Rodgers and the red-hot Packer offense. Rodgers put up a QB1 performance last week against the Saints without his WR1. He should be in line for another QB1 performance this week in what should be another high-scoring game against a bad secondary.
Aaron Jones (Start, RB1), Jamaal Williams (Sit), AJ Dillon (Sit), Tyler Ervin (Sit)
Aaron Jones left RB1 territory for the first time this year in his match-up against the Saints last week. He still put up a healthy 16.6 point total, though. The Saints and Falcons are pretty similar when it comes to stopping the run, so Jones’ match-up won’t be much different this week. Atlanta has been slightly worse so far this year, allowing a few more yards. Given his volume and 15% target share, Jones can flirt with RB1 numbers in almost any game this year, and this week is no exception.
The backfield behind Aaron is still pretty hectic with Tyler Ervin, Jamaal Williams, and AJ Dillon getting mixed usage and nearly non-existent fantasy production over the first three weeks of the season.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Davante Adams (WR1 if active), Allen Lazard (WR1 if Adams inactive), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Sit, Boom-or-Bust flex option), Robert Tonyan (Sit), Jace Sternberger (Sit), Marcedes Lewis (Sit)
The Packers let Davante Adams sit last week with a hamstring injury, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they opted to let him rest this week as well. The Packers got the win without Adams last week and should be capable of beating the Falcons without him this week. Plus, resting Adams for another week may make sense considering the Packers’ bye is next week. That said, if Adams is healthy and does play, he certainly has a juicy match-up this week.
Just like last year, Allen Lazard stepped up in a big way in Adams’ absence with a very impressive WR1 showing. Assuming Adams sits again this week, Lazard should be capable of WR1 numbers once again against the Falcons’ secondary this week. Atlanta is allowing the second-most passing yards in the league so far this year.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling had an upsetting 1.5-point performance last week when he saw his target share drop from 15% in Week 2 to 7% in Week 3. Valdes-Scantling will still see plenty of the field and will have his deep-shot opportunities come eventually, but he’s going to have volatile fantasy production this year. I can easily see MVS having a few big plays against Atlanta’s swiss-cheese secondary, but he is unfortunately just as capable of upsetting fantasy owners with an unsatisfying fantasy performance, especially if he draws Adams’ usual coverage like he did last week.
Robert Tonyan and Jace Sternberger were mostly splitting the tight end receiving duties last week. Tonyan had a respectable fantasy performance last week mainly because the Saints were focusing their coverage elsewhere and allowing Green Bay to complete plenty of short passes. Heck, even veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis is in the mix. Rodgers was successful targeting his tight ends in Week 3, but there are too many mouths to feed for any to stay consistently relevant.
-Ryan Kruse (@ryanpkruse on Twitter)