I'm not saying that we should stop targeting the Falcons defense. But maybe we should stop targeting the Falcons defense so intensely? In the two games since Raheem Morris took over the defensive playcalling duties, Atlanta's defense has turned a corner. It's all started with the pass rush. In Weeks 10-11, the Falcons were credited with 11 sacks on 36 QB pressures -- compared to seven sacks on 49 pressures over their first eight games -- and they've done it by blitzing less often than they previously were. Maybe some of it has to do with facing familiar division foes (Saints, Panthers) but if that's the case, then next week's matchup with the Buccaneers and walking turnover machine Jameis Winston seems to work in their favor yet again. If you're looking for a defensive pushover, the Falcons aren't quite that anymore.
The Brian Hill experiment didn't work out this week. At all. Dan Quinn said earlier in the week that Hill would be the lead running back and see the bulk of the carries. In Quinn's defense, he was truthful. Hill played 62 percent of the snaps and had a game-high 15 carries (plus three targets). It all worked out to a grand total of 38 yards. Not exactly the bonanza we were anticipating. Then again, maybe we shouldn't be surprised. Before this week, Hill was Atlanta's third-string running back and being thrust into a prominent role doesn't guarantee commensurate success. Let this be a reminder when the hype gets too loud around certain waiver wire players.
When Kerryon Johnson went down with a season-ending injury, no one expected the Lions to turn to one running back to become a workhorse. It was always realistic to expect Ty Johnson to split the workload with any number of backs, including J.D. McKissic, Tra Carson, and Paul Perkins. Once the latter two were released, it seemed like the math was getting a little bit easier. What we didn't count on was Bo Scarbrough hoovering up the bulk of Detroit's carries in Week 11. So what does this all mean for the Lions backfield going forward? Probably that you're better off staying away from the whole group.
This is feeling like a re-do of the Jonathan Stewart years in Carolina. There were plenty of years when Stewart was a quality running back who could help move the chains between the 20s but when the ball got near the goal line, Cam Newton would inevitably take it in himself, leaving plenty of fantasy managers angry enough to chew glass. Fast forward to 2019. Now it's Devin Singletary who's starting to get more work for the Buffalo Bills offense. But it's Josh Allen who seems to score the touchdowns. Allen has seven rushing scores this season. The only quarterback with more is (no surprise) Lamar Jackson.
Kyle Rudolph's recent ascension has a bit to do with the Vikings throwing the ball a little more lately. It has a little to do with Adam Thielen's absence as he rehabs from an injury. If you want to believe in cosmic weirdness, I guess you could say it has to do with the calendar approaching the end of the year (this is purely for joking purposes). Anyway, you can debate the reasons all you want. I'm just happy that we have another quality tight end. Too bad he's on a bye next week.
And one for the road...
Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com and a man who actually wouldn't mind the weather cooling down because who wants to eat stew when it's 85 degrees? Send him your weird weather wishes or fantasy football questions via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, and Instagram.