by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer (3/11/14) CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora believes the Falcons are heading for a scheme change, moving to a 3-4 front after playing in a 4-3 format for years.
The move makes sense as it gets back to defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's roots. It also explains the additions they've made to their defensive line with Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai joining the team. Last year the Falcons ranked 21st against the pass and 31st against the run.
The Falcons have also released safety Thomas DeCoud, saving themselves a couple of million dollars against the salary cap.
Falcons sign Tyson Jackson
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer (3/11/14) The Falcons have agreed to a deal with free agent defensive lineman Tyson Jackson, reports the NFL Network.
Jackson spent the first five years of his career with the Chiefs. In 2013, he had four sacks and 33 total tackles.
Falcons able to keep Jonathan Babineaux
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer (3/11/14) The Falcons have agreed to terms with defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux on a three-year contract extension, the team announced Tuesday.
Babineaux had 42 tackles, a sack and an interception last season, his ninth in Atlanta.
Falcons likely to keep Osi Umenyiora
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (2/20/14) It appears the Falcons will hold onto defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who had 7.5 sacks last year. Umenyiora, 32, would count $3.5 million against the cap in 2014.
Coach Mike Smith said Umenyiora did an "outstanding job" in his first season with Atlanta. "I am never gonna say never," Smith said, "but I'm looking forward to continuing to work with him."
Jonathan Babineaux hopes to return to Falcons
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (2/6/14) Free agent defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, who's spent his entire nine-year career with the Falcons, hopes to return to the team, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The paper says a two- or three-year deal seems workable for Babineaux, who's started every game the past two seasons.
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The Falcons DST was a Top 10 Fantasy option in 2012, and they have the chance to be a starting option again this season. They have a revamped secondary, and they tried to upgrade their pass rush with the addition of ex-Giant defensive end Osi Umenyiora. There are stats you'd like to see the Falcons improve on -- scoring on special teams and getting more than two defensive touchdowns -- but they were among the leaders in interceptions (No. 6) with 20 and points allowed (No. 5) with 299. If they can create more sacks (just 29) and find the end zone a couple more times they could emerge as an elite option. Consider the Falcons a late-round flier if you miss on the top DST units or grab them as a bye-week replacement during the year. (Updated 8/16/13)