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QB Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons

6-4, 228Born: 5-17-1985College: Boston CollegeDrafted: Round 1, pick 3

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News you need to know

From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Nov 23): A healthy and dominant Julio Jones puts Ryan back in the low QB1 tier, but he is still prone to mistakes and could struggle in tough remaining matchups against Carolins (twice) and Minnesota coming up this week.

Week 12: vs Minnesota Vikings

All QB vs MIN

Mark and Joe say: Neutral matchup. Matt Ryan threw 25/46 for 280 yards passing, with three TDs against the Colts last week - but he also pitched three interceptions, and the Falcons lost 21-24. Julio Jones handled 15 targets for 9/160/0 receiving, while fullback Patrick DiMarco snagged two TDs (four for 3/21/2) and Leonard Hankerson handled the other (seven for 4/36/1) - Roddy White got his wish and saw more targets (nine) but only managed to catch 4/24/0. This is an offense with explosive capability that is being held back by turnovers. The Vikings' pass D is ranked sixth in the NFL averaging 224.8 net passing yards allowed per game, with 13 passing scores given out vs. six interceptions (tied for 22nd in the league) and 23 sacks generated to date (tied for 15th in the NFL). Over the past four weeks (four games), this team is tied for ninth-least in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks (17.9 on average); at fifth-least in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends (5.0); and is 12th in the league in fantasy points given out to opposing wide receivers (22.8). Aaron Rodgers managed 16/34 for 196 net yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown at Minnesota last weekend; the Vikings allowed 29/43 for 287 net yards passing, two TDs and two interceptions to Derek Carr and company two games ago. This looks like a neutral matchup for the high-flying but mistake-prone Falcons.

Recent Stats and Projections

8 vs TB 80 37 45 397 2 1 3 2 0 1 25.05
9 at SF 64 30 45 303 1 0 1 2 0 0 19.35
11 vs IND 75 25 46 280 3 3 2 7 0 0 23.7
12 vs MIN PROJ-Dodds * 26 40 * * * 2 * * * *
12 vs MIN PROJ-Tremblay * 26 41 * * * 2 * * * *
12 vs MIN PROJ-Bloom * 20 34 * * * 1 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2015 Week 11 vs IND (25 / 46 / 280 / 3 / 3 pass, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)

Atlanta earned two early opportunities on turnovers but the offense could not convert. The Falcons went to Roddy White on three straight attempts early in the game and White could not achieve more than a slight amount of separation on any of those targets despite catching two of the routes. Some of Ryan's throws on slants and outs lacked velocity and it was difficult to tell whether Ryan was hurt or the ball came off his hand funny. Even the deep-intermediate dig routes to Julio Jones lacked a touch of velocity and bears monitoring. One major positive is that Julio Jones is healthy enough for the Falcons to target him on fade routes, deep comebacks, and deep dig routes, and Ryan and Jones were on the mark. Unfortunately, Leonard Hankerson dropped multiple passes, White couldn't get open, and Ryan's only reliable options were fullback Patrick DiMarco, who he found for two touchdown passes as a check-down option sneaking into open zones, and desperation outlets to Terron Ward. Without the ground game, Ryan was forced to throw a play action pass deep in Atlanta territory over the middle and linebacker D'Qwell Jackson dropped into the zone deep enough to earn a pick-six. Ryan's first interception came in the end zone during the first quarter, a debatable call where Ryan forced the ball into Roddy White high and the veteran receiver tipped the ball, giving safety Dwight Lowery a chance to trap it in the end zone and the officials to call it a turnover. Ryan is still capable of good production with enough surrounding talent, but it's impossible for Julio Jones to do it all and that's the situation in Atlanta.

2015 Week 9 vs SF (30 / 45 / 303 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)

The Falcons' quarterback benefitted from great field position numerous times thanks to Eric Weems' work in the return game. But Atlanta stuck to the outside zone throughout the game despite it failing repeatedly. Ryan was forced to throw from compressed pockets due to 49ers pressure and he was off-target more on a majority of his passes--even completions. His accuracy included over throws, underthrows and placing the ball behind his receivers. Ryan's best throw was a deep post to Julio Jones late in the first half on the opening play of the drive. It was the first deep throw Atlanta has attempted--and completed--in a month. Ryan continues to look to Jacob Tamme on short routes and the pecking order for the passing game is Jones, Tamme and Devonta Freeman as the main targets with the occasional out, slant, or inside seam route to Roddy White. Justin Hardy also earned a few targets today, but the routes were all short plays over the middle. Until Atlanta finds a target that can win single coverage and stretch the field in addition to Jones, defenses will continue to compress the field and make the passing game inefficient -especially with scoring --even if producing at a high-yardage volume.

