This matchup, ladies and gentlemen, is not a given. After turning in a very lackluster performance against the Buccaneers, the Falcons will play a Seahawks team that doesn't quite rival the likes of Chicago and Philadelphia in terms of talent. Simply assuming the Falcons will toy with a hapless Seahawks defense Sunday, however, would be a mistake.
This defense might not seem worthy of being considered "underrated." Given Seattle's list of opponents over the first three games (San Francisco, Arizona, and Pittsburgh), the opposite could very well hold true. The team lacks any sort of big name stars and isn't known around the league to be a particularly fearsome defense.
But in this young 2011 season, the Seahawks have the No. 10 defense in the nation. With unheralded stars in the likes of Chris Clemons and Marcus Trufant, don't expect the Falcons simply to have a field day. Keep in mind, they are also playing at Seattle, notoriously one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL.
That said, the Falcons have way too much talent to not improve on last week's pathetic display of offensive prowess. This is probably a middle of the road defense when all is said and done, but by giving us a good performance this week the Falcons can instill some fantasy (and real-life) confidence in the rest of the league. Here's your start 'em/sit 'em, week four:
numberFire Projections: 10.76 points (6.27 recs, 80.11 yards, 0.45 TDs)
For those of you wondering where Roddy went, well we found him in full 2010-form last week as he hauled in nine catches for 140 yards. Though Trufant is a pretty underrated cornerback, not even Nnamdi could completely shut No. 84 down.
Though he has yet to practice this week while nursing a thigh injury, it does not appear serious.This is most likely a precautionary measure by the Falcons, very much similar to the way he was handled last season. In all likelihood, Roddy will be ready do to work in week four. He's chicken soup for the fantasy owner's soul.
numberFire Projections: 12.71 points (16.50 carries, 72.81 yards, 0.73 TDs)
Sure, he had probably the worst performance of his Falcons career last week: 11 carries for 20 yards. But last week was more like a trip to Bizzaro world than anything else for The Burner. Nothing could go right for the offense, Turner included.
But this week in practice, there has very much been a "back to basics" feeling amongst the coaching staff regarding the offense. Perhaps we'll see some more vintage Michael Turner in Seattle? Despite last week's flop, I'd still consider No. 33 an every-week starter until further notice.
numberFire Projections: 13.86 points (17.11 completions, 196.86 yards, 1.23 TDs, 0.85 INTs)
Though the offense has been pretty stagnant, Ryan has still managed to put up decent numbers: 330 yards, a touchdown and a pick isn't terrible by any means. He's never been a top tier fantasy QB, but he'll get the job done for you most weeks. That said, I'd be surprised if we didn't see some sort of big performance this week in Seattle. As I said before: too many weapons around Ryan.
numberFire Projections: 6.88 points (3.85 recs, 53.96 yards, 0.25 TDs)
Not trying to brag, but I expected a big performance out of Julio against Tampa and he finally gave us one. While he hasn't reached the end zone yet, he did eclipse the century mark for the first time in his young NFL career. An untimidating matchup with cornerback Brandon Browner should only spell more good news for No. 11. Start him.
numberFire Projections: 7.74 points (1.52 FG, 2.52 XP)
Our kicker with the golden leg has yet to miss a field goal this season (knock on wood). There's no reason you shouldn't start him. Ever.
numberFire Projections: 8.65 points (15.80 points allowed, 1.99 turnovers, 2.05 sacks, 0.26 TDs)
If there's one week I'd feel comfortable with starting this group, it's this one. Tarvaris Jackson and Co. do not intimidate me whatsoever. A pretty strong defensive showing against Tampa Bay has me feeling better about these guys (at least for the coming week).
numberFire Projections: 6.82 points (4.43 recs, 48.81 yards, 0.32 TDs)
Not normally someone I'd recommend sitting, but I feel like this week is a poor matchup for Tony G. Both Leroy Hill and David Hawthorne are underrated linebackers, and Ryan may look to focus on another direction. Given his recent run of TDs it's hard for me to say no, but for this week I will.
Harry Douglas/Jacquizz Rodgers/Jason Snelling
While both Douglas and Rodgers have been valuable parts of the offense, neither has really established themselves as consistent contributors thus far. As for Snelling, he remains a non-practicer while nursing a concussion.