The Falcons are an attractive team.

It’s not because Matt Ryan was voted as the most handsome quarterback in the NFL. It’s because each of their skill positions on offense brings a fantasy relevant player. How many teams can we say has that?

The 2011 season saw fragments of what Julio Jones is capable of doing. It showed the consistency of Roddy White and Michael Turner, and the solid play of Matt Ryan. And it showed us that 35 year-old tight ends can still play at a high level.

Can the Falcons actually get better, from a fantasy perspective, in 2012?

It’s a make or break year for…

Matt Ryan. He’s been one of the more overrated quarterbacks, from a fantasy perspective, since coming to the NFL in 2008. But right now –  this year – he has an opportunity to separate himself from his mid to low-end starter position.  He has a chance to become more elite than he has before.

And I think there’s a chance that it can happen. He threw the ball more, surprisingly, in 2010 than he did in 2011. But in 2011, he threw for 470 more yards. He also finished as the 8th best fantasy quarterback last season, ahead of Phillip Rivers, Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger. It was his best year as a fantasy quarterback.

Moreover, it has already been said that Michael Turner won’t be touching the ball as much this year. The Falcons are going to need Matt Ryan to perform in order to win. Hence, a make or break year.

He’s also got plenty of weapons. Tony Gonzalez is still relevant, Roddy White is elite, and Julio Jones is the hot wideout in the fantasy world this year.

I think Ryan can become a very solid fantasy quarterback, especially given his average draft position, in a 12-team league, of 7.05. If he stays there, I’d even consider him a “late round quarterback”.

Don’t assume you’ll find a bust in…

Michael Turner. Being drafted in the mid third round and being ranked as the 18th ranked running back is somewhat of a joke to me. Since becoming the starter in Atlanta in 2008, Turner has finished as the 2nd, 22nd, 9th, and 6th best running back in fantasy football. And moreover, he’s had at least 10 rushing touchdowns each and every season.

He’s not a guy that’ll catch the ball out of the backfield. In fact, he’s never had a receiving touchdown in his career. But the guy is a monster.

And I get it. The second half of the season didn’t go so well for Turner. But if that’s your reasoning for Turner, then you probably shouldn’t go after Calvin Johnson, either.

I don’t think Turner will necessarily be a top 5 back. I just believe that of the players that are getting up there in carries throughout their career (Steven Jackson, Frank Gore), Turner is easily in the best situation for fantasy success. And not only that, he’s gotten significantly less carries throughout his career compared to those guys. If he drops in your draft, then definitely try to snag him. People will try harder to get a guy sexy pick, like Jahvid Best, instead of using their brain with a player that will get goal line touches week in and week out.

He may lose carries this season, but he’s losing carries off 301. Even if he loses 60 or 70 he’s still getting well over 200, which only 19 running backs received last season.

I’m not as high as many on…

Julio Jones. I think he’s going to have a fine year, but I don’t want to put him in front of Roddy White just yet.

We saw how athletic the guy was plenty of times in his injury plagued rookie season. But if we look at the number of targets Julio got compared to Roddy, there’s a clear, clear winner.

Jones had double digit targets just three times last year. Compare that to White, who had 10. On average, Julio Jones got about 8 targets per game. Again, when we look at Roddy White, that number is over 11.

As I’ve said many times before, I like consistency in the early rounds. I can’t give it up to Julio until I see more. I know that he’s very talented. And I believe he can be better, even from a fantasy standpoint, than Roddy White someday. I just don’t think someday is 2012.

We can pinpoint Roddy White’s performances and say that he’s just consistent. And many believe that consistency doesn’t win championships. First, I say that yes, Roddy White is a mega consistent wide receiver. But second, I say no, because consistency does win championships. You need to balance consistency with high risk, high reward players. I’ll get to more on this in the coming weeks.

The one word to describe the 2012 Falcons is…

Exceptional. The team is talented, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they ended up taking the NFC South this year.

Matt Ryan is definitely in a make or break year from a fantasy perspective. With all the talent in the world, he’s a candidate to put up some lofty numbers.

And while Michael Turner may lose carries to age and a more aggressive offense, I still think there’s value there. Being drafted in almost the fourth round just seems absurd to me.

Julio Jones is still a risk in the early rounds. I can’t blame you for getting him, but I still personally feel that Roddy White is the best wide receiver in Atlanta. Of course their both insanely talented though.