Atlanta Falcons (0-2, 0-2 ATS) at New York Giants (0-2, 1-1), 1 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Falcons 22.25, Giants 25.25
Spread/Total Movements: 48.5 to 47.5
Weather: 73 degrees, 15% chance of rain, 10 mph
Falcons Injuries to Watch: WR Russell Gage (ankle, out), CB A.J. Terrell (concussion, out)
Giants Injuries to Watch: RB Saquon Barkley (knee, probable), WR Kenny Golladay (hip, questionable), TE Evan Engram (calf, questionable), LG Nick Gates (leg, IR)
Brolley’s Falcons Stats and Trends
The Falcons had a chance at an outright victory in the fourth quarter against the defending Super Bowl champions last week, but Matt Ryan threw a pair of pick-sixes to Mike Edwards in the final eight minutes to turn a three-point, fourth-quarter deficit into a 23-point loss.
Atlanta is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games and it’s 1-4 ATS in its last five road games.
Matt Ryan got to 300/2 passing against the Buccaneers last week, but he got there by throwing three INTs, including two pick-sixes in the fourth quarter. He ranks ahead of only Andy Dalton with an aDOT of just 5.0 yards and he’s averaging only 5.7 YPA. Both Teddy Bridgewater and Taylor Heinicke have posted 20+ FP against the Giants this season.
Calvin Ridley has seen a slightly disappointing 22% target share in his first two weeks without Julio Jones, and his aDOT sits at just 11.7 yards after averaging 15.2 yards last season. Terry McLaurin beat up James Bradberry last week for 11/107/1 receiving on 14 targets.
Kyle Pitts has run the third-most routes (71) and he’s seen the seventh-most targets (12) at the position through two weeks, and he cracked double-digit FP for the first time with 5/73 receiving on six targets last week. The Giants have given up the fourth-most FPG (21.0) to TEs in the early going.
Atlanta’s backfield has turned into more of a committee than expected with Cordarrelle Patterson playing well out of the gates. Mike Davis played 64% of the snaps and finished with more touches (16 to 12) in Week 2, but Patterson made the bigger impact with more yardage (69 to 63) and two touchdowns on 33% of the snaps in their loss to the Buccaneers. Davis is averaging 3.6 YPC and 4.8 YPR compared to Patterson’ 4.6 YPC and 10.1 YPR averages through the first two weeks. Antonio Gibson posted 13/69 rushing and 2/4 receiving against the Giants last week while his complement managed 4/10/1 rushing and 5/83 receiving.
Brolley’s Giants Stats and Trends
The Giants are 9-1 toward unders in their last 10 games, including five straight unders at home.
Saquon Barkley’s start of the season has gone as expected with an extremely slow start coming off his ACL surgery. He totaled 13/57 rushing with 2/12 receiving on three targets in a loss to Washington, but his usage tells us that better things are coming soon. He saw his snap rate rise from 48% to 84% despite a quick turnaround to Thursday Night Football and his routes climbed from 16 to 27. It’s not all positive for Barkley as he’s averaging just .77 yards before first contact on his overall 3.6 YPC average (per PFF). His 41-yard run also covered up his 12 other carries for 16 yards, but long runs have been Barkley’s M.O. throughout his career. Barkley has totaled just 12.6 FP through two games, but he has a chance to start getting into the 18-20 touch range beginning this week against the Falcons. The Falcons allowed 113 scrimmage yards to Miles Sanders in the season opener.
Daniel Jones has been inconsistent but he’s been good for 22+ FP in both games thanks to 122/2 rushing. He completed 22/32 passes for 249 yards and one touchdown and he added 9/95/1 rushing against Washington in Week 2, with most of his yardage coming on read options. He finished with 29.5 FP against the Football Team and it could’ve easily been a 40-point performance if not for Darius Slayton dropping a long TD and if not for a DPI on Kenny Golladay on another sure-fire long TD. The Falcons have given up 3+ TD passes to both Tom Brady and Jalen Hurts, and Hurts added 62 rushing yards in Week 1.
