NFL Grind Down Week 2: Eagles vs. Falcons

Vegas Overview

PHI @ ATL Team Spread Total Implied Moneyline
ATL 1 51 25 106
PHI -1 51 26 -124

Betting Quick Take: After the Week 1 drubbing Atlanta took in Minnesota, bookmakers opened this game with Philadelphia as 2-point favorites and the line has moved down to -1. While both teams were sluggish on offense to start the season the Eagles were able to get into a second-half groove and hung 25 second-half points on the Redskins. Atlanta’s offense was never able to fully click and finished with 12-points against the Vikings thanks to some fourth-quarter garbage time. It would be tough for the Falcons to not see improvement offensively against the Eagles but I’m still a little skeptical that they can hang with the better team despite this game being played in Atlanta.

Eagles -1
Confidence Level 7/10

Over 51
Confidence Level 5/10

Injury Situations

Player Team Pos Status Part Impact
Russell Gage ATL WR Q Head 1

Injuries to Monitor: Fletcher Cox has been limited in practice all week due to a toe injury related to offseason surgery but is not expected to miss Sunday’s game.

Matchup Factors, Team Identity Metrics, and Game Flow Expectations

Expected Game Pace and Tempo: A quick glance at pace stats will show you that the Falcons operated at the slowest situation neutral pace in the league in Week 1. However, it’s important to remember that we’re dealing with an extremely small sample as the Vikings almost immediately jumped out to a 14-point lead. Atlanta ranked 7th in situation neutral pace of play in 2018 and they’re more likely to rank in the top half of pace of play again this season as opposed to dead last. Conversely, Philadelphia ranked 8th in situation neutral pace of play in Week 1 but ranked 30th in the same category in 2018. Overall, I don’t expect pace of play to be a major factor in this game unless one team jumps out to an early lead.

Atlanta Falcons Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Matt Ryan ATL 19.23 QB7 37.80 287.51 Rank 13 Rank 13 Rank 26 Rank 8
RB Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Devonta Freeman ATL 12.92 RB22 53% 8% Rank 15 Rank 7 Rank 8 Rank 32
Ito Smith ATL 8.84 RB39 38% 5% Rank 30 Rank 15 Rank 5 Rank 36
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Julio Jones ATL 21.07 WR1 29% 10.96 Rank 1 Rank 5 Rank 68 Rank 12
Calvin Ridley ATL 12.24 WR31 18% 6.80 Rank 43 Rank 27 Rank 71 Rank 64
Mohamed Sanu ATL 10 WR59 14% 5.29 Rank 42 Rank 54 Rank 58 Rank 56
Russell Gage ATL 2.18 WR126 4% 1.32 Rank 111 Rank 110 Rank 111 Rank 111
Austin Hooper ATL 9.09 TE13 13% 4.91 Rank 14 Rank 5 Rank 3 Rank 24

PHI 18-19 Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 9/RB Rank 21/WR Rank 2/TE Rank 28

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note: We endured another offseason of Devonta Freeman hype only to once again be disappointed in his lack of immediate production. Tough matchup aside, the workload split was what was most troubling for Freeman’s fantasy value moving forward. Ito Smith out-snapped Freeman 38-to-36 against the Vikings and only saw two fewer carries (6-to-8). The Smith/Freeman split will be important to monitor moving forward so we can determine if Ito seeing more Week 1 snaps was simply due to the Falcons playing from behind.

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note: Smith was more productive (5.2 ypc) with his attempts while Freeman wasn’t able to find any sort of room, totaling just 19-yards on his 8 carries. Unfortunately for the Falcons run game, the matchup is even worse this week against an Eagles defense that ranks 3rd in rush-defense DVOA after one week and held the Redkins to just 28-yards on 13 carries.

Freeman and Smith saw a near-even workload split in Week 1 and we currently have them projected for a 53/38 split this week in favor of Freeman. Neither RB has any sort of fantasy relevance on full slates, while Ito Smith is the preferred target in single-game slates due to the significant discount he offers from Devonta.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note: Matt Ryan fired off 46 passing attempts in Week 1 which was the fourth highest of the week. Unsurprisingly, Julio Jones (11) led the team in targets followed by Austin Hooper (9), Calvin Ridley (6), Mohamed Sanu (6), Justin Hardy (5), and Devonta Freeman (4).

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note: Ryan’s 71.7% completion percentage ranked 11th in Week 1 while his 6.6 yards-per-attempt ranked 23rd. Julio Jones caught just 6-of-11 targets for a mere 31 yards. It’s safe to assume Jones will improve on those numbers against an Eagles pass defense that was picked apart by the lowly Case Keenum.

Julio Jones only had a 24% target share in Week 1 while Hooper recorded an unlikely 20% target share. It’s safe to assume Jones sees an uptick in usage against the Eagles and we currently have him projected for a 29% target share compared to Hooper’s 13% target share. In addition to Julio, both Calvin Ridley (18%) and Mohamed Sanu (14%) are projected to siphon away some targets from Hooper.

