Can fantasy footballers find value in Atlanta’s backfield?

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When the Atlanta Falcons decided to pull the trigger to trade longtime franchise quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts this offseason, they ushered in a full restart that was likely overdue. at least two years.

During his 14 years in Atlanta, Ryan averaged 572 passes per season and threw 560 times last year in this system. Don’t expect newcomers Marcus Mariota Where Desmond Cavalier to approach last year’s number in 2022 — in his three seasons as a starter with the Tennessee Titans, Mariota averaged 412.

With far less experience at quarterback, the Falcons are expected to rely more on the run, although a look at their depth chart doesn’t inspire much confidence in this approach. While they can always add a free agent at some point, that’s what the Falcons are working with for now.

Cordarrelle Patterson

Anchored to a one-year, $3 million contract in free agency ahead of the 2021 season, Patterson found himself on the shortlist of the best negotiating signing in all of football. The former Minnesota Vikings first-round pick never lived up to his draft station as a catcher and had settled into a part-time gimmick role while bouncing around the league. Much to the credit of offensive coordinator Dave Ragone, the Falcons decided to bring Patterson out of the backfield, where he responded with 1,166 total yards and 11 touchdowns, becoming their best offensive playmaker.

There are still some questions regarding Patterson, however, who at 31 is already past the “sell-forward” date for most backs. While he clearly hasn’t gotten over the long-term wear and tear of full-time RBs, he still has 143 career games under his belt.

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Adjustments will have to be made with Ryan gone as the veteran quarterback has garnered a level of respect from the secondaries that neither Mariota nor Ridder will. It’s also worth noting that while Patterson sits at the top of the depth chart, he’s not a workaholic and his fantasy value will be tied to his ability to continue maximizing his touches.

Damien Williams

Williams will be playing for his fourth team in five years, which is a pretty accurate barometer of his talent level. The 30-year-old has topped 50 carries in a season just once (111-498-5 with KC in 2020) but is averaging a respectable 4.2 yards per attempt throughout his career.

Williams is also a capable receiver out of the backfield, and he should at least help the pass. He’s likely to stick around as a veteran deep, though the team would be thrilled if he operated in the same type of supporting role he’s held for most of his time in the NFL.

Tyler Allgeier

A fifth-round pick without much fanfare, Allgeier quietly enters a potentially productive situation with the Falcons. At 5-foot-11, 224 pounds, the BYU product is a good size and has been heavily used over the past two years with the Cougars, where he rushed for 2,731 yards and 36 touchdowns.

He lacks the speed of play to be sure and projects himself more as someone who crushes the opposition with punches to the body than dazzles them with hay. The rookie has decent hands, but in all likelihood his primary role looms as a two-man fullback and an occasional threat around the goal line.

Fantasy football prospects

While there are no sure things in Atlanta’s backfield, Patterson is the only one who has it. Sure, there are legitimate questions given his “breakout” season was in Grade 9, but on a team short on playmakers, Patterson thinks he’s a focal point offensively. This gives it solid RB3 appeal.

Unless injuries push him into a bigger role than expected, Williams can stay on waivers. Although he may now be in third place on the depth chart, Allgeier is the best flight option. There is an outside chance for a scenario that puts Allgeier in the starting role, with Patterson serving more as a change and/or third back. Allgeier is a workaholic in a way that neither Williams nor Patterson are capable of, and that alone gives him late-round potential.

Whichever guy ends up seeing the bulk of the touches in the red zone, both quarterback options like to rush the rock, and that devalues ​​the overall upside fantasy of that backfield.

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