2015 Week 8 vs TB (37 / 45 / 397 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 2 / 0 rush)

The biggest news is how much Ryan and TE Jacob Tamme are clicking. Ryan and Tamme routinely hooked up in the middle of the field between linebackers and in the flats between the openings in Tampa's Cover 2. This bodes well for Atlanta down the stretch if Julio Jones' recovery from a leg injury continues trending upward to the point that Jones can begin earning deep targets. Once again, Atlanta didn't go deep in the passing game, but Ryan found Jones on backside slants and deep outs. The deep outs were a new element to this offensive game plan since Jones' injury. What we have not seen from Ryan to Jones is go routes, deep posts, or deep sideline fades. The rest of the passing game has been reduced to short plays to Roddy White in the flats, a couple of looks of similar nature to Justin hardy to get his feet wet in this offense, and check downs to the running backs. Tamme has offered versatility on crossing routes, seam routes, and plays to the flats. Ryan's best play of the day was a roll left in the red area where he pumped and hit Jones in the back of the endzone for the game-tying score. His worst was an overtime attempt where he was wrapped by a Buccaneers lineman and still tried to throw the ball. The lineman jarred the ball loose and if not for Devonta Freeman recovering the ball, the game would have been over. Sooner after, the Buccaneers pressure wrapped Ryan and forced a bad fourth-down throw for the game-ender. Ryan's accuracy issues, a non-existent deep game, and turnovers in the red area involving poor execution by the center and/or Ryan were the difference.

2015 Week 7 vs TEN (22 / 38 / 251 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / -3 / 0 rush)

The Falcons began the game throwing the ball more than it ran and it resulted in two truncated series, including a second series where Ryan missed Julio Jones on a deep in-cut and then the next play when pressured and forced to climb and throw a low and away target in tight coverage on a slant, forcing a punt. The Falcons heavily targeted Jones on slants, outs, and crossers in tight coverage with mostly poor results. Ryan either placed the ball in low or awkward spots to Jones, had the ball tipped at the line of scrimmage, or Jones dropped the ball after contact from a defender. One of Ryan's tipped passes was a screen play to Tevin Coleman that resulted in an interception in the first half. Ryan was off-target multiple times in this game, underthrowing Jacob Tamme on an end zone fade where the receiver had a step on the defender and then throwing an interception after placing the ball behind the open tight end on 4th and goal with a 3-point lead. Most of these off-target throws were not the result of pressure and Ryan's issues were widespread: too high, too low, too wide, or behind the target. Ryan still displayed good pocket presence to slide from pressure or stand tough to find a receiver. If he were a little more on-target today, there would be more talk about the budding Ryan-to-Tamme connection in this offense.

2015 Week 6 vs NO (30 / 44 / 295 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 10 / 0 rush)

Ryan and the offense began the game with a lot of play-action boots, hitting his receivers on drag routes and crossers. This was a smart way to use Julio Jones, whose hamstring has kept him from exploiting defenses deep. Ryan was forced to squeeze some throws into tight windows that he couldn't make and had some close calls where he placed targets in position for the Saints corners to undercut them for interceptions. Pressure reached Ryan multiple times up the middle and of the edge. He ws sacked once in the first half and then lost the ball on a sack in the middle of the third quarter. Ryan then gave up another sack fumble in the final minutes. Despite the miscues, Ryan led the Falcons up and down the field and if I weren't for a fake punt and an Evan Stone snap that careened off his leg in the red zone and recovered by New Orleans, it could have been a bigger day for Ryan and Atlanta.

