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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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Photo: Matthew Emmons, US Presswire

Preseason player page

News you need to know

From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Dec 15): No Julio Jones? No problem. Matt Ryan benefited from facing the Steelers pass defense indoors in Week 15, but Week 16 also serves up a weak defense indoors as the Falcons travel to the Superdome, where the Saints have lost four straight. Consider him a solid QB1 without Julio, and an elite Week 16 play with Julio.

Week 16: at New Orleans Saints

Mark and Joe say: Great matchup. Matt Ryan tossed 31/43 for 448 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions thrown (one sack taken for -8 yards) the last time he saw New Orleans way back in Week 1. Julio Jones was his main target (nine targets for 7/116/0 receiving), while Roddy White (six for 5/72/1), Antone Smith (one for 1/54/1) and Levine Toilolo (six for 3/19/1) handled the TDs for Ryan that game. Since then, the Falcons and Saints have raced each other for the NFC South title - last week, Ryan was forced to do without Jones (posting 26/37 for 310 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions, with zero sacks) during a narrow 20-27 loss to Pittsburgh. Harry Douglas (14 targets for 10/131/0 receiving) and Roddy White (10 for 7/58/1) were the most-targeted receivers on the squad in Jones' absence, while Devin Hester (six for 5/85/1) also made his presence felt as a receiver while Jones stood on the sidelines. As of Monday, head coach Mike Smith was optimistic that Jones will play in this divisional showdown, but it remains to be seen how much Jones will practice - fantasy owners should stay tuned to's Players in the News for the latest on how involved Jones is in practices this week. The Saints' pass D is now tied for 26th in the NFL averaging 257.1 net passing yards allowed per game, with 24 pass scores given out vs. 11 interceptions (tied for 19th in the NFL) and 31 sacks generated to date (tied-22nd). Jay Cutler and company limped to 17/31 for 153 net yards, two TDs and three interceptions thrown (with seven sacks taken for -41 yards) on Monday Night Football against New Orleans, while Cam Newton wasn't sacked once two weeks ago (with 21/33 for 226 net yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions thrown). This pass D is usually very giving, as you can see. This looks like it will be a high-scoring shootout - advantage, Atlanta, even if Jones is sidelined again.

Recent Stats and Projections

12 vs CLE 27 43 273 2 1 2 6 0 1
13 vs ARI 30 41 361 2 1 3 4 0 0
14 at GB 24 39 375 4 1 2 23 0 0
15 vs PIT 26 37 310 2 1 3 27 0 0
16 at NO PROJ-Dodds 27 39 * * * 2 * * *
16 at NO PROJ-Tremblay 26 40 * * * 2 * * *
16 at NO PROJ-Bloom 22 37 * * * 3 * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2014 Week 13 vs ARI (30 / 41 / 361 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 4 / 0 rush)

Three things turned this game in Atlanta's favor early on and two of them were the doing of the offense. One was Julio Jones' dominance of Patrick Peterson on vertical routes and the other was Ryan having success with quick throws to receivers who earned yards after the catch. Potentially throw in Steven Jackson's best rushing day as a Falcon--over half of which came on a 55-yard gain on a single run during the first series of the game--there were enough positives to keep Arizona's aggressive defense off balance for most of the day. Atlanta took advantage of Jackson's early run with a one-yard play action pass on 4th and goal to a wide-open Levine Toilolo in the back of the end zone for its first touchdown. However, a big assist for the Falcons win goes to Drew Stanton and Michael Floyd, who turned over the ball enough for the Atlanta offense to earn prime field position to take an early lead and then Cardinals Patrick Peterson, whose failure to put his hands on Julio Jones allowed Atlanta to build its lead to an insurmountable tally. After a Dwight Lowery interception on Arizona's second series, Atlanta converted its great field position with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones on a fade route where Jones gave Ryan plenty of room to drop the ball in the bucket. By the third series, Ryan was in great position to deliver short passes without the Cardinals defense sitting on the routes, hitting quick play action routes to the seams, flats, and on crossers to the likes of Harry Douglas and Devin Hester for completions that earned yards after the catch. Peterson continued to display a great holiday spirit, failing to get his hands on Jones until the fourth quarter and allowing reception after reception on fades, back-shoulder throws, and slants. Jones had 10 catches for 189 yards and a score against Peterson and the only mistakes involving Jones as a target came on a pick-six where Ryan attempted a deep slant that Rashad Johnson cut off and ran back 88 yards, and a near-interception where Jerraud Powers read Ryan's eyes and jumped Jones' short crosser at the goal line, but dropped the ball after a hard fall and the defensive play set up a field goal. Atlanta's offense still settled for five field goals in this game, so it's not as if the Falcons' offense has risen from the ashes this year. Arizona was still able to harass Ryan and induce some drive-changing plays. Ryan continues to look as he has all year, mobile enough to keep Atlanta's drives alive within reason, durable enough to take punishment, and accurate enough when there's a ground game to spread the ball around the field within 40 yards of the line of scrimmage.

