Anyone who stood by patiently while Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Drake London struggled through the early part of last season was rewarded with a glimpse at his future late in the year. London’s production took a massive leap in the last five games, and this year, he’s poised to put up numbers consistent with blue chip No. 1 receiver.
2023 Fantasy Football: Drake London Profile
Recap of 2022 season
London’s production in the first part of the season wasn’t really his fault. The Falcons offense was terrible. It was also the NFL’s most run-heavy team, which further ate into London’s opportunities. Still, he finished the season with 866 yards and four touchdowns on 72 receptions. What was most encouraging about London’s totals is that he had 117 targets, a number that should climb this season. Over the last five games of the season, he was targeted 48 times, catching 31 passes for 428 yards.
Updated Falcons outlook
It was clear late last season that quarterback Desmond Ridder trusts London, a productive relationship that should flourish this season. There isn’t a lot of competition for targets among the receivers either. Most of the offense will work through London, the running backs (including first-round pick Bijan Robinson) and tight end Kyle Pitts.
The Falcons probably aren’t going to win a lot of games, but the offensive production should be there for London and others.
Best case scenario
London saw 9.6 targets per game over the last five of the season, compared to less than six prior to that. Extrapolating his performance in December and January, we should see a massive uptick in his target totals. That could also mean a pretty significant yardage total, especially if the Falcons are playing catchup in a lot of their games this season.
Worst case scenario
The Falcons offense looks solid on paper, albeit without much depth at receiver. That could make it easy for teams to lock up London in coverage, depressing his totals. Another issue here is that Ridder is an unknown. If he struggles as a passer, that could also be a drag on London’s production.
Unknowns and the lack of depth at receiver are probably going to put a hard ceiling on London’s totals this year. Still, he’ll see enough targets to produce numbers in line with a reliable WR2 in fantasy football lineups.