Team Quick Summary: Julio Jones is an elite option this week in all formats and on all slates. On full slates, Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley are strong game stacking candidates in tournaments. For single-game slates, both Ryan and Ridley are in play in all formats while Sanu and Hooper both have some lower-end appeal. Devonta Freeman is a complete fade this week while Ito Smith is a viable salary relief option on single-game slates.

Philadelphia Eagles Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Carson Wentz PHI 19.86 QB6 38.15 291.34 Rank 5 Rank 20 Rank 19 Rank 19
RB Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Miles Sanders PHI 9.55 RB31 36% 7% Rank 26 Rank 26 Rank 38 Rank 25
Jordan Howard PHI 6.15 RB58 34% 2% Rank 53 Rank 55 Rank 53 Rank 56
Darren Sproles PHI 7.54 RB50 20% 8% Rank 39 Rank 40 Rank 23 Rank 52
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Alshon Jeffery PHI 13.94 WR22 20% 7.63 Rank 24 Rank 57 Rank 56 Rank 51
DeSean Jackson PHI 12.24 WR31 18% 6.68 Rank 45 Rank 65 Rank 73 Rank 67
Nelson Agholor PHI 7.64 WR80 12% 4.39 Rank 67 Rank 66 Rank 41 Rank 85
Zach Ertz PHI 15.41 TE3 22% 8.39 Rank 3 Rank 13 Rank 4 Rank 7
Dallas Goedert PHI 6.65 TE24 10% 3.81 Rank 21 Rank 15 Rank 6 Rank 23

ATL 18-19 Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 1/RB Rank 3/WR Rank 10/TE Rank 23

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note: The positive: Philadelphia totaled 31 carries against the Redskins. The negative: there were five different ball carriers. Miles Sanders led the way in Week 1 with 11 carries followed by Darren Sproles (9), Jordan Howard (6), Carson Wentz (4), and Alshon Jeffery (1).

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note: The Vikings ran all over the Falcons last week totaling 172-yards on 38 carries. Atlanta was well below average against the run last season ranking 30th in rush-defense DVOA and represent a favorable on paper matchup for the Eagles.

Figuring out the exact workload split for Philadelphia RBs is going to be an unwelcome task all season long, or at least until an injury narrows the number of mouths to feed. We currently have Miles Sanders projected for the largest share of carries against the Falcons (36%) and I do think there is some upside on that projection if he’s running well.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note: Carson Wentz took a half to get warm against the Redskins but once warm he tore them apart, totaling 313-yards and 3 touchdowns on 39 pass attempts. DeSean Jackson (9) led the Eagles pass-catchers in targets followed by Zach Ertz (7), Alshon Jeffery (7), Nelson Agholor (5), Dallas Goedert (3), Darren Sproles (3), Jordan Howard (2), and Miles Sanders (2).

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note: Wentz ranked 10th in Week 1 completion percentage (71.8%) and 17th in yards-per-attempt (8) – that’s a surprisingly low YPA when you consider just two of DJax’s receptions went for 104 total yards. Atlanta ranked 29th in pass-defense DVOA last season and they weren’t truly tested in Week 1 as Cousins only threw the ball 10 times.

Similar to Philadelphia’s backfield, their receiving corps is a bit crowded with eight different players catching a ball in Week 1. Target share is likely to change on a weekly basis depending on the matchup. We currently have Zach Ertz (22%) projected for the largest Week 2 target share followed by Alshon Jeffery (20%), and DeSean Jackson (18%). A 22% target share for Ertz makes him one of the top TE options of the week and is arguably Philadelphia’s ‘safest’ pass-catcher to target.

Team Quick Summary: Similar to Atlanta, I’m mostly interested in targeting Philadelphia’s passing game on full-slates, but primarily in tournaments. On single-game slates, all three of Ertz, Jeffery, and Jackson are similarly priced – I prefer using Ertz as the cash game option and then choosing between Jeffery and Jackson in tournaments depending on projected ownership. Eagles RBs are safely avoidable on full-slates. On single-game slates, Sanders is the preferred target and is notably the cheapest of the three Eagles’ RBs on FanDuel.

DFS Recommendations

Optimal DFS Plays: Julio Jones, Zach Ertz

Leverage Plays: Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, Calvin Ridley, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson

Secondary Plays: Ito Smith (Showdown), Miles Sanders (Showdown), Austin Hooper, Mohamed Sanu

About the Author

  • Dan Gaspar (MrTuttle05)

  • Since his addition to the RotoGrinders community, MrTuttle has been continually climbing the Grinders leaderboards and is currently ranked in Top 150 overall. He has qualified for countless live finals as well and has proven himself to be one of the best high-stakes DFS players in the industry. You can find him on Twitter @MrTuttle05.

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