It’s August, which means we’re just shy of a month away from the kickoff of NFL regular season! With these being the final weeks leading up to the 2012 season, many of us are facing upcoming fantasy football drafts. The question is, which Falcons do you want on your team this year? Who will step up, stay healthy, and stay consistent and lead your team to victory? I’m here with a weekly breakdown of your options. This week’s analysis: Matt Ryan and the quarterback position.
With the depth many NFL teams are displaying these days, I’d say there’s a strong argument for the QB position holding the most value in fantasy football. Dividing receptions between receivers, and now even tight ends, fantasy owners just have to keep their fingers crossed that they’ve played the right guy each week and that it’s their receiver or tight end holding the ball in the end zone. The common denominator in receiving touchdowns? … The quarterback. Regardless of the end zone target, the point outcome is the same for you if you’ve got the guy throwing the ball. The catch to this theory would of course be if passing touchdowns are awarded fewer points–the QB is awarded 4 points per TD rather the typical 6 points awarded to the WR, TE, or RB for scoring.
All that being said, just where does Matty Ice rank among QBs this season? ESPN polls currently have Matt Ryan going about 73rd overall and 11th among QBs. Taking Matt Ryan in the fifth or sixth round has the potential to be an absolute steal. Ryan’s numbers have improved every season since his rookie year in 2008, and last year was a record-setting season. Ryan broke the Falcons’ franchise record for passing yards in a single season with 4,177 and became just the second quarterback in franchise history to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season. His six 300-yard passing games on the season also set a franchise record.
In addition to Matt Ryan reaching his second-highest career mark in yards per attempt with 7.4, he also reached his highest TD total with 29. Not only that, Ryan is throwing the ball much more often. Last year, he attempted over 130 more pass attempts in comparison to his rookie season. He did all this while maintaining under his career-high 14 interceptions.
When you add Ryan’s numbers that have been on the rise year after year to the offense weapons the Falcons have—second-year receiver Julio Jones opposite elite veteran receiver Roddy White, pro-bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez—it appears to be an explosive combination with lots of promise for the 2012 season.
It’s often thought that third-year quaterbacks experience a breakout season, but will it be lucky number four for Matt Ryan? Will this be the season Matt Ryan joins the company of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees as one of the elite quaterbacks in the NFL? Some gurus say yes. It may be a bit of a gamble for you fantasy owners, but if you’re able to hold off on taking a QB in earlier rounds of the draft—and instead rack up on top-notch RBs and WRs—the payoff for drafting Matt Ryan in the middle to later rounds may prove more than generous.