Kickoff: Sunday, October 11th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Betting Odds: ATL -7, 53.5 total via Oddsshark
Teddy Bridgewater (Start, Low-end QB1)
Matchups don’t get any better than this week’s against Atlanta, for Teddy Bridgewater. The Falcons are allowing more than 30 fantasy points a game to the QB position and surrendered 12 passing touchdowns in just four weeks. Teddy B. is clicking in this offense right now, completing 70% of his passes in the last three games, and his passing volume is over 32 attempts a game. Both are exactly what fantasy managers are looking for. While Bridgewater is still a conservative passer, but this week against the Falcons that should not be much of a factor. Atlanta is among the lowest in pressure rate and allowing almost 9-yards per attempt. Teddy will have a solid outing this week and is a favorite streaming option this week.
Mike Davis (Start, RB1)
Christian McCaffery is ruled out this week but is eligible to return to fantasy lineups in Week 6. In his absence veteran, Mike Davis has performed admirably in his stead. In two games as a replacement, Davis has 44 opportunities, has scored in each game, and averaged over 90 total yards. While the Falcons have been better against the run, teams have found it so easy to throw on them that those stats could be skewed. Davis will again be a high volume back this weekend after news broke that Reggie Bonnafon will be headed to IR. Fire up Davis as an RB1 again this week, it may be the last chance we get all season.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
DJ Moore (Start, WR2), Robby Anderson (Start, WR2), Curtis Samuel (Sit), Ian Thomas (Sit)
The start of the season has not gone the way fantasy managers envisioned for this Panthers’ receiver corps. D.J. Moore, while not a bust, has failed to perform to his lofty pre-season expectations. Robbie Anderson has far exceeded them, leading the team in targets, receptions, yards, and has the only wide receiver score on the season. Moore’s play has been solid, not spectacular, but he could explode at any point and there is no better matchup than the Falcons. At worst, Moore has performed as an every-week flex play, and while not ideal he isn’t disappearing. Have patience and you will be rewarded this week. Anderson looks like the real deal in this offense, the Panthers are using him in a variety of formations and routes, something that the Jets never asked him to do. Add to that his deep threat ability and Anderson has been a steal this season. Expect his volume and production to continue, we are already four games in and the roles are becoming clear. He’s an easy WR2 play this week.
Curtis Samuel has struggled to find his place in this new Panthers offense, and managers cannot trust him in lineups at the moment. In fact, he should be on waivers for the time being. Likewise for Ian Thomas. Thomas was a player on the list of breakout tight ends, but he doesn’t appear to be ready to take that next step. Thomas did score last week but has failed to top 16-yards receiving in any game this season. He is a touchdown dependant play, and that is difficult to project.
Matt Ryan (Start, QB2)
Matt Ryan may be in for another long day this weekend, against a Carolina team that has been decent against the pass. Kyler Murray was able to light them up for three passing touchdowns but before then the team allowed just three in three games. The Panthers are also allowing just 240 yards passing to opposing QBs. Ryan relies on high yardage and touchdown totals and he just may not get that chance this week. He’s a mid-range QB2 and should only be started in two-quarterback or SuperFlex leagues.
Todd Gurley II (Start, RB2), Brian Hill (Sit), Ito Smith (Sit)
Todd Gurley showed us last week that he can still be explosive and productive but is no longer the complete back we hoped for. Gurley is getting touches as a rusher and has as much touchdown upside as any back in the league. But he is a non-factor in the passing game right now. This week he faces a Carolina team that has allowed six rushing touchdowns and nearly 100-total yards to opposing backs. Gurley is an RB2 with touchdown upside this week and should be in lineups.
Brian Hill and Ito Smith are competing against each other for a limited role as the backup running back. The rushing volume that Atlanta generates is not enough for managers to chase either.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Julio Jones (Start if active, WR2), Calvin Ridley (Start, WR1), Russell Gage (Start, Flex), Olamide Zaccheaus (Sit), Hayden Hurst (Start, TE1)
Pay attention to the injury reports on Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Jones started Week 4 but quickly left the game when he reaggravated his hamstring. Jones has yet to practice this week and managers should expect to be without him in Week 5. Ridley was held without a catch last week after starting the season with three straight 100-yard games. Ridley came out of the game healthy however and this week he is an excellent play against the Panthers.
If Julio is out of the game, then the remaining Falcons receiving all get a bump. Last week Olamide Zaccheaus has a productive day but he will likely give way to a healthy Russell Gage this week. Gage is a longshot flex starter but he collected 21 targets and 15 receptions in his two fully healthy games. He’s a sneaky starter is Jones is out.
Hayden Hurst is on the cusp of a breakout, and rewarding manager who have been patient. Hurst is tenth in the league among tight ends in targets with 22, about 5.5 per game. he’s also had either 50+ yards or a touchdown in each of his last three games. Without Jones, Hurst may be asked to pick up the slack. This week he faces a Panthers defense that has been tough on tight ends, allowing just 37 yards and zero touchdowns. Hurst is right on the cusp of weekly fantasy starter this week.
-Marc Salazar (@dingwog on Twitter)