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The Atlanta Falcons are no stranger to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Bringing up their stunning Super Bowl loss is inevitable. Now that we have that out of the way, this is a new Patriots team (without Tom Brady) that Matt Ryan and the Falcons faced on Thursday night.
Rookie QB Mac Jones was finally able to shed the training wheels and New England’s defense has returned to true, dominant form in their five-game winning streak. The Falcons have had a beleaguered last few years since that big loss. This has led critics to point out selecting TE Kyle Pitts over the numerous young quarterbacks available, including Jones, in the 2021 draft.
To make matters worse for Atlanta, their wide receiver-turned-running back Cordarrelle Patterson was inactive with an ankle injury. He has emerged as a do-all type of player that has bailed Ryan and the Falcons out of serious trouble so far this season. They had to rely on Mike Davis, who has been mostly ineffective, perennial backup Wayne Gallman, Qadree Ollison, and Keith Smith in his place. Atlanta is also continuing their 2021 campaign without WR Calvin Ridley who remains absent from football to work on his mental health.
Belichick Continues to Remove Opposing Teams’ Biggest Threat
This game wasn’t just about eliminating Pitts. The Patriots laid a beat down on the Falcons through all four quarters. Ryan was harassed the entire game with 19 completions on 28 attempts for 153 yards and threw two interceptions. He had only nine completions on 13 attempts for 61 yards at halftime.
The run game was not only game-scripted out of the picture but New England’s defense padded their stats by holding them to only 40 total rushing yards. Ollison saw the bulk of the work with nine carries for 34 yards while Smith had three carries for eight yards. Davis and Gallman combined for four carries and negative two yards. Yes, negative two yards.
The biggest disappointment for fantasy was Pitts who needed to have a big game for managers and for Atlanta. Unfortunately, it was a poor showing for all of the offensive pieces on Thursday night for the home team. He saw five targets with three receptions and 29 yards.
Everything fell apart for the Falcons and Ryan falls to 0-5 against the Patriots with last night’s loss.
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Fantasy Winners and Losers
Normally, we have at least a handful of fantasy winners that could have given you a leg-up for the week. Despite the 25-0 shutout, the only winners from TNF were the Patriots Defense, K Nick Folk, and Nelson Agholor.
In traditional defensive scoring formats, New England’s defense scored a whopping 28 points with four sacks and four interceptions, one of which resulted in a touchdown late in the game. If you still play in a league with kickers, Folk earned you double-digit fantasy points with two field goals under 30 yards and one just under 50 for 15 points.
Aside from Jones with 10.38 and Nelson Agholor with 15, there was not a single player that scored in the double-digits from either team in PPR scoring formats. Here is just how bad it was for fantasy last night.
Mac Jones - 10.38
Matt Ryan - 2.12
Rhamondre Stevenson - 8.5
Damien Harris - 7.5
Qadree Ollison - 5.4
Mike Davis - 5.1
Nelson Agholor - 15
Russell Gage - 9.9
Kendrick Bourne - 8.5
Jakobi Meyers - 7.9
Olamide Zaccheaus - 5.3
Kyle Pitts - 5.9
Hunter Henry - 4.5
You are likely in a rut if you started anyone other than the Patriots DST, Folk, or Agholor. It's a tough way to start Week 11 as many fantasy managers are trying to make a final push to get into the playoffs.
Quick Hits/Injury Updates/COVID-19
Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown is being accused of providing a false COVID-19 vaccine card. The Buccaneers issued a statement saying that they reviewed all submitted vaccine cards and did not see any abnormalities. … Bears WR Allen Robinson did not practice with a hamstring injury. … 49ers RB Eli Mitchell was wearing a non-contact jersey due to his finger injury. … Giants RB Saquon Barkley was limited at practice. WRs Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay were both absent. … Saints RB Alvin Kamara was not at practice after being limited on Wednesday with a knee injury. … Browns QB Baker Mayfield returned to practice after suffering a knee contusion. … Cardinals QB Kyler Murray was seen at practice and believes he is close to returning. WR DeAndre Hopkins was not at practice. … Ravens WR Marquise Brown was not at practice with a thigh injury. QB Lamar Jackson was also not at practice with a non-COVID-19 related illness. … Lions QB Jared Goff was not at practice again with an oblique injury. Tim Boyle is next up if he cannot go. … Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is dealing with a toe injury. … Seahawks RB Alex Collins did not practice on Thursday with a groin injury.