The 2016 Falcons may be remembered as the team that let the Super Bowl slip away, but they were also one of the most potent offenses we’ve seen in recent memory. Atlanta was the only team in the league to rank in the top five in both rushing and passing yards per game. They also paced the league with an average of 33.8 points per game. Of course, we may be burying the lead a little bit here, as a lot of the credit for Atlanta’s offensive prowess has to go to former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. With Shanahan now in San Francisco, Steve Sarkisian will take the reins. The longtime college coach only has one year of NFL coaching experience – he was the quarterbacks coach in Oakland back in 2004. Though we don’t know exactly what his offense will look like, the expectation is that Sarkisian’s offense will not be a major departure from what Shanahan ran.

Team Offensive Stats
ATL Rank Lg Avg
Snaps/Gm 63.4 25 65.3
Pace (Sec/Sn) 25.46 29 24.28
Run % 41.5% 10 39.8%
Pass % 58.5% 23 60.2%
% Leading 53.5% 2 36.0%

QUARTERBACK

At this time last year, you could have gotten Matt Ryan for nothing in drafts. His ADP had him as undrafted, and he went on to finish second in scoring thanks to a career-high 38 touchdown passes. Perhaps the writing was on the wall for this breakout and we should have payed closer attention to Ryan’s yardage productivity from the previous four seasons. Ryan had at least 4,500 yards passing in each of those seasons. But still, 2016 was a big leap forward for Ryan. His yards per attempt jumped from 7.90 in 2015 to 9.26 in 2016. He also completed over 70 percent of his passes for the first time in his career. While we may see some touchdown regression, Ryan is still locked in as a strong QB1 option.

Vacated Touches
2016 Touches % Vacated
Carries 384 0.8%
Targets 505 14.1%
Total 889 8.3%

RUNNING BACKS

There was a time not too long ago where committee backfields were the scourge of fantasy football. Those days look to be moving into the rearview, as teams like the Falcons have shown that running backs can maintain a high level of fantasy production despite being in a committee. Devonta Freemanfollowed up his No. 1 fantasy finish in 2015 with another RB1 year last season, ranking sixth at the position in fantasy scoring. And he did so while splitting time with Tevin Coleman. Of course, he was on the better side of the committee, seeing 54.3 percent of the Falcons rushing attempts and 12.1 percent of the targets. But Freeman’s 17.6 touches per game was far from the league leaders. At the same time, he was very efficient with his touches, and more importantly, he led the team with 19 carries inside the 5-yard line. Tevin Coleman saw just four. Freeman remains a strong RB1 in 2017.

Source: Pro Football Focus
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