FBG says: Great matchup. For the most part, Jimmy Garoppolo is the relatively low-impact caretaker of a run-dominant Super Bowl contender. He's averaging a modest 250 yards a game, and much of his fantasy value has been dependent on a high touchdown rate. Still, he's shown the ability to keep pace in a few recent shootouts, posting lines of 317, 424, and 329 yards - and 4 scores in each game. Garoppolo doesn't boast special arm talent, and he's still not much of a downfield passer. But he's now armed with a handful of gifted playmaking talents that excel in the slots and seams. George Kittle continues to look like a Travis Kelce clone, winning on all levels of the field and extending plays with sheer strength and will. His game-turning, 39-yard catch late in last week's game was a perfect snapshot of that. He's flanked by a pair of dynamic wideouts in Emmanuel Sanders, who woke up last week for 157 yards and a wild touchdown, and explosive rookie Deebo Samuel. With his stout build and open-field abilities, Samuel is essentially a running back playing wideout, and he's now creating impact plays on a weekly basis. He's topped 75 yards in 3 of his last 5 games and has seemingly jumped Sanders, if only by a bit, atop the pecking order. All in all, this pass game is hard to trust for volume, and game flow sometimes robs them of fantasy opportunity. But there's individual upside all over this unit, and they could hardly ask for a better matchup than the slot-deficient Falcons. Kittle, Samuel, and Sanders are all set up for success against Atlanta's shallow secondary.
The Falcons pass defense has taken small steps forward, but remains one of football's leakiest units. They're giving up a robust 7.9 yards per attempt and 271 a game, and 6 of their 13 opponents have topped 300. Some of those who fell short, like Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins, simply didn't need to throw much in big victories. If nothing else, they've benefited of late from the midseason turnaround in top cornerback Desmond Trufant. He's been instrumental in limiting the likes of Michael Thomas (48 yards), Mike Evans (50), and Curtis Samuel (25). But while outside receivers have seen a dip, it's been open season against the rest of this secondary. Tight ends and slot receivers continue to feast in this matchup, as seen in recent matchups with Chris Godwin (7 for 184 and 2 touchdowns), Tyler Lockett (6 for 100), and Jared Cook (9 for 159 over 2 games). It makes for a great outlook for Jimmy Garoppolo, who leans heavily on the explosive George Kittle and his slot playmakers. That effectively works against the Falcons' only real point of strength - Trufant on the outside - and sets up Garoppolo for one of his best matchups of the season.