2019 has not been the type of season that the Atlanta Falcons had hoped for heading into the year. The same could be said about their quarterback Matt Ryan.
The former league MVP has taken drastic steps back this season and has quickly found himself on the bubble of startability amongst many fantasy football teams.
Can Ryan resurrect his once-elite fantasy status under the bright lights of Thursday Night Football on Thanksgiving Day? Or will his struggles just become more apparent to a broader audience? Let’s discuss.
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Matt Ryan’s Fantasy Outlook vs. New Orleans Saints
Matt Ryan has tossed as many interceptions this season (10) as games he’s played in (10). That number of picks is already three more than he’s had in two of his previous three full 16 game season.
However, despite his abundance of turnovers this year, it has not been all bad for Ryan from a fantasy perspective in 2019. Well, at least not at first. From Week 1 through Week 6, Ryan was able to counteract his bad decisionmaking by tossing an impressive 15 touchdowns over that span.
Ryan’s knack for getting the ball in the end zone helped the signal-caller average of 24.3 fantasy points. Placing him as the fourth-highest scoring fantasy quarterback up until that point, and making him a legitimate starter across all scoring formats.
However, all seemed to go downhill for Ryan after he suffered an ankle injury in Week 7. While he was able to return to the lineup after missing just one game of play, his production has continued to take a seismic hit.
From Week 10 through 12, Ryan has seen his fantasy points per game drop by 10.78 when compared to his numbers prior to his injury. Over Ryan’s last three games, he’s had the same amount of turnovers (3) as he has touchdown passes (3), while averaging just 13.55 ppg. To put that in a better perspective, Ryan had four 3+ touchdown performances over the first six weeks of the season.
To make matters worse, Ryan will head into Thursday night’s game with a hobbled Julio Jones. With that said, fellow wideouts Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage have been phenomenal of late. Gage has the same amount of receptions as Jones over the last three games, while Ridley has outpaced Jones in every statistical category over that same span.
It’s also worth noting that there could be a correlation between the fact that Ryan has endured three of his worst fantasy performances this season in games that running back Devonta Freeman either left or missed due to injury. Freeman will be back in the lineup on Thursday night, and that gives Ryan one of the better receiving back options in all of football.
Ryan’s opponents tonight, the New Orleans Saints, have become evidently more susceptible on the back end of their defense over recent weeks. The unit, which allows the 12th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, has now surrendered an average of 20.98 points to the position over the last two weeks. The Saints have also allowed 2+ passing touchdowns to QBs in three consecutive games, and four of their last five.
Should You Start or Sit Matt Ryan in Week 13?
Chances are, if you’re a Matt Ryan fantasy owner you’ve likely scoured the waiver-wire these past few weeks hoping to find a viable replacement for him. However, the majority of those players will never present the upside that Ryan will.
With reports pointing to Julio being available tonight, and with Freeman set to return, Ryan will finally have his near-full arsenal of offensive weapons, one of the more talented groups in all of football.
Ryan has low-end QB1 appeal tonight vs. a Saints defense that has been torched by Jameis Winston and Kyle Allen over the last two weeks.
- *Check out our Week 13 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Ems to further optimize your lineups
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