Kenny Golladay had some choice words for Jason Garrett on the sidelines late in their loss to the Football Team after an ugly 3/38 receiving performance on eight targets against Washington. He could’ve had a much bigger night but Golladay had a drop, Jones soared a pass well over his head on a long dig route, and he had a 22-yard touchdown taken away by DPI. Golladay and Jones clearly aren’t on the same page yet after Golladay missed most of August with a hamstring injury. He gets a great spot to rebound against a Falcons’ secondary that gave up 5/75/2 receiving to Mike Evans last week.
Sterling Shepard is still Jones’ go-to receiver with another 9/94 receiving on 10 targets last week. Shepard has now posted 6+ catches in 10-of-14 games since the start of 2020, and he has 7+ catches and 75+ yards with three total TDs in his last four games. Chris Godwin went for 4/62/1 receiving in this matchup last week.
Jones is still letting it rip to Darius Slayton as a downfield target. He roasted William Jackson for a 33-yard touchdown and he dropped an easy 43-yard touchdown, which ended up costing the Giants the victory. He still finished with 3/54/1 receiving on six targets while running the third most routes (24). The Falcons let Jalen Reagor loose for 6/49/1 receiving in the season opener.
Evan Engram may return this week off his preseason calf injury. He actually played in all 16 games last season but he averaged a career-low 3.9/40.1 receiving per game with just one touchdown. The Falcons are giving up the second-most FPG (22.2) to TEs through two weeks.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Week 1-2 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 25.6 (7th)
Week 1-2 – Plays per game: 69.5 (10th)
Week 1-2 – Pass: 67.1% (8th) | Run: 32.9% (25th)
Week 1-2 – Pace: 26.7 (15th)
Week 1-2 – Plays per game: 65.5 (14th)
Week 1-2 – Pass: 62.8% (15th) | Run: 37.2% (18th)
While we don’t have two ultra fast-paced games like last week (DAL-LAC and MIN-ARI), this Giants-Falcons game is the No. 1 game in my model for Week 3. It’s the No. 1 tilt in both combined pace and plays and has even more scoring upside between these two bottom-10 defenses. The Giants have allowed a score on a whopping 58% of their drives (most) while the Falcons secondary and pass rush is – spoiler alert! – terrible again. New York has been an under team as of late like Brolley noted in his trends section, but this is about as perfect of a spot to break that streak. The Falcons have lost seven-straight dating back to last year and by a massive 11.6-point margin on average, so we’ll need them to show up for this game to really go off, but all of the key metrics point to plenty of opportunities for points.
(Note: We’re dealing with very small sample sizes early in the season – so I’m saving the deep dive into play-calling tendencies until Week 4.)
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Here we go! It’s a matchup for Daniel Jones with the worst pass rush in the NFL. In all honesty, the inadequacy of the Falcons’ results is very unfortunate for A.J. Terrell and Isaiah Oliver. The young CBs have turned the corner this season with outstanding metrics across the boards. Like top-10 stuff. But no secondary in the modern era has been able to lock down a team’s passing game for sequences greater than four seconds, and this pass rush just can’t get home. And Terrell (concussion) is out this week.
Even with season-ending injuries to center Nick Gates and LG Shane Lemieux from an already bottom-10 O-line, the Dirty Birds’ pass rush will not present a threat. If it were nearly any other team, the entire offense would be set to have a field day. OC Jason Garrett will personally see to it that nobody leaves East Rutherford satisfied. That’s his reason for being. But the Falcons’ lack of pass rush is exceptionally notable, and is a good sign for Jones.
