The Falcons Should Have Plenty of Firepower Again in Fantasy Football in 2017

The Atlanta Falcons had an amazing 2016 season, with an offense that was as good as any in the NFL, and many fantasy football players took advantage of it.

If you look at any Fantasy Football guide for the upcoming season, you will see that once again the Falcons should have plenty of players to choose from when it comes to those that can help you lead your team to a fantasy championship.

Here’s a quick breakdown of a couple of players that will for sure help your team, and some that you had better take a long look at for the season that is fast approaching.

Wide Out Taylor Gabriel

This former Cleveland Browns wide out came on last season for the Falcons, and if you have a late round pick and are looking for a receiver that can have an impact, don’t fall asleep on Gabriel. He will play 10 games indoors, and his speed can be a huge asset for Matt Ryan and company, and with it there’s no doubt he can be a big asset to your fantasy team.

579 yards and six touchdowns is nothing to sneeze at from a guy who was undrafted in just about every league a year ago, and this season Gabriel should again be very productive, and should help your fantasy team in the process.

Quarterback Matt Ryan

If Ryan lasts past the first-round, it would be a major surprise in most leagues. He’s the reigning MVP, and should be right back to form with another huge season in the Atlanta offense. He’s got a new OC in Steve Sarkisian, which could have some early growing pains in camp, but it won’t take long for him to get back to form and have another season in which he throws for 30 or more scores. With a great wide out core and a great set of backs, take Ryan and feel good about your QB spot for the rest of the 2017 season.

Running Back Devonta Freeman

Look for Freeman to get a LOT of early looks in all of the fantasy drafts, and he should again have a good season, but it will be tough to repeat what he did last year. One huge thing that helps when it comes to Freeman is his pass catching skills, something that at times gets overlooked in the Falcons offense. The other thing to watch is the fact that Tevin Coleman may take away his touches at the goal-line, but at the same time, you should be able to take Freeman early and feel good about it.

Falcons on the List of Teams That Can Upset the Patriots for the Super Bowl in 2018

The loss for the Falcons in the Super Bowl in February will never go away fully, but the team and others are already looking ahead to the 2017 season, and with it the hopes of finishing the job this time.

While the Pats are the favorites, has a piece out about six teams that have a legit chance to unseat the champions from 2017, and the Falcons, as one would expect, have made the list.

Here’s what Conor Orr had to say about the Falcons and their chances.

3) Atlanta Falcons

Regular-season matchup with the Patriots: Oct. 22 (Week 7) at Gillette Stadium.

Why they can do it: Because this was a team beating the Patriots by 25 points in Super Bowl LI before having a foot-off-the-accelerator moment for the ages. This requires some belief that general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn’s offseason embrace the suck tour is more than just a surface-level coping mechanism. But what has the recipe for beating Tom Brady always been? Pressure on defense, a good quarterback on offense and a moderately effective running game. The Falcons added all-over defensive lineman Dontari Poe in free agency and edge rusher Takkarist McKinley in the first round of the draft. The example of the Seahawks — who apparently never got over their soul-crushing Super Bowl defeat — looms, but emotions aside, the Falcons are hard to count out.

Michael Vick Says He’s Not Talked to the Falcons About Returning to Retire with Atlanta

Former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick clarified recent statements regarding his retirement, saying he has not spoken with anyone from the organization about signing a one-day contract to retire as a Falcon, Vaughn McClure of reports.

Vick, hosting his V7 Elite Playmakers Showcase Series football event Sunday, said he is hopeful that it will happen.

“Well, I haven’t talked to anybody about it specifically,” Vick told ESPN. “It’s something that I’ve really been thinking about trying to get done. I was asked the question the other day — is that what I want — and I said, ‘Yeah.’

“So, yeah, I think in due time, it’s something that can potentially happen.”

Vick has maintained a close relationship with Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who invited him to attend the final regular-season game at the Georgia Dome.

“When I spoke to Arthur, we talked about various other things,” Vick said. “Like I said, [retiring as a Falcon] is something that can happen down the road, and I think we both know that. What’s already understood really don’t have to be explained. You let time work everything out in between.”

Former Falcons QB Michael Vick Wants to Retire with the Organization He Started With

Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick says he is in talks with the Atlanta Falcons to sign a one-day contract and officially retire with his first NFL team, ESPN reports.

“Hopefully soon,” Vick, 37, told CBS Atlanta about the potential of the ceremonial deal.