2015 Week 5 vs WAS (24 / 42 / 254 / 0 / 2 pass, 3 / 20 / 0 rush)

The Falcons tried to exploit the Washington defense in the deep middle of the field multiple times in the first half, but Ryan failed to deliver with good placement. He tended to throw the ball high over the middle of the field on route requiring some zip. One went through the outstretched hands of Julio Jones for a drive-ending interception during the Falcon's initial offensive series of the game. Jones' hamstring was an issue throughout the game, costing receiver snaps so he could stretch the muscle. When Ryan tried to go deep or hit Jones on-time with a shorter pass with running room, the star receiver could not fully open his stride. After limited success with White in the first quarter, Ryan went to Leonard Hankerson in the second quarter. After the first completion to Hankerson, the receiver suffered a rib injury and missed the rest of the half. When Hankerson returned he was clearly slowed by the issue and Ryan repeatedly missed Hankerson and Jones on intermediate and deep routes with separation to make the catch and trot into the end zone. Ryan got some help from Jacob Tamme throughout the game, but Washington clearly gave the quarterback these underneath routes because they were confident that they could limit Tamme after the catch. For the most part, this was correct. Ryan also made some poor throws to Tamme and the Washington pressure off the edge reached the Falcons quarterback more than any point this season, including a sack fumble in Falcons territory that helped Washington earn the lead. Ryan also underthrew a fourth-quarter drag route to White that was undercut for a fourth-quarter interception that set up the game-tying field goal that sent the game to overtime. Monitor Jones' hamstring, because it could render this pass offense more one-dimensional.

2015 Week 4 vs HOU (19 / 27 / 256 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)

Ryan wasn't needed much in this game thanks to great work up front for the ground game, Devonta Freeman's decisive running, and the opportunistic Falcons defense. One of the bigger plays of the day was a throw to Freeman for 25 yards on a third down during the first quarter where Ryan was forced right and threw on the move. The target may have been intended for the deeper receiver, but Freeman was in the flat and turned to the ball for the catch and broke a tackle for a few more to get Atlanta inside the Houston 20. Ryan also found Leonard Hankerson for a 56-yard play on a short cross with a delayed release behind the tight end by Hankerson. Ryan also found Hankerson for a 15-yard comeback after scrambling right in the first quarter and a TD to Hankerson in the second quarter with a quick look-in audibled versus middle pressure inside the Houston five. As for the few negatives, Ryan took a sack from Watt and nearly threw a pick-six with Watt batting a ball and nearly catching it, but the Falcons quarterback handled the pressure well and effectively managed the game with a big lead in the first half. By the top of the fourth quarter, backup Sean Renfree took over.

2015 Week 3 vs DAL (24 / 36 / 285 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 17 / 0 rush)

The only low point for Ryan in this game was a sack he took on the initial third down of the game against a double A-gap blitz that ended with him in the arms of Sean Lee. By game's end, Ryan engineered 5 touchdowns on the Cowboys after Dallas jumped to a 21-7 lead. The ground game consistently opened lanes on runs to the edge and up the gut, which allowed Ryan to use the play-action passing game to find Julio Jones on crossing routes with devastating effect, including a 45-yard play where Jones ended the run as if he was diving onto a beanbag chair as he crossed the pylon. When intermediate and deep crossers weren't gouging the Cowboys, Ryan often hit Jones at will on quick look-ins from the slot for gains of 8-12 yards or found Devonta Freeman in the flat or over the middle on quick-hitting dump-offs, including a 35-yard gain at the end of the half. Ryan had some low throws in the first half that did not connect with his receivers and he also had two overthrows of receivers in the end zone on third downs that were nullified by defensive holding calls. These calls gave Atlanta new life and resulted in scores to keep them in the game. The Cowboys defense is missing key pieces at the line of scrimmage, but this game illustrates how well Matt Ryan can command an offense when the ground game is hitting on all cylinders.

