2017 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Three quarterbacks who could be 2017's Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan just had arguably the best bounceback season in the history of football. He was my favorite quarterback heading into the 2016 and he far exceeded anything I could have dreamt up for him. What made it all the more amazing was how disappointing his 2015 season was.

  • In 2015 Ryan posted a career worst 3.4 percent touchdown rate. In 2016 he more than doubled that (7.1 percent) and posted the ninth-best rate since the turn of the century.
  • In 2015 Ryan had a 2.6 percent interception rate, the second highest mark of his career. In 2016 he cut that in half (1.3 percent) and threw a career-low seven interceptions for the season.
  • In 2015 he averaged 7.5 Y/A, which is pretty much his career average. In 2016 he hit 9.3 Y/A, the highest mark since Kurt Warner's 9.9 Y/A in 2000.

All of that is to say that it's unlikely that someone bounces back to the same degree Ryan did. Few have. But there are three quarterbacks who could both bounce back and jump into the top five at the position after disappointing seasons in 2016. I've ranked them in terms of likelihood:

The Next Matt Ryan
1
Russell Wilson Seattle QB
Wilson has already broken out once as a quarterback, but I'm not certain we've seen the best of him. In 2016 he regressed, partially due to the fact he battled injuries most of the season. But even with those injuries, he was a top-15 quarterback and touchdowns were all that separated him from another top-five season. Wilson had a career-low 3.8 percent touchdown rate in 2016, his career mark is 5.6 percent. Touchdown percentage is one of the least sticky metrics from year to year, so I would expect regression. If all of his statistics remained the same from last year except your normalized his touchdown rate, he would have thrown 29 touchdown passes and finished as the No. 5 QB in Fantasy. That should be the expectation in 2017 with a ceiling as high as No. 1 at the position.
2
Andy Dalton Cincinnati QB
Like Wilson, Dalton also had a career-low touchdown rate (3.2 percent) and would have finished in the top five at the position if he'd simply posted his career norm (4.6 percent). Dalton also played half of 2016 without his No. 1 receiver (A.J. Green) and only had Tyler Eifert for eight games. Heading into this season he has both healthy (along with draft additions  Joe Mixon and John Ross ) and has arguably his best collection of weapons yet. If Dalton, Green and Eifert play 16 games, you should expect another top-10 season.
3
Cam Newton Carolina QB
Cam Newton is essentially the greatest Fantasy quarterback ever through the first six years of his career, so he probably seems like a strange choice. But injuries and a career-low touchdown rate (3.7 percent) made Newton a huge disappointment in 2016. Now there's talk that he'll run less and people are getting worried that Newton is no longer a Fantasy starter. You shouldn't. Even if Newton runs less, he'll still be in the upper echelon of running quarterbacks. The addition of Christian McCaffrey should make him a more efficient passer, and the touchdown rate should rebound. As long as Newton is healthy for Week 1, he'll be a top-10 quarterback.
Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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