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NFL Draft Fantasy Fallout - Matt Ryan


Intangible!


After having the worst quarterback season of any team in recent NFL history, the Atlanta Falcons moved into a new era by drafting Matt Ryan (3rd overall), a quarterback out of Boston College.

Ryan doesn't have incredible speed or a cannon for an arm.  The thing that scouts kept saying about him was his "intangibles".  The NFL Network said he had "off-the-chart intangibles", which was a new level of hyperbole and poor vocabulary even for NFLN.  While nobody can describe quarterback intangibles - because they're intangible! - they always seem to be colored...uh..white.  Funny how that works.

Falcons fans are not universally behind this pick - Dave the Falconer is drunkenly furious, or maybe furiously drunk, about the pick - but Ryan is the future starting QB this season.  There has been some discussion about Ryan sitting on the bench for a year of seasoning while Chris Redman starts, but that's BS.  While Matt Ryan is mostly intangible (like that girl in the X-men movies), there are few things he definitely is not:

  • He's not Aaron Rodgers, stuck behind an entrenched starter.  Chris Redman is neither entrenched nor a starter.  And don't get me started on Joey Harrington.  The Falcons drafted Ryan to start. Right away.
  • He's not JaMarcus Russell, with questionable skills and preparedness for the NFL.  Ryan started 32 games over the past four seasons for Boston College; he's as ready for the NFL as any rookie quarterback you'll see.
  • He's not Brody Croyle, having to bear the burden of unreasonable expectations.  Ryan doesn't have to win the game, he doesn't even have to "not lose the game".  He just has to learn, improve, hand the ball off to his two quality running backs and try not to get spectacularly injured.  There really isn't much pressure on this guy this season.  
I think Ben Rothlisberger's rookie season is a good guide to how Ryan will perform this season - something around 2,600 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions seems about right.   Now this doesn't sound like a quarterback you want on your fantasy team, but keep in mind that - barring injury or a holdout - Ryan will start every week and there is fantasy value in that fact.  

Just off the top of my head there are QB controversies on the Jets, Dolphins, Ravens and Buccaneers.  If you're in a league with 12+ teams, there aren't enough established starters to give everybody two QBs, let alone three QBs.  Matt Ryan won't win you any fantasy games by himself, but at least you know he'll be starting.