Welcome to the new off-season series, aptly named ‘Final Fantasy’. In this series, Razzball will be focusing the spotlight on certain players that either exceeded or fell-by-the-wayside of our expectations, and we’ll briefly touch them with our thoughts, legally. Despite rumor (and the series name), we will not be discussing anything +5 to magic missile. Unless there’s actually a NFL player that shoots missiles. And has, like, an amulet to vitality or something like that. Michael Vick’s minus-98 amulet of dog-caring will be excluded in this particular instance. Regardless, let’s get to the spotlight for today, and that’s Matt Ryan.

ESPN Projections 402/610 4737 33/11 30 130 1
CBS Projections 408/611 4730 33/12 34 97 1
Razzball Projections 4740 30/12 105 1
2013 Actual Stats 439/651 4515 26/17 17 55 0

Starting in 2010, Matt Ryan had thrown for more yards and for more touchdowns in every season leading up to this last season. In 2010, he passed for 3,705 yards and 28 touchdowns. In the next season, he threw for 4,177 yards and 29 touchdowns (in 2011). You see that his passing yards had a significant jump (+472 yards). So, it was only natural that the fantasy football community had high expectations heading into the following season. Well, he did not disappoint with 4,719 passing yards and 32 touchdowns in 2012. Not only did we see another massive jump in passing yards (+542 yards), but he also finished in the top five for touchdowns. Those numbers had him finish as the 7th best quarterback in standard (ESPN) scoring.

Let’s take a look into the game log for 2013:

– Weeks 1-7 (6 games): 320.3 yards, 2.2 touchdowns & .5 interceptions.

– Week 8-17 (10 games): 259.3 yards, 1.3 touchdowns & 1.4 interceptions.

His total numbers in 16 games was 4,515 yards, 26 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Those numbers had him finish as the 14th best quarterback in standard (ESPN) scoring, and was a let down across the board.

In his first six games, he had four games with at least 304 passing yards and two touchdowns. You will not find one game that did not have him throw at least two touchdowns. With his per game numbers, he was pacing 5,125 yards and 35 touchdowns. Another stat that will jump off the game log is the interceptions (lack of). None of his first six games saw him throw more then one interception, and he was on pace for just eight. In this span of games, he had three games of 23 fantasy points in standard (ESPN) scoring. In these three games, his stat line was 356 yards, 2.3 touchdowns and 0.3 interceptions per game. It sure looked like Matt Ryan was on his way to being part of the “elite” quarterback (fantasy-wise) ranks.

In week eight vs the Arizona Cardinals, he started doing something that we had rarely seen in the first seven weeks. And that was throwing the football to the other team. Over the next four games, he threw a total of nine interceptions, and four of those came against the Cardinals. That was more than he had thrown in the previous six games combined. His worst game was the following week vs the Carolina Panthers. In this game, he threw for 219 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. The total fantasy points earned was a whopping six in standard (ESPN) scoring.

In total, he threw 14 interceptions over these 10 games. In fact, he had more interceptions then he had touchdowns (13). If you expanded his touchdown rate over 16 games, he would have only thrown 21 touchdowns. You would have to go back to his rookie year of 16 touchdowns to find a season with fewer. The last stat is that we saw a severe decline in passing yards. In four games, he threw for no more then 219 yards. Shoot, he only threw 671 more yards in four more games. Overall, these final 10 games was a steep downfall.

Unfortunately, Ryan will not have Tony Gonzalez as an option in the passing game, due to retirement. However, he will have a healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White at wide receiver. Matt Ryan has the ability and play-makers on the outside to give him an opportunity to find his way back to being a solid QB1 in 2014.


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