A year ago, Ryan was one of the least desirable quarterbacks in Fantasy Football. But he's in demand again after throwing for career-highs in yardage and touchdowns en route to the 2016 MVP Award. His offensive line protected him well, he had a ton of help in the passing game from a number of role players, not to mention some excellent work with stud receiver Julio Jones. Ryan should use the same formula to put up strong stats again in 2017, but typically MVP quarterbacks tend to regress following their big seasons. The Falcons also will have a new offensive coordinator in Steve Sarkisian, a first-year NFL playcaller. So long as Jones stays healthy, Ryan should finish above his career averages of 4,189 yards and 27 touchdowns. He shouldn't get picked ahead of Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, but Ryan is in the mix as a Top 5 Fantasy passer worth a pick in Round 5 or so.
Ryan doesn't expect the Falcons to have any hangover from their Super Bowl collapse, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "We're already back at it," Ryan said. "When we started as a team in April, we got together before that as players down in Miami, it was time to move on. It was time to look forward." Moving on from such a crushing defeat might seem difficult, but the Falcons can take comfort in knowing they're well positioned for another deep playoff run, having avoided the kind of exodus that often plagues Super Bowl participants. Fullback Patrick DiMarco, who only played 31 percent of the snaps last year, was Atlanta's biggest offseason loss on the offensive side. Ryan essentially will get to work with the same group of weapons that helped him win MVP honors last year, though he will have to adjust to new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who's replacing current 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. While Shanahan will be missed, Sarkisian is expected to retain the core principles of the departed coordinator's offense, implementing his own version with a light touch. It will be hard for the Atlanta offense to match what it did last season, but the unit still figures to be among the best in the NFL.
Ryan completed 17 of 23 passes for 284 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Falcons' 34-28 Super Bowl LI overtime loss to the Patriots. He also lost a fumble. Ryan, and the Falcons offense he helmed, were masterful for two quarters-plus before Tom Brady's killer instinct kicked in. He started to heat up on Atlanta's third possession, completing passes of 19 and 23 yards to Julio Jones on a drive that ultimately culminated in a five-yard Freeman touchdown run. The veteran quarterback came back on the next drive to connect with Taylor Gabriel for 24 yards and Jones for another 18, before capping matters off with a pretty 19-yard scoring connection with rookie Austin Hooper. After an eight-play, 85-yard scoring drive early in the third quarter that featured a 35-yard connection to Gabriel and a six-yard touchdown strike to Tevin Coleman, Ryan and the Falcons appeared to be in the proverbial driver's seat, but ironically would fail to score the rest of the game. One of their subsequent unsuccessful possessions came in the early part of the fourth quarter, when Ryan lost the ball after getting hit by Donta Hightower on a play where Freeman whiffed on his block. The turnover would lead to one of the Patriots' second-half touchdowns, and Ryan ultimately would never have a chance to touch the ball in overtime after the Patriots drove for a touchdown on the opening drive of the extra period. The record comeback by New England ironically caps Ryan's MVP season, a campaign in which he threw for a career-best 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns.
Ryan and the Falcons are expected to discuss a contract extension this offseason, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports. Ryan has two years remaining on his current contract, but after an MVP-caliber 2016 season, his representation is anticipated to pursue a deal to secure his long-term future in Atlanta. According to the report, Ryan's potential extension with the Falcons could make him the NFL's highest-paid player. With those negotiations not slated until this offseason, Ryan will be able to focus on the task at hand, which is leading the Falcons to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history Feb. 5 versus the Patriots.
Ryan completed 27 of 38 passes for 392 yards and four touchdowns while rushing three times for 23 yards and another touchdown in Sunday's 44-21 NFC championship game victory over the Packers. Ryan led the Falcons to 17 points on the first three possessions, capping the opening drive with a two-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu and the third with a 14-yard scramble for his first rushing score since Week 1 of the 2012 season. He later added two more touchdown passes to Julio Jones and another one to Devonta Freeman during a stretch of four consecutive touchdown drives. The 31-year-old veteran came into this postseason with a 1-4 playoff record and 9:7 touchdown to interception ratio, but has been magnificent in two appearances here with eight total touchdowns and no turnovers in guiding the franchise to its second Super Bowl appearance.
Ryan completed 26 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday's divisional round win over the Seahawks. Ryan shredded the Seahawks all day, finishing with a passer rating of 125.7. He's in line for another huge game on Sunday when the Falcons host Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the final game at the Georgia dome. The points are expected to pile up quickly in this one, and Matt Ryan is expected to spearhead the charge.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/18||Green Bay Packers||30||23.05|
|7||10/23||@New England Patriots||12||18.84|
|8||10/29||@New York Jets||22||20.88|
|12||11/26||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||19||19.81|
|14||12/08||New Orleans Saints||24||21.31|
|15||12/19||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||19||19.81|
|16||12/24||@New Orleans Saints||24||21.31|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||67.2||4743||29||12||108||0||363|