RB Ito Smith - Atlanta Falcons
|5-9, 195||Born: 9-11-1995||College: Southern Mississippi||Drafted: Round 4, pick 2018|
News you need to know
From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Oct 14): Smith appeared to be close to forcing a committee with Devonta Freeman entering Week 6, but Freeman slammed the door shut in the loss at Arizona. He's only an injury handcuff and desperation play heading into a matchup against the Rams.
Week 7: vs Los Angeles Rams
FBG says: Bad matchup. A combination of bad game scripts forcing the Atlanta Falcons into pass-heavy offensive attacks, as well as poor offensive line performance, has limited the team's rushing attack through six games. Throughout a 1-5 start, the Falcons have spent much of their season trailing. Playing from behind has forced Atlanta's offense into the most pass-heavy offense in the NFL, leaving their rushing attack unused. When they have attempted to run the football, the lack of consistency along the offensive line has left Atlanta's running backs with very little room to run. The Falcons' 3.8 yards-per-carry ranks 23rd in the NFL so far this season, and the outlook is bleak for this unit. Devonta Freeman has been held to 30 rushing yards or fewer on 4 separate occasions already this season, and his 3.6 yards-per-carry would be the worst mark of his career. Freeman's backup, Ito Smith, spells Freeman frequently on passing downs, but he rarely carries the football. Atlanta's struggling rushing attack has its work cut out for itself this weekend when they play host to the Los Angeles Rams and one of the NFL's best defensive lines. The Los Angeles Rams have faced one of the NFL's toughest slates of rushing attacks, yet they still rank 4th in yards-per-carry allowed through six games. This mark is a true testament to the strength of the Rams' run defense, as they've faced a far tougher schedule than most of the teams that rank ahead of them. Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense features a pair of elite run-stopping defensive linemen in Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald. Donald is arguably the best defensive player in the entire NFL, and he makes a massive impact against the run and the pass. Last weekend, the Rams held Matt Breida, who averages nearly 6.0 yards-per-carry on the season, to just 36 yards on 13 carries; less than 3.0 yards-per-carry. At linebacker, Cory Littleton, the Rams' leading tackler, has typically struggled to make an impact defending the run, but his recent performance has been trending upwards. If Littleton can emerge as even an average run-stopping linebacker, the Rams will become nearly impossible to run against. Lastly, in the secondary, Eric Weddle is still one of the NFL's most well-rounded defensive backs. Even in his 13th season, Weddle ranks second on the Rams in tackles through six games, and his impact defending the run is up there with the best safeties in the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons have struggled to build any momentum on the ground so far in 2019, and this weekend's game against the Rams will be one of their toughest of the season. Temper expectations for Devonta Freeman and the Atlanta ground game once again when they play host to Los Angeles here in week seven.
Recent Stats and Projections
Weekly Performance vs RB 1, RB 12, RB 24, RB 36
Ito Smith's percentile rank in each category, among RB with more than 50 fantasy points.
Recent Game Summaries
2019 Week 6 vs ARI (3 / 6 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
He got stuffed on his first carry for a short loss in the red zone late in the second quarter. Smith earned a first down just before the two-minute warning on a short run off left tackle late in the game with the Cardinals ahead 34-27.
2019 Week 5 vs HOU (5 / 19 / 0 rush, 6 / 6 / 45 / 0 rec)
He gained three on his first touch during the third possession after executing a cutback to right guard. He then cut down hill on the next run designed for an off-tackle play and earned 11 yards. Smith earned a yard later in the series up the middle to end the first quarter. Smith picked up a first down from a shotgun play on third and short. Smith committed a holding call on Bradley Roby to prevent the cornerback blitz from earning the sack. A few plays later, he caught a short pass and the Texans committed a facemask penalty that put the ball in the red zone and prevented a third and short. Smith got run over by Zach Cunningham's pressure up the middle on the next play and he held the blitzer to prevent another sack. Smith couldn't avoid a pair of flat defenders on a short pass after his second penalty and earned only a few yards. Smith earned a dump-off on 3rd and 20 for a gain of 10 and Atlanta punted away Atlanta's first drive of the third quarter. Smith stumbled after the catch of an empty set slant in the left flat on third down in the red zone and came up a yard short while down 16 points early in the fourth quarter. Two plays later, the Texans stuffed Smith on a run from the one up left guard.