Nick Gates is still down in a hospital in Virginia. Has some more procedures in his future. Joe Judge couldn’t completely rule out it being a career-ending injury, but seemed hopeful that wasn’t going to be the case.— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) September 23, 2021
The Falcons have some exploitable matchups too. TE Kyle Pitts has been provided with the opportunities. Now we need to see him capitalize. This is the spot. The Giants are welcoming TEs with the fifth-most FPG (20.5). And they are allowing the third-highest completion percentage (76%). Pitts has spent 73% of his snaps detached from the line. That alignment will render him the responsibility of LB Tae Crowder. Advantage Pitts.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The entire fantasy community is on Daniel Jones this week, and it’s understandable — Atlanta has hemorrhaged points to QBs, giving up a league-high 29.6 FPG. The Falcons have allowed 8 passing TD through two games, and Jalen Hurts crushed them on the ground in Week 1. The Giants would be wise to let Danny Dimes run this week, after what he did to the Team last week. While the OL and the playcalling of Jason Garrett is always a concern, it’s hard to not make the case for Dimes this week.
It’s also all systems go for Sterling Shepard, who has 16 catches in two games this year and has caught at least 7 passes in each of his last four games. Shepard has seen 20% or more of the Giants’ targets in 12 straight games dating back to last year. In fact, Shepard’s 27.5% target share through Weeks 1-2 ranks 10th-highest among WRs. He’s a locked-in PPR WR2.
I was willing to say this could be a “squeaky wheel” game for Kenny Golladay after his sideline outburst at Dimes last week, but I’m not terribly enthused to play him if he’s dinged up — a hip injury had him seriously limited in practice this week. His status needs to be monitored, as WR coach Tyke Tolbert suggested Golladay’s snaps might be limited. At least, top CB AJ Terrell (concussion) is out, making this an easier matchup if you want to roll the dice with Golladay as a volatile WR3.
Kenny Golladay saying something to Daniel Jones pic.twitter.com/nDqkF6k3S6— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) September 17, 2021
Giants receivers coach Tyke Tolbert says he can help Kenny Golladay by not giving him so many snaps, since he came off the hamstring and is still getting his feet underneath him. Tolbert says keeping Golladay fresh might help later in games #Giants pic.twitter.com/wsz5XWJSxe— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) September 23, 2021
RB Saquon Barkley (knee) was used in a near full-time role last week — he played on 83% of the team’s snaps last week (4th-most), and walked away with 69 yards from scrimmage on 13 carries and 3 targets. The Giants are favored this week, for just the 3rd time in their last 20 games, and the Falcons got crushed by the Eagles’ run game in Week 1. Barkley has been limited in practice this week, but I expect that’s just part of the Giants’ plan with him this year — he has no injury designation for Sunday. He’s an upside RB2 against a gettable defense.
I need to see it from TE Evan Engram (calf) before I’m willing to throw him into a lineup.
Atlanta’s receivers are easy — though the production hasn’t been as prolific as we’d like, you gotta start WR Calvin Ridley and TE Kyle Pitts. Ridley could draw a shadow from CB James Bradberry, which is tough, but Ridley’s the kind of receiver who can get open against anyone. I’m not to keen on QB Matt Ryan, especially if he’s down a weapon — Russell Gage (ankle).
Through two games, RB Mike Davis has seen bellcow kind of usage for the Falcons — he’s seen 37 opportunities in two games (24 carries, 13 targets), and he’s played 69.4% of their offensive snaps. That’s excellent usage for fantasy production. But here’s the problem. He’s not even the highest-scoring fantasy RB on his own team. That would be Cordarrelle Patterson, who is the overall RB10 to Davis’ RB27, and Patterson has seen a pretty healthy 22 opportunities through two games. For what it’s worth, these eyes think Patterson has looked better than Davis this season, as a more explosive mover with the ball in his hands and a more dynamic weapon in the passing game. Patterson has gained 136 yards and scored 2 TD on his 22 opportunities. Davis has gained 135 yards and scored 0 TD on his 37 opportunities. Will Patterson eventually get more work, or are the Falcons committed to this split? One thing that could happen, as well — if Gage misses with his ankle injury, Patterson could see more slot snaps. (Gage has aligned in the slot on about 60% of his snaps so far.) I’m considering Davis an RB2 and Patterson a FLEX in this matchup.