Looks like 2017 was the outlier for Matt Ryan, who enters 2019 coming off his second elite season in the last three and remains one of the best quarterbacks on the board for Fantasy. In fact, he might end up a relatively good value in the seventh or eighth round, as flashier names move up draft boards. All he has is one of the best skill position groups in the league, led by Julio Jones. Plus, a potentially shaky running game, built around an increasingly fragile Devonta Freeman. If he he's forced to put the ball in the air 600 times again, Ryan's going to come close to 5,000 yards and 35 touchdowns again. Let others chase the new hot names, while Ryan puts up great numbers yet again.
Ryan said he's excited to work with Dirk Koetter as his offensive coordinator again, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "I learned so much from him the first time around (2012-14), and he's picked up a few different things along the way too," Ryan said Thursday. "We've come up with some really good stuff." When Koetter served as the Falcons' offensive coordinator between 2012 and 2014, Ryan completed 67.4 percent of his attempts for 4,643 passing yards per season -- notably better numbers than Ryan's 64.4 percent completion rate and 4,099 passing yards per season across his other eight pro campaigns. With Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary drafted in the first round, as well as the additions of veteran guards James Carpenter and Jamon Brown via free agency, the offensive line should be much sturdier than it was a year ago when it allowed Ryan to absorb a career-high 108 QB hits. Add in a selection of skill-position players that includes three former Pro Bowlers (Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and Austin Hooper) as well an emerging star in Calvin Ridley, and it's easy to envision Ryan remaining a top-flight fantasy quarterback in 2019.
Ryan should benefit from offseason improvements along the offensive line in 2019, the Falcons' official site reports. Atlanta's brass has shored up the interior with the free-agent signings of left guard James Carpenter and right guard Jamon Brown, who are slated to take over problematic spots. Moreover, blocking tight end Luke Stocker will bolster Ryan's protection. Despite the deficiencies up front last season, Ryan still completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 4,924 yards and 35 touchdowns, numbers which he only surpassed during his MVP campaign in 2016. With Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley, Devonta Freeman (groin) and Austin Hooper manning the skill positions, Ryan could elevate his output further with the upgrades made in the trenches.
Ryan (wrist) may be afforded more time to throw in 2019 after Atlanta agreed to contracts Wednesday with free-agent guards James Carpenter and Jamon Brown. Often found running for his life behind a shoddy offensive line in 2018, Ryan still managed to throw for 4,900 yards and 35 touchdowns. Neither Carpenter nor Brown put forth an exemplary body of work last season -- they ranked as the Nos. 54 and 62 offensive guards in the league, respectively, per Pro Football Focus -- but both bring experience to the line and will likely step into starting roles immediately. The duo will provide an upgrade at guard, but investing the No. 14 overall pick in April's draft into an offensive tackle remains very much in play for the Falcons.
Ryan will receive play calls from Dirk Koetter in 2019 after the former Buccaneers head coach was named Atlanta's offensive coordinator Tuesday. Koetter previously held the same post between 2012 and 2014, during which the Falcons twice finished as a top-eight scoring offense. Over that three-year stretch, Ryan turned in a 86:45 TD:INT with at least 4,600 passing yards each season. Though the Falcons' 2018 season didn't go as planned, it was through no fault of Ryan, who reached the 35-touchdown plateau for the second time in his 11 professional seasons. His reunion with a familiar and proven offensive mind bodes well for his chances to remain a top-five fantasy quarterback in 2019.
Ryan completed 31 of 44 passes for 378 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the Falcons' 34-32 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday. He also rushed four times for seven yards and caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Mohamed Sanu on a trick play. Ryan wrapped up the season in stellar fashion, as the Falcons afforded their offensive stars their normal allotment of playing time. Ryan picked on the vulnerable Buccaneers secondary all afternoon, connecting with Julio Jones on nine occasions for 138 yards and a touchdown and hitting Mohamed Sanu for an additional 90 yards on seven completions. Then, he got in on the fun himself with his touchdown reception, which came early in the third quarter. Ryan finished what was a disappointing 2018 campaign from a team perspective with 4,924 yards and a sparkling 35:7 TD:INT. Atlanta will look to retool some in the offseason and will undoubtedly count on another MVP-caliber season from Ryan to help them bounce back in 2019.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|7||10/20||Los Angeles Rams||17||19.63|
|10||11/10||@New Orleans Saints||28||22.78|
|12||11/24||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||30||23.13|
|13||11/29||New Orleans Saints||28||22.78|
|15||12/15||@San Francisco 49ers||29||22.88|
|17||12/29||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||30||23.13|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||68.0||4654||31||9||128||1||368|