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    Calvin Ridley Out: Is backup Olamide Zaccheaus a fantasy starter?

    Calvin Ridley is out for the Week 5 contest -- with Olamide Zaccheaus presumably rising the Falcons' depth chart, can he help fantasy lineups?

    With Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage sidelined, can Olamide Zaccheaus or any other Falcons wideout rise above the depth chart and step up for fantasy football managers in London Sunday morning (or rather, Sunday afternoon across the pond)?

    Who is Olamide Zaccheaus?

    Zaccheaus was a highly acclaimed receiver for the Virginia Cavaliers, earning Athletic Coast Conference honors as a junior (second-team) and as a senior (first-team). Atlanta signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2019, back when the team had an incredible pass-catching arsenal at its disposal, including Julio Jones, Ridley, Mohamed Sanu, Gage, and Austin Hooper.

    Many savvy fantasy managers might wonder whether Zaccheaus can be a viable fantasy option. The simple answer is no. When starters go down, it’s natural to assume the next guy on the depth chart is the new No. 1. But the NFL doesn’t work that way, and neither does fantasy.

    Who else do the Falcons have on the depth chart?

    Former fifth-round draft pick Tajae Sharpe enjoyed a promising rookie campaign in 2016 (41-522-2) before missing the entire 2017 season with a foot injury. While he physically recovered, his career did not, as he drifted from Tennessee to Minnesota to Kansas City before Atlanta signed him in May as a depth piece.

    Elsewhere, former undrafted free agent Christian Blake has served as a No. 5 and No. 6 option for the Falcons since 2019, and 2021 sixth-round rookie Frank Darby might snag a ball or two after profiling this spring as more of a special-teams prospect.

    Meanwhile, three or four non-receivers should see plenty of work, led by 30-year-old breakout star Cordarrelle Patterson. Along with Mike Davis and perhaps a sprinkling of Wayne Gallman, Atlanta might lean heavily on a backfield that collectively (thanks largely to Patterson) has been among the league’s most prolific. And don’t forget about Kyle Pitts. Fantasy managers have been waiting for this extraordinarily talented tight end to bust loose. If he can’t do it this week, it’s hard to imagine him doing it when the starters return.

    Oh yes, and then there’s former starting tight end Hayden Hurst — a sneaky fantasy play that virtually no one is talking about. He could have been a TE1 this season if the team hadn’t drafted Pitts. If anyone’s ready to take on a bigger workload, it’s Hurst.

    Does Zaccheaus have Week 5 fantasy value in London?

    So that leads us back to Zaccheaus, a deceptively attractive fantasy option based solely on “last man standing” sensibilities. Let’s scrap those sensibilities. Instead, understand that he and Sharpe and Blake will compete for touches with tight ends averaging 10 targets a game (including third-stringer Lee Smith). Additionally, the running backs are averaging 10.5 targets per game. If we assume Pitts and Hurst will get more involved, let’s round up to a combined 25 targets at those two positions.

    Realistically, that might leave 10-12 targets for the wideouts, of which Zaccheaus could earn 5-6 on a good day. Do you want to pin your hopes on a largely unproven No. 3 receiver getting maybe 3-4 catches?

    There are other, safer options out there. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Don’t take a chance on Zaccheaus.

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