Fantasy Football 2012: Breaking Down the Atlanta Falcons

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<p> Fantasy Football 2012: Breaking Down the Atlanta Falcons</p>

What can the Atlanta Falcons do for you this fantasy season? Check out Athlon Sports' team report as we break down the rookies, veteran players to watch and avoid, fantasy playoff schedule and more to help you get ready for the 2012 season.

Inside the Locker Room
with Knox Bardeen, CBSSports.com

We know he will still get the goal-line and short-yardage carries, but will Michael Turner reach 300 touches for the fourth time in five years?
No, we’ve seen the end of the days when Turner gets 300 or more carries per year. The Falcons are going to limit his touches to keep him fresh throughout the season, and they’ll be able to do that with the emergence of Jacquizz Rodgers.

How many touches will Rodgers get?
Coach Mike Smith said on a number of occasions last season that he felt Rodgers could be an every-down back. I’m not ready to completely agree with that just yet. I do think Rodgers earned the right to carry the ball more in 2012, and quite frankly, the Falcons need him to do so to spell Michael Turner. Rodgers carried the ball 57 times in 2011, and as long as both he and Turner stay healthy, I think Rodgers will approach 100 carries in 2012.

Is it possible that Julio Jones actually becomes a better fantasy option than Roddy White?
Yes, it’s a real possibility. I don’t think Jones will get as many targets or receptions as White, but Jones could accumulate more yards and get into the end zone more frequently. There isn’t a receiver on this team that is trusted more to move the chains than White, who almost had more first downs via the pass than the next two highest players on the team combined. White has a knack for knowing how to get the ball across the first-down marker and is depended on frequently in those situations. Jones can stretch the field, and in new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s new scheme, the Falcons will be a more vertical team.

Athlon's Best Bets

Sleeper: Jacquizz Rodgers, RB
Deep-Sleeper: Harry Douglas, WR
Overvalued: Michael Turner, RB
Top Rookie: Charles Mitchell, S
Bounce-Back: John Abraham, DE
Top IDP: Sean Witherspoon, LB

2012 Draft Class

2. Peter Konz C/G 6-5 315 Wisconsin
3. Lamar Holmes T 6-6 333 Southern Miss
5. Bradie Ewing FB 6-0 239 Wisconsin
5. Jonathan Massaquoi DE 6-2 264 Troy
6. Charles Mitchell SS 5-11 202 Mississippi State
7. Travian Robertson DT 6-4 302 South Carolina

Fantasy Impact: The Falcons were without a first-round pick due to the trade to acquire Julio Jones in last year’s draft. With few needs at the skill positions, Atlanta focused on upgrading the depth on the offensive line and acquired two future starters in center Peter Konz and tackle Lamar Holmes. Fullback Bradie Ewing replaces Ovie Mughelli as the team’s lead blocker and is likely to start in 2012. Jonathan Massaquoi likely won’t start but could see playing time as a pass-rush specialist. This draft filled some needs but isn’t likely to produce any fantasy value.

Fantasy Playoff Run: Weeks 14-16 (at CAR, NYG, at DET)

Matt Ryan and his receivers get last season’s eighth-, sixth- and 12th-worst defenses against fantasy quarterbacks and the 21st-, fifth- and sixth-worst defenses against receivers. Plus, the Falcons will be facing three potent offenses themselves. All three quarterbacks were top eight in fantasy points, and all three teams had a receiver in the top seven in fantasy points last season.

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