After a quiet 10-point first half, the fantasy heavens opened and poured down points -- 37 total in the second half in the Falcons' 26-21 win over the Ravens last night. We can thank a Ravens' second-half rally and a surprising Atlanta passing game for the scoring windfall, as quarterback Matt Ryan's fantasy value took a possible quantum leap while the Ravens' defense should scare away fewer and fewer fantasy owners playing against it. Joe Flacco shook off a brutal first half and played well enough to win, while neither team's running games did much.
Part 1: Roddy White, hero. Sure there was a pushoff on the winning touchdown catch, but White's huge night only punctuated the fact he might be the best fantasy receiver out there and at worst, in the top-three. Despite being listed as questionable, White helped out owners by declaring he'd play ahead of time, then rewarded their faith in starting him with big play after big play. White went over the 100-yard mark on the last drive of the game and capped the night perfectly with his second TD catch of the night and second two-TD game of the year.
Part 2: Matt Ryan, fantasy starter? For the first time since Week 5 of the 2009 season, Ryan went over the 300-yard mark illustrating why he's a perennial fantasy backup. Don't bench Phillip Rivers just yet, but those in larger leagues or fantasy teams with QB problems might want to look into what the price to grab him might be. In his past four starts he's averaged 275 yards a game and has thrown nine touchdown passes.
Part 1: The second-half surge. Flacco and the Ravens' offense came alive after halftime and no surprise, getting Anquan Boldin involved usually helps. Ray Rice got involved with more touches while fantasy fossils Todd Heap and Derrick Mason made big plays in a great final two quarters.
Part 2: Ray Rice is resourceful. Despite Rice's red-zone carries being about as common as a Joe Theismann-called game and moments of silence, even when he's not scoring he's still a fantasy force. In four of his past five games he's gone over the combined 100 yard-mark rushing and receiving. Even on an off-night, his all-purpose yardage ability is a nice trump card to have.
Michael Turner, goat. It wasn't the easiest of matchups going against a fringe top-10 rush defense, but Turner failed to even get 40 yards. This season he's been feast or famine and most fantasy owners are starving at this point. Through nine games he's gone over 100 yards four times, while scoring all five of his TDs over the course of only three games.
The following fantasy standouts due to breakout of their slumps and redeem themselves.
They aren't obvious fantasy starts and some of the names aren't familiar, but here is a sleeper sampling of players who could patch up any lineup full of injuries or byes with matchups ready to be exploited.
Hits: QB Michael Vick, WR James Jones, RB LaDanian Tomlinson
Misses: WR Wes Welker, RB Matt Forte, RB Shonn Greene, RB Chris Ivory
Push: WR Patrick Crayton
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