Falcons @ Saints
The big story coming into this game was Taysom Hill’s first start at quarterback to replace the injured Drew Brees. He showed off his dual-threat ability by running in two touchdowns, and the Saints defense was all over Matt Ryan throughout the game, registering eight sacks. The Saints scored in every quarter and held the Falcons scoreless in the second half. They cruised to a 24-9 victory and it really could have been more than that. The Saints will travel to Denver next week and the Falcons will host the Raiders.
Matt Ryan: 19/37, 232 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 8 sacks
Matt Ryan was under constant duress in this game. He was sacked eight times and pressured on more than that. It didn’t help that his running game only ran for 52 yards on the day. Stud wide receiver Julio Jones injured his hamstring in the middle of the game and only played sparingly throughout the rest of the game. The end result was not pretty for Ryan. The Falcons stalled in the red zone multiple times and settled for field goals and he completed just over half of his passes. His one interception was a Hail Mary at the end of the first half, so that can’t be counted against him too much.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 22, 2020
His other interception was on a poor timing route with Calvin Ridley. Ridley stutter-stepped and broke in and Ryan’s pass did not anticipate the stutter step and was easily picked off. Ryan will be a QB1 if Julio is healthy against the Raiders, and if not, is a streaming option in the plus matchup.
Matt Ryan has been in the league since 2008 and just made a major rookie mistake taking this sack instead of keeping his team in FG range to take the lead.pic.twitter.com/SekHMOuoT7
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 22, 2020
Todd Gurley: 8 carries, 26 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 3 yards
Brian Hill: 4 carries, 18 yards
The running backs weren’t asked to do much in this game. The Falcons were within one score of the Saints through the third quarter but the running backs weren’t very successful on the attempts they did have. Todd Gurley is just an RB2 from week to week and has a solid matchup with the Raiders on tap. He needs touchdowns to pay off in fantasy as he has really struggled to pay off without them. No other running back should be played in fantasy at the moment.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Julio Jones: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 39 yards
Calvin Ridley: 9 targets, 5 receptions, 90 yards
Hayden Hurst: 2 targets, 0 receptions
Russell Gage: 12 targets, 7 receptions, 58 yards
Calvin Ridley returned from injury and had a nice game. The second Falcons play was a 40-yard+ completion downfield to Ridley.
Matt Ryan goes DEEP to Ridley! pic.twitter.com/23kjngZgOR
— The Matt Ryan Vault (@MattRyanVault) November 22, 2020
He seemed to play a full complement of snaps and had a good game for himself despite not scoring a touchdown. He is a WR1 whenever he is playing and should get a target boost if Julio Jones misses time with a hamstring injury, which he picked up towards the end of the first half. Julio did return in the fourth quarter for a bit and made a catch but missed a majority of the game. It doesn’t seem too serious but keep an eye on his status going into next week. He is of course a WR1 whenever he is playing.
With Matt Ryan under so much pressure, he hit Russell Gage underneath often and Gage led the team in receptions. This was his most targets and receptions since Week 1 and his second-most receiving yards in that span as well. He is just a WR3/4 most weeks because of his limited ceiling. Hayden Hurst had an endzone target that drew a penalty but didn’t do much else. He is a TD or bust TE1/2 while everyone is healthy in Atlanta.
New Orleans Saints
Taysom Hill: 18/23, 233 yards, 3 sacks | 10 carries, 51 yards, 2 TD, 1 fumble lost
Taysom Hill surprisingly got the start over Jameis Winston at quarterback for the Saints. Hill played a good game on Sunday. He didn’t throw the ball downfield much (only a couple of shots I saw) and targeted his best receiver Michael Thomas more than half of his attempts in short or intermediate routes. He underthrew Emmanuel Sanders severely on a deep ball that wound up being a 44-yard reception thanks to Sanders’ adjustment on the ball. He did hit Sanders on another deep ball that would have been a touchdown but was negated due to a holding penalty. On the ground, Hill converted a 4th and goal for a touchdown and scrambled to his left in the red zone. Check out his second touchdown below in GIF form. He did fumble on a carry in the fourth where he was trying to do too much down the field when he could have gone out of bounds or slid. It wound up not hurting the Saints but it could have. Overall Hill looked Brees-esque; he was constantly throwing short quick throws to Michael Thomas, took a couple of deep shots, but more importantly he ran the ball often. That’s not something that’s in Brees’ game and it adds another dimension to this offense. As long as Hill is starting, he should be a low-end QB1 thanks to his rushing ability.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) November 22, 2020
Alvin Kamara: 13 carries, 45 yards, 1 TD | 1 target
Latavius Murray: 12 carries, 49 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 36 yards
Taysom Hill may be a big-time negative for Alvin Kamara. Kamara is known for having the best floor in fantasy thanks to his fantastic receiving usage. The old adage of running quarterbacks not throwing to their running backs was pretty much true in this one. Hill wasn’t under pressure often, and when he was, he didn’t really check it down to his running backs. Kamara’s day was thankfully saved by a short rushing touchdown or it would have been a disaster with no receptions. Kamara is obviously an RB1 whenever he plays but he may be more touchdown-dependent with Hill under center than he usually is. Latavius Murray had some garbage time work but was mixed in throughout the game per usual. He is a top-notch handcuff to own and had a bit of standalone value as it is. Below is Kamara’s short touchdown.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) November 22, 2020
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Michael Thomas: 12 targets, 9 receptions, 104 yards
Emmanuel Sanders: 5 targets, 4 reception, 66 yards
Jared Cook: 1 target, 1 Reception, 6 yards
Welcome back Mr. Thomas! Michael Thomas was the clear focal point in the passing game as he was targeted on more than half of Taysom Hill’s passing attempts. Thomas was consistently getting open underneath and in the intermediate game for his quarterback. Thomas had seven of Hill’s first 11 targets and he even dropped a ball or two, so his line could have been bigger. Thomas is a no-brainer WR1 every week and concerns of his quarterback play with Brees can be eased.
Emmanuel Sanders was the deep weapon in this game. He had a 50+ yard touchdown called back because of a holding penalty. On another deep shot, Sanders made a fantastic adjustment on a severely underthrown ball. He then fumbled it but was eventually ruled down by contact. He is a WR3 going forward because of his shaky usage week-to-week. Jared Cook was an afterthought in this one and is just a touchdown or bust TE from week to week.
— Kevin Taylor (@ktbeast918 on Twitter)