The Atlanta Falcons finished the 2021 season at 7-10 and third in the NFC South. They headed into the off-season in rebuild mode by trading Matt Ryan after 14 seasons with the team. Atlanta will be looking to find their starting quarterback, running back and number one wide receiver.
In this series, we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project — correctly — which players will win training camp battles.
Here’s a look at our picks to win the training camp battles for the Atlanta Falcons ahead of your 2022 fantasy football drafts.
Marcus Mariota vs. Desmond Ridder
Marcus Mariota has a chance to get in a starter role after playing backup for the Raiders these past two seasons. Mariota’s best season came in his second season in the league with the Titans when he threw for 3,426 yards and 26 touchdowns. He will be competing with third-round draft pick Desmond Ridder, out of Cincinnati. Ridder is coming off a historic college career with 43 career wins (third most in FBS history) and an appearance in the College Football Playoffs.
Our pick to win: Marcus Mariota
The former Heisman Trophy winner should win this starting job. The Falcons will likely give it a go with Mariota to see how he does running the offense. It also gives Ridder a chance to develop and learn in the league without rushing him. Are either worth a pick-up in your fantasy draft? Probably not. But I would keep an eye on this team in the first couple of weeks to see how the offense looks as we will see a few different pieces worth keeping an eye on waivers.
Cordarrelle Patterson vs. Damien Williams vs. Tyler Allgeier vs. Qadree Ollison
The Falcons may once again be lacking a true RB1 heading into the 2022 season. Cordarrelle Patterson remains on the roster after rushing for 618 yards and six touchdowns for the Falcons in the 2021 season. The Falcons lost Mike Davis in the off-season and picked up Damien Williams in free agency and drafted rookie Tyler Allgeier in the fifth round.
Our pick to win: Tyler Allgeier
Maybe a spicy take here? In my opinion, this comes down to Patterson and Allgeier for the RB1 role. Patterson is coming off his ninth and best season and will play a big part in this offense. The Falcons should continue to utilize him in the run and passing game so I still wouldn’t turn away from drafting him. His biggest competition will be the rookie out of BYU who rushed for 2,731 yards and had 36 touchdowns. Allgeier has impressed the Falcons so far as we get into camp and he has a real chance to take over the power running back for this offense. Honestly, both players have the potential to be an asset on your fantasy squad.
Drake London vs. Bryan Edwards vs. Olamide Zaccheaus vs. Auden Tate
Atlanta will start their season without Calvin Ridley who would be WR1. This will make for a great battle in camp between this receiver room and a good opportunity for rookie receiver Drake London.
Our pick to win: Drake London
London will be competing against receivers who have shown glimpse of excellence in the league but ultimately have never been able to make big names for themselves as the primary receiver. The biggest hurdle for London in his rookie season will be the quarterback situation as the Falcons test the waters with Mariota and Ridder. Even sharing targets Kyle Pitts, London should see a big target share in 2022.