Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons offense has largely done their part for the team through four games. Ryan continues to play mostly mistake free while still creating opportunities for talented playmakers like Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Even lesser-known pass catchers such as Russell Gage and Hayden Hurst have gotten in on the action.
But while Ryan’s skills haven’t dipped, his individual performance has. With the former league MVP’s upside limited by his personnel and opponent, fantasy managers should consider pivoting to other options.
The Sit: Falcons QB Matt Ryan
Over the Falcons’ last two games, Ryan has just one touchdown and as many interceptions. That trend could realistically continue this week, as he takes on a Carolina Panthers defense that has held quarterbacks to just one passing touchdown in three of its four games in 2020. Ryan doesn’t offer much of a threat as a runner, but the Panthers have only given up 93 yards and zero scores on QB runs even if he did.
The potential absence of Jones could deal another blow to Ryan’s outlook. The All-Pro wide receiver has battled a troublesome hamstring this season and, after aggravating the injury against the Green Bay Packers in Week 4, missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. Jone could suit up without practicing, but Atlanta might prefer to take a more cautious approach after letting him back onto the field too early last time.
Note: Roster percentages from ESPN Fantasy Football Leagues on Friday, Oct. 9.
The Starts: Kirk Cousins (15.6%), Teddy Bridgewater (37.6%), Justin Herbert (29.6%)
Few starting signal-callers generate less enthusiasm than Kirk Cousins who delivered one of the all-time worst games by a quarterback just three weeks ago against the Indianapolis Colts (11 completions on 26 attempts for 113 yards, zero touchdowns, and three interceptions). Still, Cousins has a favorable matchup with a poor Seattle Seahawks pass defense and has developed a strong connection with rookie wideout Justin Jefferson over the past two weeks that could bear fruit again Sunday.
After many wrote off the Carolina Panthers offense in the wake of Christian McCaffrey’s ankle injury, Teddy Bridgewater has stepped up and lifted the passing game. Operating a quick passing game that largely focuses on throws 7 or fewer yards from the line of scrimmage, “Teddy Two Gloves” has found his rhythm, delivering three passing touchdowns and another on the ground over the past two weeks. With the undermanned Falcons defense next on the schedule, Bridgewater looks well-positioned for a breakout performance.
The Los Angeles Chargers finally acknowledged the inevitable this week, naming rookie Justin Herbert the starting quarterback moving forward. Herbert has impressed in outings against the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, nearly leading his team to upsets. Playing alongside a stellar group of playmakers — though Austin Ekeler just landed on injured reserve — Herbert looks primed for another shootout during this week’s tilt with the New Orleans Saints.