The Falcons (4-8) most recently fell to the Saints for the second time in 14 days. Their 21-16 defeat featured an inept running game as Todd Gurley, Ito Smith and Brian Hill combined for 70 rushing yards on 21 totes. No one in that trio handled no more than eight carries. Matt Ryan relied heavily on Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, as expected. Each wideout saw 10 targets and produced fine numbers. Ridley caught six balls for 94 yards while Jones, back from his one-game absence due to a hamstring injury, caught five balls for 108 yards. Ryan completed 19 of 39 throws for 273 yards and one score, which was hauled in by WR Russell Gage.
After a series of close, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching losses this year, the Chargers (3-9) switched it up last week and instead got absolutely embarrassed by the Patriots. L.A. gained just 258 yards from scrimmage in the 45-0 loss at home. Even with a full half of garbage time at his disposal, QB Justin Herbert could never figure out the Pats’ defense. He ended with just 209 passing yards and two interceptions. Keenan Allen caught 5 of 11 targets for a game-high 48 receiving yards. Austin Ekeler racked up 68 yards on his 12 touches — eight carries, four receptions. It was a comically bad showing from the Bolts.
Date: Sunday, Dec. 13
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Notable Statistical rankings (Football Outsiders)
Fantasy football start/sit advice
Matt Ryan, QB, $5,700
In five games this season when Julio Jones was either inactive or heavily limited, Ryan has averaged just about 11 DraftKings points. In all other games with Jones, Ryan has averaged 24 DraftKings points. The Chargers’ pass defense is flawed, but Jones has already been ruled out because of a hamstring injury. That means Matty Ice is a QB2 at best in season-long leagues and a total stay-away in DFS.
Hayden Hurst, TE, $3,700
If you’re looking for a low-cost tight end with good TD odds this week, Hurst fits that description. He hasn’t done much since Atlanta’s Week 10 bye, but the Chargers have been giving out touchdowns to tight ends like Christmas gifts. They have allowed nine on the year and five in their last six games.
Justin Herbert, QB, $6,800
Everyone is going to be on Herbert this week in this perfect rebound spot. The Falcons have permitted the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and just made Taysom Hill look like a proficient passer. It would be dissatisfying if Herbert didn’t score, at the very least, 20 DraftKings points.
Austin Ekeler, RB, $7,000
To be fair, the Falcons have been pretty good against running backs. They have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards to RBs and just 3.7 yards per carry. Whereas they were giving up receptions in bunches early in the year, the Falcons have allowed backs to catch just 12 passes in their last five games. But you know Ekeler is still going to see plenty of check-down looks here. Even during last week’s blowout, he garnered nine targets. Ekeler just feels matchup-proof on DraftKings, and his price is in no way prohibitive.