Matchup: Jets @ Falcons

Evan Silva
Falcons Fantasy Preview
Evan Silva's Team Fantasy Preview series continues with Matt Ryan's Atlanta Falcons

Monday Night Football

NY Jets @ Atlanta

The Jets enter Monday night banged up in the wideout corps with a struggling rookie quarterback facing Mike Nolan's highly multiple and complex defense. Nolan is one of the few defensive coordinators who's had success against Peyton Manning over the past two years. Although Stephen Hill (concussion) has been medically cleared, Santonio Holmes is nursing a multi-week hamstring injury, and Clyde Gates is questionable with a knee ailment. Geno Smith is a strong bet for a bad game at the Georgia Dome. Smith is on pace for a 16:32 TD-to-INT ratio with 12 lost fumbles. No quarterback in football has been sacked for more negative yards. Fire up Atlanta's fantasy defense. ... Jeremy Kerley will start in place of Holmes and is a good bet to lead the Jets in receptions against Atlanta. At 6-foot-4, 215 with 4.3 wheels, Hill offers fantasy owners a better shot at a big play. Even if a poor performance from Geno seems inevitable, there are likely to be openings in Atlanta's back end. The Falcons rank 26th in pass defense with a 9:3 TD-to-INT ratio against. Nolan's unit entered Week 5 tied for 27th in sacks (7). Kerley often plays inside, where Falcons slot cornerback Robert McClain has been eaten up. Tavon Austin scored his only two touchdowns of the season against him in Week 2, and McClain served up six catches to Brandon Gibson in Week 3. Patriots slot WR Julian Edelman tagged the Falcons for a 7-118 line last week.

Kellen Winslow was a non-factor in Weeks 2-3. He reappeared in last week's loss to the Titans, securing 6-of-9 targets for 73 yards. Winslow's knees are so rickety that his performance can be held hostage in any given week. Sharing time with Jeff Cumberland, Winslow is as far from being trustworthy as you can imagine. ... Mike Goodson's return from suspension adds dynamic all-purpose ability to the Jets' backfield. Goodson is averaging 4.88 YPC over the past three years, with 57 receptions. Though not yet in football shape, Goodson is a worthwhile stash to see what happens. ... Chris Ivory is apparently returning from his hamstring injury after practicing this week and earning a probable tag on Saturday's final injury report. With Ivory and Goodson in the fold, Bilal Powell's stranglehold on feature back duties is likely to be short lived. On Monday night, Powell will be a dicey flex option against the Falcons' No. 6 run defense. If Ivory indeed is active, Powell will likely go back to seeing 12-13 carries and 2-4 catches a game.

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The Jets are virtually certain to struggle for points on Monday night, but the Falcons could, too. Atlanta's offensive line is as exploitable as any in football, and will again be without LT Sam Baker (knee). Through four games, the Jets rank No. 2 in total defense and are tied for third in sacks (14). No defense in football has surrendered a lower completion rate (51.4) to enemy passers. View Matt Ryan as a risky, back-end QB1. This is the best defense he's faced this season. ... Since Steven Jackson strained his hamstring in Week 2 against the Rams, Jacquizz Rodgers has handled 48 touches to Jason Snelling's 30. Rodgers has played 127 snaps to Snelling's 98. If forced to pick between the two, I'm going to continue to lean to Quizz because he's getting the ball more and has a chance to break off a big gain if the Falcons scheme him into space. Snelling handles more of the power runs, which don't work against the Jets. Opposing feature back stats versus Rex Ryan's defense in Weeks 1-4: Doug Martin 24-65-1, Stevan Ridley 16-40, C.J. Spiller 10-9, Chris Johnson 15-21. Those four runners have combined to average 2.08 yards per carry.

Ryan's targets: Julio Jones 48, Tony Gonzalez 33, Harry Douglas 23, Roddy White 18, Snelling 15, Quizz 14. ... After playing shutdown coverage in 2012, perennially inconsistent Antonio Cromartie has been one of the 2013 Jets' weakest links. He's 88th-of-101 in Pro Football Focus' cornerback ratings, and 98th in coverage. Nate Washington lit up the Jets for a 4-105-2 stat line in Week 4, and Vincent Jackson touched them up for 7-154 in the opener. Start Julio every week. ... Continuing to play through a debilitating high ankle sprain, White still isn't making full-speed cuts and revealed after Friday's practice he experienced a setback in last week's loss to New England. "I ain't where I need to be yet," he said. White said he's already looking past Monday night's matchup with the Jets, and toward Atlanta's Week 6 bye. White has been playing only because he wants to keep his consecutive games-played streak alive. He's hurting his team, himself, and fantasy owners. ... Gonzalez had three slow games to open the season. He confirmed he isn't washed up against the Patriots, devouring New England's linebackers en route to 12 catches, 149 yards, and two scores on 14 targets. The Jets have allowed a touchdown to a tight end (Delanie Walker, Scott Chandler) in back-to-back weeks.

Score Prediction: Falcons 20, Jets 13