2014 Outlook: It's easy to forget, but before missing the final 11 games last season with a broken foot, Jones was on pace for 1,856 yards and 6 TDs. That would've tied him with Josh Gordon for the best fantasy year among pass catchers. With Roddy White's best years behind him and Tony Gonzalez retired, Jones is clearly Matt Ryan's most reliable target. Durability is the only concern: He has missed nearly 30 percent of his career games, and it remains to be seen whether his foot issues will sap any of his explosiveness.
2014 Outlook: For years it seemed that White was an indestructible workhorse wideout, but that notion crashed to earth in Weeks 1-12 last year. White was on the field for eight of those contests and posted an abysmal 2.62 fantasy points per game (ranked 104th). Granted, he was battling injuries for most of that stretch, and once White healed up, he got back to his old form, racking up 61 points in Weeks 13-17. That was a top-10 total for that time frame, and it offers hope that he can return to that level. Still, don't count on White's being an iron man for a full season.
2014 Outlook: The age-30 rule is rarely wrong: Once a running back hits that milestone, he's playing on borrowed time. Last year we hoped Jackson would prove to be an exception, lining up in a high-octane Falcons offense that propped up a fading Michael Turner for years. But Jackson tore a hamstring in Week 2, missed four games and wound up averaging a career-worst 3.5 yards per carry. Things figure to be better in Atlanta, as the line is rebuilt and Julio Jones should be healthy. But Jackson, 31, is looking more and more like a two-down player. With the prospect looming that his days as a 1,000-yard rusher are over, he'll need a bunch of short-yardage TDs to sneak into the top 20.
2014 Outlook: Just about everything that could go wrong for Ryan did go wrong last year. He lost a top receiver, Julio Jones, for much of the season and dealt with massive offensive line issues (44 sacks, tied for worst in the NFC). Yet Ryan still ranked seventh with 12.3 vertical yards per attempt and 14th in overall fantasy points among QBs thanks to 151 total points on short passes. His consistency and durability -- only two games missed in six NFL seasons -- make him a fringe QB1 and a great QB2.
2014 Outlook: Freeman is the player the Falcons wish Jacquizz Rodgers was. Selecting him in the fourth round of May's draft was a tacit admission that the Quizz experiment hasn't worked. Rodgers is just too small. Will Freeman ever be a workhorse back? At 5-foot-8 and 206 pounds, maybe not. But he's a good, tough player who can catch and block, and he'll be a natural complement to Steven Jackson. Our guess is that Freeman outpaces Quizz this summer and becomes a handcuff for those who want to take one last chance on S-Jax.
2014 Outlook: Bryant had one of his better seasons in 2012, but Atlanta's offensive regression had a huge impact on his production last year. His overall field goal attempts plummeted from 38 to 27, his lowest full-season total since 2006, as Atlanta limped to 22.1 ppg (20th in the NFL). Bryant hit 88.9 percent on field goals last year, which is actually a bit better than his 84.8 percent career mark. It's just a question of whether his opportunities will be there: A year after booting a career-high 17 attempts of 40-plus yards, he had only 10 last season.
2014 Outlook: Pop Quizz: Which NFL team was last in rushing in 2013? That's right, it was the Falcons, who lost Steven Jackson for four games and labored behind a terrible O-line. Alas, Rodgers was also part of the problem. The 5-foot-6 Quizz proved unable to carry the rushing load in Jackson's absence. Occasionally he found space, but mostly he bounced around until some massive defender crushed him. (For someone so shifty, Rodgers didn't have a single run of 20-plus yards in 2013.) With rookie Devonta Freeman in the mix, Rodgers is no longer a threat to get carries and frankly won't approach his 52 catches from last year.
2014 Outlook: At first glance, it might seem difficult for Douglas to replicate last year's career high of 132 targets, 85 receptions and 1,067 yards. Part of that production was due to a total of 14 missed games from Julio Jones and Roddy White, which gifted Douglas 11 starts. Barring injury, he won't get that many starts again, but the departure of Tony Gonzalez should free up more targets. Provided Matt Ryan can stay upright this season, Douglas could have the highest upside of any WR6 candidate.
2014 Outlook: This unit needs bodies. After adding DTs Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson in free agency, the D-line is better. But we're still looking at a defense with zero healthy proven commodities at linebacker, a shaky strong safety in William Moore, no established free safety at all and precious little cornerback depth behind Desmond Trufant. Only five teams gave up more points per game than the Falcons did last year (27.7), and while it's unwise to rule out a bounce-back, let someone else in your league take that risk.