2019 Week 4 vs TEN (2 / 11 / 1 rush, 4 / 2 / 20 / 0 rec)
He took an I-formation, inside zone run for 10 yards up the middle to the Titans' 1. He followed up with a score off right guard to tie the game. Ryan overshot Smith in the left flat on 1st and 10 with a lot of room up the left flat in the red zone. Pressure forced Ryan to hurry the throw. Smith earned a pair of check-downs in garbage-time.
2019 Week 3 vs IND (1 / 0 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
The Colts stuffed Smith on a shotgun run off left end during the first drive. Smith tried bouncing a third and five run outside during the first drive but the Colts stuffed him and a holding call pushed Atlanta further back during this initial series. Smith staggered off the sideline on the following play when he was blocking as a pass protector. He was helped off the field by a pair of trainers. He was evaluated for a concussion as well as a neck injury.
2019 Week 2 vs PHI (4 / 32 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 13 / 0 rec)
He weaved his way for a first down on a 2nd and 1 during the first drive after Freeman earned four carries early on. Smith dropped a high throw in the flat on 2nd and 16 during the first drive after taking a hit. He earned a quick five yards leaking from the backfield to begin the second drive with the offense backed up at its one yard-line. Smith later weaved his way through traffic for four yards on a screen pass late in the second quarter. Taking over for Freeman inside the 5 after Freeman's 29-yard shovel-pas-and-runs to open the third quarter, Smith had the best run of the night late in the third quarter on a draw play where he made multiple defenders miss.
2019 Week 1 vs MIN (6 / 31 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)
A bright spot during this debacle, Smith's best gain was a 17-yard run on a cutback from a two tight end set and later in the same drive a pass reception that set up a short-yardage run for a first down. Smith had a pair of blitz pickup opportunities during the game. The first came late in the half when he got pushed back into Matt Ryan's lap by Anthony Barr and the second was a nice pick-up through the A gap that set up a third-down conversion for Austin Hooper. Smith later spun off a pair of tackles on a cutback during the fourth quarter.
Latest NewsFalcons | Ito Smith injury update (Sun Oct 20, 03:25 PM) - Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons RB Ito Smith (head, neck) suffered head and neck injuries during the Week 7 game and will not return. link to story Falcons | Ito Smith to be evaluated (Sun Oct 20, 01:53 PM) - Atlanta Falcons RB Ito Smith (head) left the Week 7 game early and is being evaluated for a head injury. He is considered questionable to return. link to story Falcons | Ito Smith pulls disappearing act (Mon Oct 14, 02:45 AM) - Atlanta Falcons RB Ito Smith managed only six yards on three carries and was not targeted in the passing game in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals. link to story Falcons | Ito Smith getting more work (Tue Oct 8, 08:14 PM) - Atlanta Falcons RB Ito Smith played 35 offensive snaps to starer Devonta Freeman's 40 in Week 5 against the Houston Texans. Our View: It's a full-blown RBBC with the Falcons. Smith is getting plenty of work as a receiving back and in Week 6 against the Cardinals we could see him performing well as a flex play for Fantasy GMs.
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|7||vs Los Angeles Rams|
|8||vs Seattle Seahawks|
|9||--- BYE WEEK ---|
|10||@ New Orleans Saints|
|11||@ Carolina Panthers|
|12||vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|13||vs New Orleans Saints|
|14||vs Carolina Panthers|
|15||@ San Francisco 49ers|
|16||vs Jacksonville Jaguars|
|17||@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers|