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NFL Conference Championships DFS: Optimal Lineups
Howard Bender
Brandon Marianne Lee
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Takkarist McKinley Headshot

McKinley recorded 20 tackles (15 solo), six sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass defensed across 16 games in 2017.

The rookie made his presence felt throughout the season on Atlanta's defense, recording the second-most sacks on the team. Like any rookie, there is room to grow for McKinley, as he will use a full offseason to get better accustomed to Atlanta's schemes. The Falcons boast a ton of talent at defensive end, with Adrian Clayborn serving as the only free agent this offseason. Still, McKinley could be due for an expanded role in his sophomore campaign.
Yesterday 10:32 pm (EST)
Kemal Ishmael Headshot

Ishmael recorded 29 tackles (15 solo), one sack, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery across 16 games in 2017.

Ishmael saw a dropoff in defensive snaps last season, going from 310 in 2016 to 114 this past year. He now hits the market as an unrestricted free agent, and due to his lack of play time last season, it seems likely the safety could be calling somewhere else home next season.
Yesterday 10:22 pm (EST)
Duke Riley Headshot

Riley recorded 30 tackles (15 solo) through 12 games this season.

Despite a knee injury that cost the rookie four games, Riley had a solid performance his first year in the league. He'll now get a full offseason to grow in the unit and seems likely to retain his starting position heading into 2018.
Yesterday 10:16 pm (EST)
Derrick Shelby Headshot

Shelby recorded 30 tackles (16 solo) and one sack in 16 games this season.

Shelby averaged slightly under 25 defensive snaps per game this season as part of the Falcons' defensive line rotation. The 28-year-old is under contract through 2020 and will look to have an expanded role on the team next season.
Yesterday 10:13 pm (EST)
Ricardo Allen Headshot

Allen recorded 54 total tackles (38 solo) in 15 games this season.

Coming off a 2016 campaign where he racked up 90 total tackles, it's safe to say that his defensive output was a disappointment this year. He'll be a restricted free agent this offseason, so while it seems likely he'll be in a Falcons jersey next season, his 2017 performance did little to solidify that possibility.
Yesterday 9:54 pm (EST)
Brian Poole Headshot

Poole finished 2017 with 63 total tackles (49 solo) and one sack.

Poole finished fifth on the team in tackles, which is impressive considering it's only his second year in the league. There are better IDP options on this Falcons defense, but Poole has been a model of consistency in his two years in the league, and he should continue to see plenty of tackle opportunities next season.
Yesterday 9:51 pm (EST)
Robert Alford Headshot

Alford's 68 total tackles (60 solo) were a career high for the fifth-year defensive back.

He only had one interception this year, which is surprising considering he's had at least two interceptions in all four previous seasons. He's under contract for three more years, so he should continue to be a decent IDP option with 50 to 70 expected tackles and the chance at a couple of interceptions.
Yesterday 9:46 pm (EST)
De'Vondre Campbell Headshot

Campbell tallied 92 total tackles (61 solo) and two sacks for the Falcons in 2017.

After posting 48 tackles in 11 games last season, Campbell made his presence known in his second year, nearly doubling his tackle total and getting to the quarterback twice, something he never did in his rookie season. His 92 tackles ranked third on the team, and he should continue to see plenty of tackle opportunities in his third year in the league.
Yesterday 9:41 pm (EST)
Keanu Neal Headshot

Neal finished with 116 total tackles (83 solo), three forced fumbles and an interception in 16 games this season.

His 116 total tackles were the second highest on the team behind Deion Jones, and he's now topped 100 total tackles in both his seasons in the league. He also has a knack for getting his hands on the ball, as he has eight forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception in 30 career games. He won't do much in the sack department, but he'll be a solid IDP option for the foreseeable future.
Yesterday 9:37 pm (EST)
Deion Jones Headshot

Jones led the Falcons with 138 total tackles (91 solo), and he added three interceptions and a sack this season.

Jones built on a strong rookie campaign, and he's racked up more than 100 total tackles in each of his two seasons in the league. His 91 solo tackles ranked sixth in the league, and he tied for fourth overall in total tackles. He should be a top IDP option entering next year.
Yesterday 9:31 pm (EST)
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