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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.

Schedule

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.

Offensive Weapons

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.

Dirk Koetter

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.

Link

Yet another nice follow-up to my post regarding the Do The Opposite (DTO) strategy is this article by Ryan McDowell at Dynasty League Football. He examines quarterback consistency by looking at what he terms “quality starts”. It’s a neat analysis that highlights the importance of targeting signal callers who consistently perform at a high level.

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Just following up from my last post about the Do The Opposte (DTO) debate, this little piece from Ian Burgess at Fantasy Sharks pretty much encapsulates the stud quarterback thinking of the day. Oddly, from another perspective, his argument gives some fodder to opponents of the stud quarterback approach: if nine of your league’s top-10 scorers were quarterbacks, why not wait for the no.6 or 7 guy and stock up on other studs?

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Everyone’s favorite Fantasy Douche, Frank DuPont, has a nice, short post that hits the nail on the head regarding a huge debate raging this season…

Are we in a new era of super dominant, elite quarterbacks?

Like the Douche, I am really split about this. I tend to lean towards the “not yet” crowd. We really need to see another season or two of data before betting the house on this assertion. Still, I lean towards taking a top 5 quarterback in Round 2 if one is there in drafts.

Link

I have some issues with Bleacher Report, most stemming from their obvious attempts at link baiting and ratcheting up page views with slide show style articles. All annoying and too commonplace among larger web publications. But I draw the line with the sheer amount of poorly written, poorly argued, fluff articles that they publish, and this recent one by Amy Streifer is the straw breaking this camel’s back.1

I can only assume that this article was published because it supports a player, Mark Sanchez, who is mired in an ugly, high-profile battle for his job and has little love from most in the football community. There are a lot of problems in this article, but the most glaring is the second argument (out of two) lauding his ability to “put up numbers”, when in fact she actually highlights some pretty poor statistics. Worse, Amy admits it!2

Some of the statistics could be better, especially the passer rating, and he must avoid interceptions in the future because this past season he was responsible for 18.

It gets worse…

Sanchez may not currently be viewed as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and there’s definitely room for improvement, but this upcoming season should be a standout one for the Jets starting quarterback.

And that’s how the argument, and the entire article, ends. Why should this season be a standout one for Sanchez? What evidence do we have that he’ll improve? What do you know that the reader does not? Amy never tells us.

There is at least some validity to her first point regarding his playoff and overall success as a “winner”. He does indeed have a decent record, but there’s an equally strong argument that the Jets’ defense won many of those games.

Here’s a look at Sanchez’s stats for the two playoff wis that Amy highlights as evidence of his winning ways:

  • Indianapolis Playoff Win, 2010 Season: 189 yards; 58.1 CMP%; 0 TDS; 1 INT; 62.4 QBR
  • New England Playoff Win, 2010 Season: 194 yards; 64.0 CMP%; 3 TDS; 0 INT; 127.3 QBR

Sanchez should definitely get some credit for the New England win. Although, Sanchez had a short field for two of his three touchdown drives (inside his opponent’s 50), and one could argue that this is more praiseworthy of the defense, the fact is Sanchez did take advantage of the opportunities. But let’s not kid ourselves about Indianapolis: the Jets won in spite of Sanchez, not because of him.

Sufficed to say, I have serious concerns about the quality control over at Bleacher Report: a pretty well-known and oft-read sports site. There are some great writers over there, many of whom I know and respect, but they are thrown into a mix of those who simply cannot put together a coherent, defensible argument. I think it would be great if the editors found a way to coach their weaker writers, perhaps using some of their veteran talent as mentors. As it stands, they are simply pushing out a lot of material that obfuscates the higher-quality nuggets that should be the standard, not the exception.


  1. To be fair, Amy appears to be an intern at B/R and is still learning. But shame on her mentor/editor, who should have intervened before this was ever considered for publication. 

  2. Tip: you should never make an argument where you agree with your opponent unless you have some good counter-arguments. In this case, evidence that he is improving would be a good approach.