29-Year-Old Quarterback – Atlanta Falcons
2014 Fantasy Football Outlook
Coming off of a down fantasy year and a rather shocking 4-12 season with Atlanta, Ryan looks like a good bargain opportunity in 2014 drafts. Disappointing as his struggles were, though, Ryan demonstra...
Matt Ryan Contract Information:
Signed a five-year extension with the Falcons in July of 2013 worth an average of $20.75 million per season.
Ryan completed 20-of-27 passes for 228 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in Sunday's loss to the Lions.
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|Passing||Pass Distance||Big Pass Games||Rushing||Fumbles|
|2014 Proj||29||ATL||Subscribe now to see our 2013 projections for Matt Ryan|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Fantasy Points Per Game||Passing Stats||Red Zone Passes||Red Zone Runs|
|2014 Proj||29||ATL||Subscribe now to see our 2014 projections for Matt Ryan|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Passing||Pass Distance||Rushing||Fumbles||Red Zone Passes||Red Zone Runs|
A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Matt Ryan: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)Ryan eclipsed the 4,000-yard barrier for the third straight season, but his two interceptions gave him 16 on the year - the most of his career. He connected with eight different receivers, though Roddy White (12 catches) accounted for nearly one-third of his completions. Ryan heads into the final week of the regular season with 24 touchdowns, after throwing 32 last season and 29 in 2011.
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
With a redesigned offense, Ryan and the Falcons' passing game were at their best last season. Ryan attempted 615 passes, completing 68.6 percent of them for 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns – all career highs. With Roddy White and Julio Jones on the outside and Tony Gonzalez returning for one more season, you can expect the pass-happy attack to continue. On top of that, the Falcons added running back Steven Jackson. That might sound like a negative, but Jackson isn't going to cut into Ryan's passing attempts. The veteran back can actually catch passes out of the backfield – something Michael Turner never did – and he'll keep the chains moving so that Ryan has more opportunities to find all of his playmakers. Ryan isn't a top running quarterback by any stretch, but he did scramble for 141 yards and a TD, so he has a small advantage in that department over pocket statues like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. It's worth noting Ryan sprained the AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder during the NFC Championship game, but he's already made a full recovery and shouldn't be hampered heading into training camp.
Ryan finished with career highs of 4,177 yards and 29 touchdowns through the air last year while raising his passing average to 7.4 yards per attempt after consecutive years at 6.5. Even so, Ryan’s week-to-week value is still very matchup-sensitive as he has yet to show the ability to produce against good defenses or in challenging environments. Ryan threw for 20 touchdowns and three interceptions in nine games against New Orleans (twice), Tampa Bay (twice), Carolina (twice), Indianapolis, Minnesota and Jacksonville, but threw just four touchdowns and seven interceptions in six games against Chicago, Seattle, Green Bay, Detroit, Houston and the Giants. Ryan could take the next step in 2012 – he certainly has two very talented receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones – but matchup issues are typically a reflection of enduring skill limitations rather than questions of timing or luck.
While Ryan’s average of 6.5 yards per pass attempt the last two years is quite unimpressive, there are reasons to expect improvement in 2011. First, he averaged 7.9 yards per attempt his rookie season, so we already know he’s capable of doing better than 6.5. Second, there’s a good chance Ryan is still developing as a quarterback, and he has improved his touchdown totals each year in the league – from 16 to 22 to 29. Third, Atlanta added Alabama wideout Julio Jones with the sixth overall pick, giving up two first-round picks, a second-round pick and two fourth-round picks to get him. Adding Jones not only gives Ryan another target, but it should make it a bit tougher for defenses to roll coverage toward Roddy White. Finally, Ryan’s eventual owners have to like the fact that he threw 571 passes last year – an average of 35.7 passes per game. If Ryan gets that many opportunities in 2011, expect him to do more with them than he did last year.
Ryan regressed in key areas in 2009. A toe injury cost him essentially three games, but he still threw 22 TD passes. His TD rate improved on a per-attempt basis. Ryan has upside given that he’s a still-developing player who thus has not likely flashed his peak ability. But the Falcons environment is weak. Roddy White is a very good receiver, but Michael Jenkins is quite borderline as the other starter. TE Tony Gonzalez is declining, but we just don’t know how fast. Michael Turner also adds next to nothing as a receiver, and his great running makes the Falcons more conservative on early downs. Presuming growth in Year 3, he should yield about 24 scoring strikes in a run-heavy offense. That’s a low-end fantasy starter and thus someone worthy of a middle round pick.
You can’t start an NFL career better than Ryan unless you’re Dan Marino. Ryan had a 7.9 YPA despite completing 61 percent of his passes, a little low by current standards. He was second in the NFL (behind Jake Delhomme) with 13 yards per completion (league average was 11.4). He was the best in the league in YPA on first down (9.64 on 118 attempts). That attempt total was relatively low and should increase dramatically this year, especially now with Tony Gonzalez in tow. The one area where Ryan was lacking, and we can reasonably attribute his deficiency to lack of experience, is red-zone efficiency. His TD-rate, one of every 7.1 red-zone attempts, was 33rd on our list of qualifiers. Again, Gonazalez, one of the best red-zone weapons ever and not evidencing any decline in ability last year at age 32, should help auger tremendous growth in this key fantasy area. Roddy White is a Pro Bowl-caliber weapon on the outside, and Michael Jenkins predictably showed signs of development last year when finally given an NFL-caliber distributor of the football. The offensive line is rock solid, as is the running game with Michael Turner. And remember, Jerious Norwood adds home-run skills as a screen and check-down option on third downs. Ryan’s YPA shows his TD upside as being in the 25-to-30 range, and you won’t need to pay more than a mid-round pick to get him as the primary starter in a matchup-driven QB tandem.
At press time, Redman was atop the depth chart, but the Falcons might well just play No. 3 overall pick Ryan right from the start. Who can blame them, as Redman was a reclamation project, and third-stringer Joey Harrington might be the worst QB in NFL history. Redman actually played decently in a 149-attempt sample, with a 7.2 YPA, 10 touchdowns and just five picks. But Redman only made the Falcons’ roster because of his connection to since departed coach Bobby Petrino for whom he played at Louisville and hadn’t thrown an NFL pass since 2003. And most of the shine on those stats were due to a Week 17 game (9.3 YPA, four TD, zero INT) against a Seahawks team that had locked up its playoff slot early. And two of Redman's other four significant-action games were against the Rams and Saints – both bottom five teams in YPA-allowed. We can rhapsodize about the grit and gamesmanship that Ryan showed at Boston College, but he’s faced a couple guys every week as good as every single player he'll see every single Sunday in the NFL. Yes, his guys are better, too. But only if he steps up and plays to his scouting report. Ignore the preseason, too, as teams play vanilla defenses and use their starters too sparingly for that to be an accurate barometer. On the plus side, new offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey did emphasize downfield, explosive passing in his heyday as Steelers offensive coordinator in the early part of the decade. And WR Roddy White is an emerging playmaker.