During the first weekend of NFL football, many teams and skill position players saw disappointing starts. It takes trust to lock in even the most talented players in your starting roster, especially when you take them with an early draft pick.
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Should I Start or Sit Drake London in Fantasy This Week?
The Falcons had some hyped players on the offensive side of the ball who were going in the top six rounds of fantasy drafts, but one of those players is giving fantasy managers trust issues.
All of Drake London’s Week 1 production.
— Jeff Bell (@4WhomJBellTolls) September 11, 2023
London had a quiet rookie season in 2022, but once the team named Desmond Ridder as the starter, Ridder leaned on London as a preferred target in the final four games of the season.
London averaged 13.5 fantasy points once Ridder took the starting job, and heading into the second season, there was hope that the connection between the two would flourish into a buffet of fantasy points. But after the first game of 2023, fantasy managers are wondering what went wrong for the Falcons passing game.
London did absolutely nothing relevant in his first game of the 2023 season, earning only one target and finishing with zero fantasy points. Adding insult to injury, head coach Arthur Smith was asked about the one-target performance and said, “Let the fantasy guys worry about that. We don’t care; all we care about is 1-0.”
I can confirm that I am a “fantasy guy,” and this article is chock full of worry for London! Most talent evaluators and football fans can agree that London is a talented wide receiver. But this offense is severely crippling to the skill position players. It is a run-heavy approach, and passing plays are rarely longer than 15 yards.
Ridder had only 18 pass attempts, and the leading pass catcher was Kyle Pitts, who finished the game with only 44 yards. The running backs combined for nine targets. Meanwhile, only Mack Hollins and London were the only wide receivers to earn a target. This is an extremely low-volume passing attack led by a head coach who unapologetically refuses to change his philosophy.
The Falcons’ upcoming opponent, the Green Bay Packers, had a strong opening week performance and have a strong defense to boot. One of the stars of the team is cornerback Jaire Alexander, who is routinely matched up with top receivers from opposing teams.
Fantasy Outlook for London vs. the Packers
To summarize where we are with London this week, he’s trapped in an archaic offense that refuses to throw the ball downfield, and he’s matching up against one of the top cornerbacks of the NFL.
If we were in the fantasy playoffs, I’d err on the side of caution and advise you to lock in the more talented player. But I’ve seen similar situations like this before, and this is not going to end well for London’s fantasy managers.
I will be benching London in any league I have him in. I do not expect him to be held to zero fantasy points, but his ceiling is incredibly low.
I understand that he was a relatively high pick to already be placed on the bench, but you can get more promising production from less talented receivers in better situations.