2014 Week 14 vs GB (24 / 39 / 375 / 4 / 1 pass, 2 / 23 / 0 rush)

The Falcons quarterback had a huge game thanks Packer's porous defense, Julio Jones earning single coverage without pressed by a defender (beyond all reason) until the mid-fourth quarter, and Green Bay jumping out to a huge lead in the first half. Ryan's offensive line played reasonably well tonight, only getting sacked once in the second half and the quarterback earned enough time to repeatedly target Jones down field for big gains. Ryan notably got rid of the ball faster on deeper routes than he did to begin the season. A lot of this has to do with the opposition failing to jam Jones on vertical routes, but Ryan has also been accurate. Even with multiple touchdown passes, including short targets to Eric Weems on cross inside the five; a one-yard score to Roddy White; and a fourth-down, two-yard corner route late in the game to Harry Douglas, Ryan had his share of mistakes. He targeted Roddy White on a looping pass up the right sideline on a pick play on third down in the early second quarter, but Levine Toilolo didn't sell the pick enough and the officials called the foul and the pass was underthrown and nearly intercepted. Ryan also appeared ready to throw away a designed rollout to the right, but he hesitated and decided instead to throw the ball blind to Devin Hester and Morgan Burnett intercepted it, returning the ball to the Atlanta 20 with 6:30 left in the half. Ryan nearly threw another interception on the next series off a seven-step drop when the tackle tipped Ryan's throw while double-teamed and nearly caught the rebound. Ryan did an admirable job with Jones, and later Roddy White, Harry Douglas, and timely check-downs to his backs to get back into the game, but some of his mistakes were a big reason Atlanta was down in the first place.

2014 Week 15 vs PIT (26 / 37 / 310 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 27 / 0 rush)

The Steelers ultimately beat Atlanta because it took an early lead and the defense was able to pressure Matt Ryan with a lot of blitz looks. Despite not sacking Ryan in this game--unless one counts Jason Worlids' excellent sack and hit that the overly zealous officials made the mistake of penalizing as a personal foul and put Atlanta into scoring range--the Steelers got a lot of hits on the Falcons quarterback and punished Ryan. It was clear Ryan was feeling the effects by the second quarter, because he was very slow to get up throughout the contest. Even so, Atlanta had a sound offensive game plan, hitting its receivers with short perimeter passes against a decimated set of Steelers cornerbacks and giving the likes of Devin Hester and Harry Douglas room to earn yards after the catch, which they did frequently. These plays set up intermediate throws behind the defense for scores, including a Devin Hester touchdown on a well-placed seam route up the right flat near the end line and a slant behind the Steelers' secondary at the end line to Roddy White. Even so, the difference in this game was a first-half pick-six that Ryan threw because he rushed his delivery to Douglas on a deep cross while experiencing heavy interior pressure. Steelers corner William Gay undercut the route and weaved up the left flat for the touchdown. Ryan continues to perform well, but under trying circumstances.


Atlanta Falcons Team Links

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Staff Dynasty Rankings

QB Dynasty - 10, 6, 8, 18
Overall Dynasty - 65, 51

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