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IDP Fantasy Forecast: 2021 Atlanta Falcons

What value can be found on the Falcons defense? @DoomZoneFF takes a deeper look.

It seems like a lifetime ago that the Falcons were the NFC representative in the Super Bowl. That was only just four years ago. Following that season, they have not been a very good football team. Their defense has been a favorite target for fantasy players. After the Falcons fired Dan Quinn after starting 2020 with a winless record, they limped to 4-12 and finished at the bottom of the NFC South Division.

The Falcons finished with the 22nd ranked defense in 2019 and the 19th ranked defense in 2020. And unfortunately, they began the 2021 NFL league year with one of the worst cap situations in the NFL. The lack of cap space prevented them from addressing their holes on defense. And their three starting safeties from 2020 are no longer with the team.

They hired Arthur Smith as Head Coach, and he brought in Dean Pees as his Defensive Coordinator. I am very familiar with Dean Pees from his work as the Baltimore Ravens Defensive Coordinator. The defense will attack and come downhill. The Falcons will again likely struggle on defense in 2021, which does present a lot of IDP opportunities. Let’s take a look at some of the Atlanta Falcons faces on defense that you should look to add to your IDP team.

Linebackers

Photo Credit: Sporting News

Deion Jones, Inside Linebacker

Deon Jones is definitely one of the fastest linebackers in the NFL. His speed allows him to make plays on the ball that, at times, he has no business making. To illustrate against the Buccaneers, he blitzed the gap between the center and guard so quickly there wasn’t time to react. Also, when the Falcons played the Vikings, he was able to drift into the passing lane and snare an interception.

What Dean Pees will ask Deion Jones to do on defense this year remains to be seen. He does not have the size to play on the inside if Pees runs a 3-4 front regularly. Deion Jones is better suited to play in a 4-3 defensive front as a base defense. The Falcons will once again struggle on defense, which will present Deion Jones with the opportunity to garner a lot of tackles.

What has he done to this point in his career?

Deion Jones career so far

How does all of that translate to your IDP team? One thing that I value from players that I use in my lineup is consistency. That is what you will get from Deion Jones. Where should you be looking to draft him this upcoming season?

Currently, he is being drafted in round 15 in start-up leagues with an ADP of 187.7 as the LB23. I would be comfortable trading a mid-third-round rookie pick to get Deion Jones on my team in a dynasty league.

GGSIntPDFFFRSKTotal TacklesSoloAsstTFLQB HitsFantasy PtsFPPG
17172810110368356323113.6
Deion Jones 2021 Stats and Fantasy Points Projection
Photo Credit: Falcoholic

Foye Oluokun, Linebacker

The previous Falcons regime drafted Foye Oluokun with a late-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He does not have the name recognition that Deion Jones does. He is also capable of making plays on the football and in the middle of the field. And for a defense that is going to struggle, he could generate a lot of tackles in 2021. He could quickly become someone to know about in IDP leagues.

You would not want to leave him in your lineup as a weekly starter, but there is some potential here for some high-scoring weeks.

Foye Oluokun currently has an ADP of 204.1 and is being drafted as the LB31. I would consider trading a fourth-round rookie pick to acquire him. He is rostered in 82% of ESPN leagues and 43% of Yahoo leagues

GGSIntPDFFFRSKTotal TacklesSoloAsstTFLQB HitsFantasy PtsFPPG
171702101905634341619.5
Foye Oluokun 2021 Stats and Fantasy Points Projection

Defensive Lineman

Photo Credit: SI.com

Grady Jarrett, Defensive Tackle

When watching Grady Jarrett on film, he is violent with his hand usage in disengaging from blocks. He clearly is one powerful big man. In a game last season versus the Carolina Panthers, he caved in the right side of the offensive line. When the Atlanta Falcons took on the Vikings, he chopped down the guard’s hands and knifed through the line for a sack. For a man north of 300 pounds, he has some get-off with his first step.

If an interior offensive lineman is asked to block him one-on-one, it’s a mistake, and he will make them pay. Grady Jarrett just ruins plays when you try to block him with a single offensive lineman.

He is a weekly starter for me in my DL position for my dynasty team. Currently, he is going undrafted. Those are the kind of depth bargains that you just love to find at the end of a dynasty draft, especially if you play in deep leagues like I like to do.

GGSIntPDFFFRSKTotal TacklesSoloAsstTFLQB HitsFantasy PtsFPPG
1717001045027239131327.8
Grady Jarrett 2021 Stats and Fantasy Points Projection

Defensive Backs

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Richie Grant, Safety

Richie Grant was the first safety selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. Grant looks raw on film in coverage, but he is a very willing hitter. He will make the hustle play when the coverage has been beaten and run the receiver down from behind and look to punch the ball out too. Grant will need to do a better job of keeping his head up and driving through the receiver. But things like that can be coached up and worked on.

Richie Grant may not be ready to start at safety from day one. But the Falcons at this stage of the off-season do not have much in front of him. Jaylinn Hawkins was a draft pick from last year and a holdover from the previous regime. Erik Harris was signed in free agency. His potential hold atop the depth chart would be tenuous at best.

Currently, Richie Grant has an ADP of 295.0 and is being drafted as the DB40. It may take some games to get him in the starting lineup for the Falcons, but it may not take long if they do not add anyone off the scrap heap.

GGSIntPDFFFRSKTotal TacklesSoloAsstTFLQB HitsFantasy PtsFPPG
171104000604317231227.17
Richie Grant 2021 Stats and Fantasy Points Projection

Conclusion

The Atlanta Falcons are going to be one of the most exposed defenses in the NFL in 2021. It will take some time for Arthur Smith to get the players and the defense the way he envisions it. That means in 2021 some IDP opportunities will be found on their defense.

Here at Dynasty Nerds, we want to help you bring as many championships home as possible. And on the days when some of your offensive players let you down, one or two strong IDP players can put your team over. Please feel free to follow me on Twitter @DoomzoneFF, I would love to hear from you.

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