October 10, 2020 | 2:39am
Even in this weirdest of years, 2020 at least seems to have one unvarnished, unquestioned truth disputed by no one. One reliable norm that will hold up regardless of circumstances or surrounding events.
That one, dependable thing? The Falcons’ defense.
Atlanta has given up at least 30 points in each of its first four games. The Falcons have given up anywhere from 15-23 fantasy points more than any other defense to opposing quarterbacks so far this season, depending on scoring formats. That is 4-6 more points per week than the next worst (the Seahawks, R.I.P. Legion of Boom).
Atlanta has given up the most passing touchdowns (13), second-most passing yardage (1,366, or 341.5 per game), has just two interceptions (just four teams have fewer), has allowed the most yards after catch and has yielded the best QB ratings (118.0) for opponents.
Chicago’s Nick Foles racked up more than 17 fantasy points in basic scoring leagues in less than one half of action in Week 3 — the only week in which the Falcons haven’t yielded a top-three fantasy QB.
At a time when you can rely on nothing else, at least you can rely on the Falcons’ pass defense to skunk it up every single week.
Which brings us to the Panthers’ Teddy Bridgewater, this week’s benefactor of the NFL schedule. Atlanta, on average, has yielded 32.5 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs. Bridgewater is averaging just 17.2.
But he is coming off his best game in his short tenure with the Panthers, throwing for two touchdowns (with one interception) and running for another while racking up 26 fantasy points last week against the Cardinals. So he could now be getting comfortable in the Carolina offense.
As well, the Carolina offense has been moving the ball despite losing all-world running back Christian McCaffrey, with Mike Davis filling in admirably in both the run and passing games.
We had massive reservations investing in the Panthers’ offense heading into the season. Many of those fears have been quelled by surprising productivity thus far. There is no reason to think that will change against what will be arguably the worst defense they have faced thus far (they did get the Raiders in the opener).
So we’re not as fearful of Bridgewater and the Panthers as we were at the beginning, and we have healthy confidence in virtually anyone facing the Falcons being able to rack up fantasy points. It all adds up to a perfect fill-in for struggling QBs or as insurance against potential COVID-related postponements.
If you have Carson Wentz, and can get Bridgewater, play Bridgewater. If you’re riding the Gardner Minshew bandwagon, jump off for a week and cross the Teddy bridge.
If you’re worried the Bills’ game will be pushed back, or if your league allows you to name Bridgewater as a contingency replacement, do it.
The Falcons are like a fantasy coupon. For every two fantasy points you buy, the Falcons will give you a third fantasy point for free. Cash in that coupon. Play Bridgewater this week.