2023 Atlanta Falcons Team Preview

Jun 7th 2023

Hayden Winks

The Atlanta Falcons have some of the best young skill talent in the NFL, but it won't matter if they don't get better QB play. What do we do in fantasy football? Well, to start we'll be drafting on Underdog Fantasy with promo code 'UNDERBLOG' to match your first deposit up to $100. We have the biggest fantasy football tournament of all time ($15M) right now.

2022 Atlanta Falcons Advanced Stats

The stats that stand out: 32nd in neutral pass rate and 27th in neutral pace, leading to the 27th-most offensive plays. There are some outs to upgrading this slightly -- QB play improving, Kyle Pitts moving the chains more consistently, Bijan Robinson going crazy -- but this is who coach Arthur Smith is, dating back to Tennessee.

The Falcons' defense is massively improved with S Jessie Bates ($36M guaranteed), DT David Onyemata ($24.5M), LB Kaden Elliss ($10M), DT Calais Campbell ($8.5M), EDGE Bud Dupree ($3M), and CB Jeff Okudah all expected to see meaningful snaps. Atlanta was 25th to 32nd in the four main defensive categories I listed above.

2023 Atlanta Falcons Starting Lineups

2-WR Sets (4th in snaps, 46% of snaps)

  • WR: Drake London --> KhaDarel Hodge

  • WR: Mack Hollins --> Scott Miller

  • SLOT TE: Kyle Pitts --> Parker Hesse

  • INLINE TE: Jonnu Smith --> John Fitzpatrick

3-WR Sets (31st in snaps, 35% of snaps)

  • WR: Drake London --> KhaDarel Hodge

  • WR: Mack Hollins --> Scott Miller

  • SLOT: Scott Miller --> Cordarrelle Patterson

  • TE: Kyle Pitts --> Jonnu Smith

RB Usage (8th in expected half PPR)

  • GOAL LINE: Tyler Allgeier or Bijan Robinson (idk)

  • PASSING DOWN: Bijan Robinson --> Tyler Allgeier

Offensive Line (Underrated good)

  • LT: Jake Matthews ($28M cap hit)

  • LG: Matthew Bergeron (2nd round rookie)

  • C: Drew Dalman (0 sacks in 1st starting year)

  • RG: Chris Lindstrom (Re-signed, $100M)

  • RT: Kaleb McGary (Re-signed, $15M guaranteed)

2023 Atlanta Falcons Fantasy Preview

Unless there's a last minute deal for Ryan Tannehill (unlikely), it'll be ex-3rd rounder Desmond Ridder as a 1st-year opening day starter. He was 34th in completion percentage over expected, 36th in PFF pass grade, 42nd in yards per attempt, and dead last in PFF grade when kept clean among 50 qualifying QBs. His biggest issue is sub-par NFL accuracy, an issue he had in college. He's a risk averse QB (2nd best turnover worthy play rate), who is a little too robotic for my liking. Ridder will improve in year two and offers some athleticism (4 carries for 16 yards per start) for this run-heavy attack, but I think his ceiling (in real life and fantasy) is low. He'll be backed up by Taylor Heinicke ($2M), who is the risk-taking version of Ridder. It's a bottom-5 QB group, so Arthur Smith likely plays ball control again.

The pass volume will be concerning, but better for the pass catchers. But the true kick in the nuts last year was the downfield passing. Atlanta used play action and threw the ball downfield at the highest rate in the NFL, but they still finished 30th in big pass plays and were dead last in catch rate on passes traveling 15+ yards. It was a spray fest. Kyle Pitts was hurt the most. He caught just 3-of-19 deep targets for a league-low -25.8 completion percentage over expected. It's rare for a TE to be utilized downfield and out wide as much as Pitts is, so he really just needs natural regression to rebound as a fantasy TE1. He was the TE9 overall in expected fantasy points per game (9.1) but only averaged 6.2 half PPR points per game.

I've reviewed the tape. Drake London is a certified dude. His rookie numbers were mid (WR47 in fantasy points over replacement per game), but he reminds me of Michael Thomas because he has a big frame but can sink his hips. London has target hog skills (very good feel versus zone), as long as Ridder can be better than 2022 Marcus Mariota. The fellow Trojan quietly was PFF's highest graded rookie WR, and he led the class in targets per route run... Atlanta was 29th in WR fantasy usage last year, so there's really only room for one fantasy asset here aside from deep best ball leagues. Mack Hollins (6'4/221) is the other name to know. He signed for $2.5M this offseason as a low-volume vertical threat. His career 1.1 yards per route run is underwhelming, and he can be particularly hurt by Ridder's inaccuracies downfield... There isn't a clear No. 3 receiver, nor a slot receiver on the roster. Even if there was, the Falcons only used 3-WR sets on 35% snaps (31st). None of them are fantasy relevant.

Bijan Robinson forced the most missed tackles in the PFF era last year, and this OL is filled with ass kickers. He'll be very efficient in all capacities, as was Tyler Allgeier (4.9 YPC) last year. The real debate given his Round 1 fantasy cost is if he'll get the proper volume. Robinson can handle the load, but there is at least some concern that the Falcons' 8th-highest RB fantasy usage from last year is split around more than we'd like. Allgeier picks up the yards in front of him and can run in short yardage, which is why he's my highest drafted player through 40 drafts. I lean Robinson at the goal line most of the time, but I truly wouldn't be surprised if Allgeier vultures more than we'd like, and Cordarrelle Patterson is still making $5.5M this year. I expect Robinson to be a mid-range fantasy RB1, though don't love his RB2 overall price tag. As a counter to this trepidation, coach Smith did give Derrick Henry 718 touches in their two seasons together.

2023 Atlanta Falcons Fantasy ADPs

For the best average draft positions, use Underdog Fantasy because we update them daily only using paid drafts.

  • RB2 Bijan Robinson (9.2 overall) --> Soft fade

  • WR24 Drake London (45.2) --> Mixing in

  • TE5 Kyle Pitts (66.1) --> Mixing in

  • RB49 Tyler Allgeier (154.0) --> MAJOR BUY

  • QB29 Desmond Ridder (205.3) --> Soft fade