Looking for some last minute fantasy advice?
The Falcons are set to face off with the Bears up at Soldier Field in this weekend's season, and they'll have to deal with a pretty stout Chicago defense. A few years ago, you wouldn't dream of starting Falcons against Chicago. But with the Falcons revamped passing attack and a Bears secondary that has some big question marks, this could be a great week to put your new fantasy Falcons to the test. Here's your start 'em/sit 'em predictions for week one:
numberFire.com Projections: 14.67 points (20.7 completions, 230.13 passing yards, 1.64 TDs, 0.9 INTs)
Ryan should be a very safe start for this week's game against the Bears. He enters into the season with more weapons than ever before. Given the Bears' recurring success against the run, expect the Falcons to come out passing in this one. While this may not be a very high scoring game, Ryan should prove a solid bet for around 250 yards and a couple of TD's. However, if the O-line can provide enough protection, Ryan could easily have a field day against the Bears.
numberFire.com Projections: 10.33 points (5.71 recs, 74.95 yards, 0.47 TDs)
Roddy has become the model of consistency. Four straight seasons of 1000+ yards receiving, including a 115-catches for 1300+ yards performance in 2010, clearly puts White among the elite receivers in the game. Sure, the addition of Julio Jones and the presence of Harry Douglas may decrease some of his targets this season. But he's still Ryan's favorite target, and if anything Roddy will also see fewer double teams this season. Start him.
numberFire.com Projections: 4.58 points (2.55 recs, 38.21 yards, 0.13 TDs)
Now, this all very much depends on the depth of your respective league. If you have Santonio Holmes or Mike Wallace, then obviously start those caliber of guys over Julio. But if he's, say, your third receiver, then I'd give you the green light to start him. The projections may not indicate a great performance, but given Julio's strong, positive impressions so far I'd predict a better game than two catches for 40 yards. Plus, his 6'4 frame could easily translate to matchup problems and redzone targets.
numberFire.com Projections: 8.51 points (1.61 FG made, 1.79 FG attempts, 3.04 XP made)
Given the insane amount of talent that makes up the Falcons offense and his performance last season, Bryant should probably be a lock to start every week. Though this is an outdoor game, weather (and wind) don't look to be a big factor in today's Windy City matchup. Plus, Bryant has been automatic in the preseason, and is showing no sign that he's lost his touch.
numberFire.com Projections: 7.20 points (21.77 points allowed, 1.98 sacks, 1.98 turnovers, 0.21 defensive TDs)
I'm gonna go ahead and say start the Falcons D/ST for two main reasons: Jay Cutler and the Bears' O-line. Cutler has penchant for turning the ball over, and Brent Grimes (among others) has the knack for picking those passes off with ease. The Bears O-line is also known to be one of the least consistent groups in the NFL. That means sacks aplenty for Abraham & Co. They may not turn in a fantastic performance, but it should be a solid one
numberFire.com Projections: 12.76 points (20.14 attempts, 80.37 yards, 0.58 TDs)
The Bears actually return almost all of what was the second-ranked rush defense in the league last season. Turner will get his share of carries, sure. But given the host of other options the Falcons will have at their disposal and some first time starters along the O-line (Garrett Reynolds, Joe Hawley), it may be best to let Turner ride the bench in this one.
numberFire.com Projections: 5.12 points (3.78 recs, 41.48 yards, 0.16 TDs)
Though I hate to admit, Gonzo is getting up there in age. He's been a fantastic tight end, but he's not quite playing at the level he used to be. He'll definitely be a good start some weeks, but this week is not one of them. The Bears don't have super-talented corners, but they do have one of the best LB corps in the entire league with Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. I wouldn't expect to hear much from Gonzalez today.
For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic.