And we've got our first question fantasy football question of the year! Honestly, stunning that it took so long. I will say, however, that you're asking the wrong Bair about this.
My wife Stacy is the fantasy football guru in the house. True story. You don't want her in your league unless you dig second place finishes.
- Tyler Allgeier discuss first offseason program, what he's excited to do in training camp
- Drake London on first NFL offseason program, Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder
- What we learned from Day 2 of Falcons minicamp
- Finding the Falcons rookie class: Drake London, Arnold Ebiketie, Troy Andersen; Desmond Ridder; DeAngelo Malone, Tyler Allgeier, Justin Shaffer
I still think the Falcons have some fantasy options outside Kyle Pitts listed below, plus more quarterback talk, instant-impact rookies and the offensive line blocking for mobile quarterbacks in this Friday mailbag:
Steven Finke from Lawrenceville/Savannah, Ga.
I know we have A LOT of fantasy football fans in GA and I know it is very early, and you probably can't get a good read yet. But, besides Pitts, is there anyone on the team you would say is a must have in your fantasy lineup or could have a breakout season (most importantly at RB and WR)?
Second, again i know we are in the beginning of training, but at the start of the season, who do you think is going to be the starting QB based on your gut extinct? I know you will say Mariota because of experience and knowledge of Smith's system, but do you think Ritter has a fighter's chance? Has he showed you something that awed you and made you think we could have a future franchise QB in him?
Bair: If you can land Kyle Pitts early in your fantasy draft, take him. He probably won't be around for your next pick. And I believe that he’ll be even better, with more touchdowns in 2022. Cordarrelle Patterson should see a lot of the ball and he scored double-digit touchdowns in 2021. He'd be a good pick.
Beyond that, however, patience may be a virtue. Taking a flier on Tyler Allgeier might be a good move in hindsight, considering he's a bruiser who could play a significant role in 2022.
Drake London could be a solid pickup, given he's expected to play, and get targeted, a lot. He could be a 1,000-yard, seven TD guy. Or less. It's always tough to tell how rookie receivers are going to fare.
Oh, also, as a quick note, I get asked for fantasy advice every year right before drafts. My friends always regret doing so. So listen to the paragraphs above at your own peril. Ha.
In regard to your quarterback question, it's too early. I don't know if there will be a true quarterback competition this summer or not. I am sure we'll talk quarterbacks a ton in camp. Maybe even chart out practice performances. Who knows? Gotta pass the time somehow. Ha. I just know Desmond Ridder’s a talented guy who, like all rookie quarterbacks after their first offseason program, has a long way to go.
Kenny Allen from Ellenwood, Ga.
Hello Bair, I enjoy reading your answer to the many wonderful questions submitted. I heard that O.Z. said he thinks this is a playoff team. I have to admit. we were great between the 20's last year. with the height we brought in at receiver, the red zone should be interesting this year. I believe we will improve on our record of 7-10 from last year. I have hopes that we do make it to the playoffs, as that would help bring in better free agents with the money we can pay next year. Do you think we are a playoff team?
Bair: The question above was submitted by Kenny, but the answer goes to him and Guy Lenz from Lawrenceville. You two asked virtually the same question less than two hours apart. Great minds think alike, and all that.
I agree with the point that improved red zone play, and in short-yardage situations while we're at it – will allow the offense to score a lot more and show significant progress. More points equal more wins. I don't know, however, if that equates to a real playoff push. I'm a "never say never" guy here, so I'm not discounting anything. The NFL has proven that anything's possible, but this roster still has both holes and depth issues that can only be corrected by several years of wise roster construction. I don't think they're there yet.
So, are the Falcons a playoff team? I don't think the odds of that are good at this stage. At the baseline, this unit has a lot to prove. That can't be accomplished in spring. This team has a good coaching staff with standout play callers. But they must go out and earn respect. I like Olamide Zaccheaus' confidence, though. That's an important trait to have when trying to prove doubters wrong.
The veterans and rookies were out on the field during Minicamps this week putting in some extra work and interacting with fans before the summer break.
Frank Walker from College Park, Ga.
We talk a lot about multi-year development of rookies. Are there NFL league-wide stats that suggest which positions typically allow a rookie player to have a major impact on his team in his first year (assuming he is NFL-ready, but not necessarily a top 10 pick)? Running back, kick returner, tight end, linebacker?
Bair: I don't think there's hard data and science behind the answer I'm about to give. It's just my gut after 15 years covering the league. I think positions that allow athleticism to shine can get going the fastest. In my opinion, that's running back and edge rusher. Those positions also require smarts, but it seems a bit easier to plug and play. Maybe at some points on the offensive line, guard or tackle, if you're an elite athlete for your size. Maybe an interior defensive lineman.
I will say that playing in the NFL is hard, and rookies often talk about the speed of the game being an adjustment. It's surely that everyone's faster, and that everyone's thinking – reading and reacting – quicker, too. That's why development is key, and even strong rookie performers get better with experience.
Robert McCoy from Statesboro, Ga.
Hey dude, love reading the mail and thought I'd submit a question for consideration. I've heard and I agree that along the offensive line Jake Matthews and Chris Lindstrom are locks. They have both played great, but my only concern is that they have only ever blocked for Matt Ryan. Do you think they'll still excel when blocking for a more mobile QB? Or do you see the possibility of their play slipping a bit? I guess also, could some of the others perform better blocking for a mobile QB?
Bair: We have another question double up! That's crazy. This one isn't identical, but I think I can answer Jerry Griffin's in the same answer. I would say, however, that Jake Matthews hasn't only blocked for Matt Ryan. He blocked for Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M, and he could move around quite a bit. Chris Lindstrom doesn't have an identical experience, but he's athletic and can block in space and is a smart player who can improv a bit.
To your larger point, and Jerry's, I think that having a mobile quarterback will help in pass protection. He can escape collapsing pockets and make something out of nothing. That's a net positive, but it's not a cure all. Even mobile quarterbacks get sacked, often later in the play trying to make something happen.
Call for questions
Let's refill the mailbag for Monday's edition of Bail Mag by submitting your questions right here.