Challenge the Experts: NFL Week 3 Predictions

Falcons Fantasy Update: Bench White, keep Jackson

This is the “Falcons Fantasy Update,” a closer look at the Falcons players for Week 3.

The Falcons (1-1), regrouping from several key injuries, play at Miami at 4:05 p.m. Sunday. The Dolphins are one of the NFL’s biggest early surprises at 2-0.

Biggest question: Should I pick up one of the Falcons backup running backs after Steven Jackson’s injury? If you’re in a deep league (14 or more teams), then definitely pick up Jacquizz Rodgers or Jason Snelling. If you’re in a smaller league, I would recommend against it at this point. Why? Simply because there are better replacements out there after the slew of injuries to running backs last week. There’s James Starks of the Packers, Bernard Pierce of the Ravens, and Joique Bell of Lions, among others. The best reason I can give you to consider picking up one of the Falcons backups is because Steven Jackson could be out 3-4 weeks with his thigh/hamstring injury.

Which one should I pick up? Rodgers or Snelling? Rodgers should get the majority of carries and can catch the ball out of the backfield. Snelling is a looming goal-line vulture and probably the more talented out of the two. With that said, I’d have to take Rodgers at this point because more touches equals more opportunities to score more Fantasy points.

Should I drop Steven Jackson? No. Stash him somewhere on your bench.

Quick hits on other players

WR Julio Jones: After catching 11 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown against the Rams, will he drop back to Earth this week? No. Not with Roddy White’s injury (high-ankle sprain) and Harry Douglass not being much of a factor. Julio Jones is one of the top five wide receivers in the NFL now.

TE Tony Gonzalez: After an encouraging performance in the season-opener, Gonzalez had a forgettable outing against the Rams with four catches for 33 yards. However, due to Steven Jackson’s injury and a pair of unheralded co-stars sharing the rock, the Falcons will likely design the game plan around Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez this week. And the Dolphins have had trouble against tight ends the first two weeks.

WR Harry Douglass: You could roll the dice as a WR3, but he probably won’t be picked up by most people until the bye weeks starting the following week.

WR Roddy White: He’s on the Fantasy bench for at least one more week to heal up, maybe longer.

QB Matt Ryan: He’s quietly making his case to be one of the NFL’s top five quarterbacks to start off the season, and that’s saying a lot with record-breaking performances by Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, along with the resurgence of Mike Vick. Matt has only thrown one interception out of 81 passing attempts. Just think if he had some consistent blocking.

Falcons defense: I suggested picking up this unit last week because it had a favorable four-game stretch. And those who did were rewarded with Osi Umenyiora’s 68-yard interception return for a touchdown. But after being further depleted by injuries, I would suggest exchanging the Falcons for another defense, particularly the Vikings (who play the Browns, which are debuting a new QB).

AJC staff writer Michael Carvell, who covers recruiting, still finds the time to participate in seven NFL fantasy leagues.

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