The former Falcons quarterback had bounced around after his playing days and then dismissal from the team after being found guilty of dog fighting and serving time in prison.

Vick though will always be remembered for his time with the Falcons, and time heals all wounds, so it should be interesting to see if they allow him back with the team to have him retire as a Falcon.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman Says He Has No Intentions of Holding Out in 2017

The good news for Falcons fans is it looks like things will be just fine when it comes to Devonta Freeman coming to camp and not holding out.

Freeman gave a quote to ESPN’s Josina Anderson that seems to state that he’ll be more than happy to come to camp and eventually see where things line up for his future.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman to me on why he doesn’t feel the need to hold out: “Me and my team, we already said what we expected and wanted so there is no need for me to sit around here saying ‘why my contract not done?’ ‘Why is this, and why is that?’ I don’t have to do that. I don’t have those problems because realistically I am under contract already. I have to play my fourth season, so it’s no big deal.”

Freeman added: “I’m a firm believer in God. I believe everything that is going to happen will happen at the right time. Sure I can be over-concerned and be like I am a running back and my NFL lifespan is already short ..especially in a sport where anything can happen. But, I feel like when you worry about that stuff, that is when you are more likely to have an injury.”

Devonta Freeman Says He Wants to Be ‘Disrespectful’ When it Comes to Running in 2017

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman wants to establish himself as less of a defender-friendly running back in 2017, Conor Orr of reports.

“Little things like breaking arm tackles,” Freeman told reporters Tuesday when talking about what he needs to improve on. “Running through — I feel like I could get better helping our offensive linemen out. They bust their butts. They don’t get to rotate. The only time they get a break is if we score a touchdown and the defense goes on the field.

“But if we have an 18-play drive, they’re on the field the whole game. Helping those guys out by giving them a blow by breaking a big tackle – last year I left some runs out there. Open field, continue to make guys miss. Punishing guys.

“I just want to be real disrespectful this year when it comes to football.”

Sports Illustrated Likes Overall What the Falcons Did in the 2017 NFL Draft

While it could take years for the Falcons and the rest of the NFL to be able to give a grade to the teams’ draft class this year, it’s never early to start throwing out how teams did last week in the annual picking of players.

Chris Burke of SI has thrown out his grades – and he has the following to say about how he felt the Falcons did last week.

The Falcons traded up in Round 1 to nab edge defender Takk McKinley, shipping picks 31, 95 and 249 to Seattle for the 26th spot. They then traded down later to recoup some capital, sending No. 63 to Buffalo for Nos. 75, 149 and 156. McKinley, obviously, is the headliner—he’s working back from shoulder surgery, but his upside opposite Vic Beasley in that front seven intrigued the Falcons enough to make that move for him. Atlanta then added three quality prospects with the picks from Buffalo: LB Duke Riley, CB Damontae Kazee and RB Brian Hill. Both Riley and Kazee are athletic playmakers; none of those guys has a clear path to playing time in 2017. Round 4 guard Sean Harlow should compete to take over the starting job left vacant by Chris Chester’s retirement. GRADE B

A Rundown of All the Atlanta Falcons 2017 NFL Draft Picks

Sports Illustrated has a complete rundown of all of the Falcons 2017 Draft Picks and some commentary as well.

Round 1, Pick 26 (No. 26 overall) (From Seahawks)

Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA: The defending NFC champions only had six picks to begin with in this draft. They just gave up two of them (95 and 249) to move up five spots for McKinley. That’s the type of risk a team can take when it feels like it’s one guy away from a championship—the Falcons obviously were about as close as it gets to reaching the mountaintop last season. McKinley’s status for the start of 2017 is in doubt because of his post-combine shoulder surgery, but he should make an impact opposite Vic Beasley once he does get on the field. He thrived last season after UCLA transitioned from a 3-4 to a 4-3.? GRADE: B+

Round 3 Pick 11 (No. 75)

Duke Riley, LB, LSU: The Deion Jones pick last year worked out like gangbusters, so the Falcons went back to the well to pick up Jones’s former teammate—a player not entirely dissimilar from Jones himself. Nothing wrong with adding depth at linebacker, but Atlanta had much more of a hole at guard. GRADE: B

Round 4, Pick 30 (No. 136): Sean Harlow, G, Oregon State

Round 5, Pick 5 (No. 149) Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State

Round 5, Pick 12 (No. 156) Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming

Round 5, Pick 31 (No. 174) Eric Saubert, TE, Drake University

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