Nov 11,2009

Benching Private Ryan

A few weeks ago when I went to Chicago for my b-day, I was seated next to an adorable college kid. He was a senior at Boston College and the biggest Matt Ryan fan I have ever met. Within moments of exchanging pleasantries we were engaged in a multi-layered conversation about the Falcons’ QB and his growing fantasy potential. He was quick to point out Ryan’s monster rookie year while I was a teeny tiny bit disappointed in his good – but not great – ’09 stats. At the time, I acquiesced and kept the faith. After this past week, however, I’m thinking #2 just might fall victim to the much maligned sophomore slump.

After Ryan’s less than stellar performance opposite the Saints, I was expecting a comeback of epic proportions against the Redskins. Don’t forget that before their stumble at the Superdome, the Matt Ryan-Mike Smith-Thomas Dimitroff trilogy o’ domination had never lost two in a row. Given Ryan’s impressive work ethic, determination, undeniable talent, and obvious Catholic guilt, I figured he’d go off in Week 9. Boy, was I wrong.

Matt Ryan

In last Sunday’s game, Ryan had a 70% completion rate, which is pretty good… until you take into consideration that it was only for 135 yards. Ouch. In fact, in three of the past four games, Ryan has thrown for under 200 yards. Double Ouch. Last week against Washington’s highly rated pass defense, he had his worst week yet (with the exception of, perhaps, Week 3 against NE in which he didn’t score, but did pass for 199 yards).

Yes, Ryan did score a touchdown (and he also got picked off), but the bulk of the offense was quite literally carried by RB Michael Turner. Truthfully, the second year QB didn’t have to do much to earn a win. And while that’s great for Atlanta, it sort of sucks for fantasy owners.

So what do you do? Drop the amazing and record breaking Matty Ice? No, not at all. But you may want to draft a few backups OR propose a get-em-while-they’re-hot trade. Next week the Falcons travel to Carolina – who have the top pass defense in then NFL. I’m going to go out on a limb and surmise that The Burner will have another monster week, while our 2nd year QB does just OK. And as we all know, OK doesn’t win Fantasy Trophies (or much else).

Go and peruse your waiver wire. Do some homework and see who’s available. Alex Smith, David Garrard, and Josh Freeman are all very interesting options. Also consider putting together a trade to fill any holes in your roster. Depending on the depth of your league, you might be able to snag a stud RB or WR who can carry you in to the playoffs. Remember, Week 15 is around the corner and now is the time to start strategizing your Super Bowl Victory. Go get ’em… even if it means benching your sacred starter for just one week.