RB Ito Smith - Atlanta Falcons

5-9, 195Born: 9-11-1995College: Southern MississippiDrafted: Round 4, pick 2018

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Week 14: vs Carolina Panthers

All RB vs CAR

FBG says: Good matchup. The Falcons have welcomed Devonta Freeman back from injury, as he remains a foundational piece of their offense in general. But as a runner, he's yet to provide anything of note here in 2019. The 27-year-old Freeman has looked closer to 37, stuck in mud and floundering, and he's gotten no help from a battered, inconsistent line. He's producing just 3.4 yards per rush and 42 per game, and 42% of his yardage has come from his 2 best weeks. Apart from those, he's averaged just 2.8 and 31. There's very little talent behind him, with just Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison as mix-in options, so Freeman's three-down role is cemented well. But even with the Falcons offense so high-volume and productive, Freeman is one of those rare workhorse backs that doesn't boast much fantasy value. Despite a bevy of talent up front, the Carolina run defense has been one of football's worst throughout 2019. They're giving up the league's most yards per rush and fourth-most per game, with 8 opposing runners topping 80 yards and several others falling just short. Last week, Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson combined for 228 and 3 touchdowns in Washington's stunning win. The Panthers front line has been generally solid, with Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe holding their own on early downs. But the linebacker play has been shaky at best, with Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson contributing drastically up-and-down play. Tackling has been a huge problem on the second and third levels, with even franchise icon Kuechly often struggling the make plays. Altogether, this is still one of fantasy's most beatable units. These Falcons couldn't find any room when they squared off three weeks ago, but Devonta Freeman is looking at his best get-right matchup in quite awhile.

Weekly Performance vs RB 1, RB 12, RB 24, RB 36

Percentile ranks

Ito Smith's percentile rank in each category, among RB with more than 50 fantasy points.

Recent Game Summaries

2019 Week 7 vs LAR (1 / 7 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Smith earned seven yards up the middle after Atlanta crossed midfield during its initial drive. Corey Littleton ran over Smith during a third-down blitz pickup and Smith was on the field for some time with the before getting carted off. He was hit helmet to helmet and knocked backward onto his head and flat on his back.

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.

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Schedule

14vs Carolina Panthers
15@ San Francisco 49ers
16vs Jacksonville Jaguars
17@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers