Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas emerged as the go-to target for quarterback Matt Ryan in Week 7, as the pair have hooked up for six completions, 140 yards and a 37-yard touchdown through two quarters.
Douglas hauled in his only other target in the second half of Atlanta's 31-23 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and finished with seven catches for 149 yards.
The 29-year-old is stepping up big in the absence of Julio Jones and Roddy White, so Atlanta and its fans have to be optimistic about his fantasy outlook and stock if his first 30 action as the team's best receiver on the field are any indication.
Did you start Harry Douglas today? He's already got 140 yards and a TD at the half.— ESPN Fantasy Sports (@ESPNFantasy) October 20, 2013
This type of production from Douglas was unprecedented. ESPN points out how Douglas had a single 100-yard game in his career before Sunday at the Georgia Dome:
Harry Douglas had one 100-yard game in 5 seasons. He has 140 yards. IN THE FIRST HALF.— ESPN (@espn) October 20, 2013
The Falcons entered Sunday's NFC South showdown with the Buccaneers sporting a 1-4 record, desperate for a win. Despite a dearth of weapons in its No. 2-ranked passing attack, Atlanta found a way to carve up the Tampa Bay secondary.
That way is Douglas, who hauled in all seven passes thrown his way. A huge disparity in time of possession is more to account for Douglas only being thrown to once in the final 30 minutes more than anything.
What should Harry Douglas' fantasy outlook be moving forward?
A lot of attention can be diverted from him with a legend like Tony Gonzalez at the tight end position, but the uncanny rapport between Douglas and Ryan is perhaps the most impressive part of this sudden development.
As a third-round pick in 2008, Douglas arrived in the same year that Ryan did, which may have something to do with the innate chemistry on display from the tandem.
As long as those two are on the sidelines—or even if White is on the field and not quite himself—Douglas should emerge as one of the top fantasy commodities on the waiver wire.
Douglas should thrive as a slot receiver, and he has the speed to be a deep threat, too.
To compensate for a defense that entered Sunday 25th in points per game allowed and an unproductive running game with Steven Jackson still out, it's safe to assume the Falcons will continue airing it out.
That's great news for Douglas' fantasy outlook, and for him as an individual to showcase his abilities to fill the void left by his higher-profile teammates. Consider him a WR2 moving forward.