Matt Ryan has been getting a lot of love or hate this off-season, depending on who you ask. I happen to be in the “love” camp. So when I saw this recent article lampooning him by Jordan Gingery over at Fantasy Sharks, I was immediately defensive. Jordan argues that, for a number of reasons, we have seen Ryan’s ceiling, and there’s no reason to expect more than his solid 2011 numbers from here on out.
I disagree, and I would like to make a counter argument to his, point-by-point.
Ryan’s schedule is noticeably more difficult in 2012.
Mr. Gingery argues that Ryan’s numbers are a bit inflated because he had an easy schedule come the end of 2011 and that his schedule is much harder in 2012. His first assertion is true, but his second is patently false. In an article I linked to a few days ago by Chet Gresham, it turns out Matt Ryan has the easiest schedule of all fantasy quarterbacks entering 2012.
I think many owners might get on-board with Matty Ice based on that fact alone.
The Atlanta Falcons offense has the same players it did in 2011, just older and equally as injury prone.
Jordan basically thinks Julio Jones is an injury-prone player unlikely to play 16 games, and that Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez are washed up. There’s some concern with Turner, true, but he forgets that a guy by the name of Jacquizz Rodgers is also a year older and wiser. He’s a dynamic weapon who actually adds another dimension in the passing game the Falcons have lacked with Turner. The oft forgotten Jason Snelling isn’t bad either.
Tony Gonzalez hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, so file this concern in the same place similar concerns are filed about Ray Lewis. Plus, it is his last season, so don’t you think he’ll be extra motivated to help his team make a deep run into the post season?
As for the Julio Jones is fragile argument, yes, he has a history of injuries. But fact is, he has a high pain tolerance that has allowed him to play through a lot of those injuries. Furthermore, he’s healthy now and has looked great this off-season.
And let’s not forget that Ryan still has another starting receiver named Roddy White.
Is Ryan going to throw the ball more in 2012? Probably not, since the Falcons threw the ball 594 times in 2011!
Much has been made of the Falcons’ new offensive coordinator, who brings a pass-heavy, no-huddle, explosive offensive system into Atlanta. Jordan doesn’t buy the hype though, since Ryan attempted the fourth-most attempts in 2011.
What Jordan misses here is the quality of those attempts. Fact is, Ryan will now be running an up-tempo offense that emphasizes explosive plays both downfield and in the screen game. Plus, this style of offense will have Ryan throwing more in the red zone, rather than turning Michael Turner loose every time they get in scoring range. Sure, Ryan probably won’t attempt more passes than he did last year (or not many more), but the fact is there’s evidence suggesting those attempts may net more yardage and scores.
Ryan could easily have more fantasy points this year than last.