As far as quarterbacks went, Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan was considered to be a pretty safe pick in fantasy football drafts last summer. Unfortunately, that was not the case for Ryan in 2013. He lost the majority of his offensive weapons, and as a result, his numbers severely suffered.
Despite the lackluster numbers, Ryan still ended up throwing 26 touchdowns last season, including at least one touchdown in 15 of 16 games. He was also fourth in the entire NFL with 4,515 passing yards. Ryan was missing the majority of his weapons last season, but he still ended up having a rather decent fantasy performance when it was all said and done.
Fortunately, Ryan will be returning two All-Pro wideouts in Roddy White and Julio Jones this year. White was bothered all year by hamstring/ankle injures, while Jones missed almost the entire season with a foot injury. Both wideouts will be healthy this season and will instantly give Ryan two reliable targets to look for downfield.
Ryan had by far the worst fantasy season of his career in 2013, as he threw a career-high 17 interceptions. The quarterback was trying to force the ball downfield too much to unproven wideouts and the lack of chemistry impacted Ryan’s weekly numbers.
Ryan will also have a big hole in the middle of the offense since TE Tony Gonzalez finally retired. The team will be transitioning several different tight ends into the offense, but there is bound to be a learning curve. Gonzo was the ultimate check down option for Ryan and that kind of familiarity will be hard for the quarterback to replace.
Even more concerning, the team still has yet to establish a steady running game. After missing almost all of last season, veteran RB Steven Jackson isn’t getting any younger. He won’t be able to be reliable back all year long, and once S-Jax finally starts to slow down, opposing defenses will once again shift their attention to containing the passing game.
Ryan will be one of the best value picks at the quarterback position this summer. The sky is the limit with most of his weapons coming back in 2014 and Matty Ice should be red-hot this fantasy season.
Bye Week: 9
Projected Round: 6
Auction Value: $20