2013 Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Matt Ryan?

By Dustin Manko
Matt Ryan
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

On the surface this idea might seem crazy, but should you sit Matt Ryan this week? Up to this point in the season, Ryan ranks first in the league in passes completed per game and pass attempts per game. He ranks second in yards per game, sixth in passer rating, ninth in yards and touchdowns, and is the 10th highest scoring quarterback in fantasy football.

This is also the first game he will be playing without Julio Jones, who leads the league in receiving yards per game. Ryan’s second option, Roddy White is still banged up, and clearly not anywhere near being a fantasy starter. Starting running back Steven Jackson looks to be gone till November, meaning the Atlanta Falcons cannot rely heavy on the running attack, now powered by Jaquizz Rogers and Jason Snelling. That leaves Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas as Ryan’s primary targets. Gonzalez should be locked into all lineups, and Douglas makes an interesting WR3/flex option.

This weekend the Falcons host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ryan has been almost unbeatable at home, going 34-7 at the dome. Tampa is coming off a 31-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. This was the second time this season the Bucs have allowed more than 20 points to an opponent. Their defense currently allows the 13th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, 18th to wide receivers and 12th to tight ends.

So should you sit Ryan? I went through a few different quarterback ranks while researching this column. Some have Ryan as high as eighth this week on the quarterback board, most have him in the low teens. I averaged them out to a composite of 11.5. Unless you have a better option, I’m not sure that you can sit Ryan, although expectations should be tempered. The loss of Jones is huge, but Ryan still attempts more passes than any other quarterback. Gonzalez is capable of catching anything within reach, and is one of the best in the league at reaching out and going to the ball instead of allowing it to come to him. The strength of the Tampa Bay defense is stopping the run, and with a backup running back (albeit a capable one) as the Falcons starter it would make little sense to for them to abandon their pass first mentality.

I have Ryan as my QB2 in my two quarterback league, and I will be sitting Ryan this week in favor of Jay Cutler (the Chicago Bears play at the Washington Redskins). I think Cutler has a better matchup and that Tampa Bay will come out strong after allowing 31 points last week. Based on matchups you might want to consider starting Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, possibly even Nick Foles, over Ryan. However, if none of those other signal callers are available, I wouldn’t have a problem putting Ryan in my starting lineup.

As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.

Dustin Manko is an author at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DustinManko, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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