2015 Week 2 vs NYG (30 / 46 / 363 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)

Matt Ryan played at a high level for most of this game against the Giants but his fantasy production does not quite reflect this, unfortunately for his owners. Matt Ryan faced an aggressive Giants defense that blitzed often but he did an excellent job recognising this on several occasions and threw the ball in the right direction to escape the pressure. Ryan used slants and quick in patterns heavily in the first half to move the chains and had great success taking advantage of off coverage defense by the Giants. Ryan also got the ball out of his hands very quickly which further helped to negate any potential pressure caused by a blitz. Ryan hit Hankerson in the redzone in the first half on a perfectly placed post route but unfortunately was not credited with the touchdown as Hankerson was ruled 1 yard shy of the goal line and the Falcons punched it in on the ground a few plays later. Ryan was sacked on a few occasions and did have to deal with several of his passes being batted down at the line of scrimmage but this did not put off the Veteran Quarterback from throwing anywhere on the field. The Falcons had excellent play design on several big pass plays from Ryan who used play action and rollouts with great success. Ryan relied heavily on star receiver Jones to move the chains and to get out of bad situations. Ryan threw a pass late over the deep middle of the field from his own endzone and Jones bailed out his Quarterback by making a terrific diving catch sideways to secure the ball with one hand. Ryan did finally connect with Hankerson in the back of the endzone on a post route. Ryan threw a high pass into a highly contested area but Hankerson was able to snag the ball for the touchdown. Ryan finished off his performance with a well thrown fade pattern to Jones for a big play down the sideline. Unfortunately again for Ryan's fantasy owners, Jones was ruled down at the 1 yard line and Ryan was not accredited with the touchdown pass. Regardless, Ryan was very strong against a suspect Giants defense but very unlucky not to have 3 touchdowns in this game.

2015 Week 1 vs PHI (23 / 34 / 298 / 2 / 2 pass, 5 / 7 / 0 rush)

If Monday night's game was any indication of the season to come, the Falcons re-tooled offensive line of Chester and Levitre (acquired during the past 10 days after a horrible preseason showing for the line) has saved this team's 2015 season before it has begun. Ryan got far more time in the pocket and the ground game did well enough to open the perimeter on runs outside despite a sack fumble by Fletcher Cox that was nullified by an illegal contact penalty on the Eagles secondary and a sack that counted later on when Tevin Coleman whiffed on a corner blitz assignment. Those two plays may sound bad, but Ryan was kept clean far more in this game than he has the past three years. The quarterback used that time well to generate big plays. He hit Julio Jones multiple times up the sideline in this game for big gains and also found Roddy White on intermediate routes off play-action. Ryan's red zone interception in the first half was a target intended for White, but Kiko Alonso made a fantastic drop into the zone and a one-handed grab to foil the potential touchdown. Despite two interceptions in the middle of the field on plays intended for White where he didn't spot the coverage and an underthrown wheel route to Devonta Freeman that bounced off Connor Barwin's shoulder pad in the fourth quarter, Ryan was accurate and made good calls at the line to adjust run plays to quick-hitting passes to Jones for strong gains. The only play that consistently failed tonight for Atlanta were short drag routes to the flat by Jones that were repeatedly nullified by holding and offensive pass interference penalties due to late throws by Ryan or early blocks by the perimeter receivers.


Latest News

Falcons | Matt Ryan healthy (Wed Nov 25, 12:32 PM) - Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan is healthy and has taken fewer hits this season, according to head coach Dan Quinn.

Our View: Ryan is healthier, but his fantasy numbers aren't overwhelming. He's still a QB1, but Ryan is a low-end QB1 this season.
link to story   

Falcons | Mixed numbers for Matt Ryan (Sun Nov 22, 05:35 PM) - Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw three touchdowns and passed for 280 yards Sunday, Nov. 22, in a 24-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He also threw three interceptions.

Our View: Ryan threw a pick six from his own end zone that caused the Falcons to relinquish control of a game they had led throughout. The team is in a freefall with the Vikings coming to town next week.
link to story   

Falcons | Leonard Hankerson praised by QB (Thu Nov 19, 01:07 AM) - Atlanta Falcons WR Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) returned to the practice on a limited basis Wednesday, Nov. 18, and QB Matt Ryan was very glad to have one of his weapons back. 'Hank has had a great year for us when he's been able to go,' Ryan said, 'and I think having him back opens up a lot of things for everybody. It makes us a better offense.'

Our View: Hankerson looked good and then fell off the map, though how much his hamstring was a factor compared to the long history of mediocrity we've seen from him before is hard to say. We'd avoid him when he does return until he proves it's a good idea to trust him.
link to story   

Atlanta Falcons Team Links

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12vs Minnesota Vikings
13@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
14@ Carolina Panthers
15@ Jacksonville Jaguars
16vs Carolina Panthers
17vs New Orleans Saints