Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by Giana Pacinelli. Find her on Twitter @Gianaaaa and read some of her work at The Huffington Post. …
There are plenty of quarterback options in the sea. And with so many seemingly similar studs, it seemed like Matt Ryan was largely overlooked at the start of the 2016 season. Naturally, hindsight is 20/20. But now that he’s made it to the Super Bowl, critics and fans alike are reevaluating how undervalued he really was, while fantasy owners are already considering where he should fall in 2017.
Regardless with what happens this Sunday, at 31 years old, Ryan has not proven himself enough over the years to move into the top tier of elite quarterbacks. But after Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, where does he go? There are a few factors to consider.
If there is one thing you get with Matt Ryan, it’s consistency. Within the last four years, he’s earned over 4,500 yards per season with a QBR of 89+. His touchdown totals can provide fantasy owners with a consistent 20+ points each week. And he unfailingly provides volume in the passing game week after week, something you can’t always rely on in tough match-ups.
Matt Ryan Season Stats
- 2016 4,944 yrds, 38 td, 7 int, QBR 117.1
- 2015 4,591 yrds, 21 td, 16 int, QBR 89
- 2014 4,694 yrds, 28 td, 14 int, QBR 93
- 2013 4,515 yrds, 26 td, 17 int, QBR 89.6
Lack of Injury
In addition to his consistency in the passing game, he’s remained consistent staying on the field. In his eight years in the NFL, Ryan has had one injury, to his right big toe in 2009, which caused him to miss six games. His college career proved the same, with one injury to his foot, resulting in surgery and one missed game. Ryan’s low risk of injury provides security and value that fantasy owners should consider.
Matt Ryan is where he is today is because he had the weapons to take him there. Among the guys you might consider taking instead of Ryan, most don’t have the crutch he is afforded with Julio Jones. Even when defenses have managed to lock everyone up, Julio always manages to find an escape and extend plays and drives. Add in Atlanta’s two pass-catching backs to the mix and you have a squad Ryan can depend on to complete drives, and you can rely on them to help your fantasy quarterback rack up passing yards.
Matt Ryan peaked early in his career, then somewhat plateaued, and managed to return to the spotlight in the 2016 season. But where does he go from there? His yardage is comparable to the top passers of the game, but it is quite possible we have seen Ryan’s best fantasy season. And yet, it’s equally as possible we haven’t. His total fantasy points per season and fantasy points per game have fluctuated, but stand strong.
|Year||Fantasy Pts||Fantasy PPG|
Ultimately, Matt Ryan leads the pack within his class. He has proven himself enough over the years where I would take him over Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, Marcus Mariota, and Ryan Tannehill in 2017. Given Ryan’s premier starting lineup, I’d even consider taking him over Cam Newton and Russell Wilson.
I consider Ryan to fall just below Tier 1 and just above Tier 3, sitting in a small class of borderline elite. While I’m hesitant to jump on the Ryan bandwagon, I would confidently choose him as my QB1 in a standard 2QB league. If he is still around come the second round, you would do yourself a disservice if you didn’t take him. While he might not ever bless you with an explosive 35+ point week, he will deliver you a solid 20+ points week after week, making him a dependable and reliable QB1 to lead your team to the championship. Ryan should go 6-12 in standard 2QB leagues.