Fantasy football: Should managers be confident in the Falcons' offense? (2024)

Last season was a tough one for Atlanta Falcons fans and fantasy football managers alike. The team's offense left much to be desired, struggling with inconsistency and underwhelming performances throughout the season. Despite having high hopes for playmakers Drake London, Bijan Robinson, and Kyle Pitts, each struggled to live up to expectations while dealing with erratic quarterback play and questionable play-calling from former head coach Arthur Smith.

However, as managers look ahead to the 2024 season, there's reason for optimism. The Falcons hired Raheem Morris and added Kirk Cousins in free agency in an effort to address their offensive woes. These moves could give them a top-10 fantasy offense.

Here's the reasons why managers should be confident in the Falcons' offense:

New coaching staff

The Falcons fired Smith after he finished with a 21-30 record over the past three seasons. Despite being brought in as an offensive-minded coach, Smith's offense never flourished. The Falcons failed to average more than 22 points per game, finished 26th in scoring in both 2021 and 2023 and tied for 15th in 2022. Now, Atlanta has Morris as head coach and former Rams quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Zac Robinson as its offensive coordinator.

Robinson spent past three seasons working with Matthew Stafford, who averaged 266.8 passing yards and 17.5 fantasy points per game over that span. In 2019, he coached Jared Goff, who averaged 290 passing yards and 16.4 fantasy points per game working with Robinson. The Falcons averaged only 209.6 passing yards per game in a run-heavy system under Smith, but Robinson's experience with Rams head coach Sean McVay suggests the Falcons should have a more balanced offensive strategy this season. Los Angeles ranked 13th in pass and rush attempts per game, seventh in total yards and ninth in points per game last season, showcasing McVay's innovative offensive schemes that lean heavily on outside-zone concepts, motion and bunch formations.

Cousins and the Falcons are a perfect match

The Falcons feel great about Kirk Cousins upgrading the quarterback position this upcoming season. Cousins completed 69.5% of his passes last season and averaged 19.3 fantasy points per game before suffering a torn Achilles in Week 8, which ended his season. Cousins has also proven to be very consistent over the course of his career. He has averaged 18.5 fantasy points per game since 2019 and has the third-highest passer rating (106.6) over that time frame. Given Cousins' situation with the Falcons and the playmakers around him, he is best viewed as a high-end QB2 with the potential to be a fringe QB1.

While Morris is a defense-oriented coach, he has surrounded Cousins with an excellent support system, including Robinson, QB coach T.J. Yates, assistant QB coach D.J. Williams, senior offensive assistant Ken Zampese, offensive assistant K.J. Black, and pass game specialist Chandler Whitmer. All of these coaches played quarterback in college and Zampese has 17 years of QB coaching experience.

Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke didn't have this type of support system last season, so Cousins and rookie Michael Penix Jr. should be able to thrive with an increased emphasis on the passing game.

Breakout seasons ahead for London, Robinson and Pitts

London is the WR15 in current ESPN ADP. While constrained by Smith's run-heavy scheme, he was productive when targeted (1.5 fantasy points per target) and is primed for a breakout 2024 season. He has averaged only 10.7 fantasy points per game so far in his career and has been outside the top 20 in targets his first two seasons, but he is well positioned to see career highs in multiple statistical categories this season. London excels at route running and making contested catches, which Cousins should leverage. Cousins' top receiver during his time with the Vikings averaged 9.1 targets and 18.1 fantasy points per game, providing a glimpse of what London could achieve. He is best valued as a high-end WR2, with room for improvement as the season progresses.

Were you one of the fantasy managers disappointed by Pitts' performance the past two seasons after his excellent rookie year in 2021? If so, don't let that deter you from drafting him this season. Pitts was relegated to blocking duties over the past two seasons and didn't get many opportunities to use his considerable skills as a receiver in mismatches against linebackers. He ran just 20% of his total routes with a linebacker in coverage and 65% of his targets were uncatchable. With Cousins now in the mix, Pitts' production should improve. He should be considered as a low-end TE1 and is someone to target in the middle rounds. He's projected to see the second-most targets on the team behind London.

Robinson finished his rookie season as RB9, but it was a mixed bag because of Tyler Allgeier's involvement in the backfield. Robinson saw only 47.5% of the rushing attempts but excelled as a receiver. He ranked in the top five among RBs in routes, targets, yards and receiving touchdowns, but had just two rushing attempts inside the 5-yard line, a huge hit to his fantasy scoring potential. Robinson is lethal as both a runner and a receiver and Kyren Williams' 2023 season (21.7 touches and 21.2 fantasy points per game) gives us a glimpse of what we might see from Robinson this season. The Falcons' offense will likely use various rushing concepts to get Robinson into the open field. He is set to feast behind a stout offensive line that will return all five starters. Robinson is the second-highest RB on my draft board this year, behind only Christian McCaffrey.

Bringing it all together

The Falcons' offense has loads of potential this season and fantasy managers should be excited. Cousins, London, Robinson and Pitts will be targeted in all leagues, but don't forget about Darnell Mooney as a WR5, especially in deeper leagues. He is unchallenged as the Falcons' No. 2 receiver and has sleeper appeal if he can stay healthy. Make sure you leave drafts with at least one Falcons player on your roster.

Fantasy football: Should managers be confident in the Falcons' offense? (2024)
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