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Falcons' fantasy questions for the offseason

About the Author

Recent posts by William Del Pilar

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By William Del Pilar

Second in a series

There aren't too many questions regarding the skill positions for the Falcons as we prepare for the offseason, but here are a few that are being asked:

Is QB Matt Ryan finally ready to begin posting consistent No. 1 fantasy numbers?

Ryan continued his growth, and although more was expected, he ended the season with 14 TDs in his final six games and has his full complement of wide receivers returning. His value will be as a low-end No. 1 but if you can take him as a No. 2 that would be the safe route. Unlikely in larger leagues. 

How big a hit does WR Roddy White take with the emergence of Julio Jones?

White will take a hit with the emergence of rookie sensation Jones. Although they'll maintain their roles as a one-two punch, the emergence of Jones lowers White's value to a third-round pick in many leagues. Jones has to be seen as a high-end No. 2 fantasy WR with some injury risk.

Does TE Tony Gonzalez have enough left in the tank for one more year?

Gonzalez is signed for another season after playing well above expectations in 2011 and will regain the draft value he lost going into 2011. However, he's a year older, and signs do point to him slowing down, so he should not be overvalued. If you draft him secure a quality backup.

What will be RB Michael Turner's role, and what effect, if any, will new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter have?

The real questions with the Falcons revolve around RB Michael Turner and new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who is joining Atlanta after being the Jaguars' coordinator from 2007 to 2011. On the surface, it may look like a bad hire, but expect Koetter to run a similar, if not the same, offense. He was able to maximize the talents of Maurice Jones-Drew, who has turned into an elite player. That is arguably the only position of talent he had in Jacksonville over the years. His QBs have been Byron Leftwich, David Garrard and Blaine Gabbert, and the team hasn't had top-tier WR talent in years. Koetter should be able to keep the passing game going and help the offense, specifically Turner.

The team acknowledges it has to take a hard look at the rushing attack and Turner. There is a chance his carries may decrease next season to keep him fresher. However, Koetter, as he did with MJD, should maximize Turner's touches. Look for Turner to begin falling into the Cedric Benson fantasy draft range, somewhere around the fourth round. However, if Koetter can work his magic with Turner, he still carries value.

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