The Atlanta Falcons are ushering in a new era starting with the 2022 season. A year ago the Falcons finished with a regular season record of 7-10, which placed them third in the NFC South and resulted in another missed postseason appearance for the fourth straight season. It would also mark the final season with quarterback Matt Ryan under center for Atlanta. After a fourteen-year career with the team that drafted him first overall, Ryan was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason.
The move kickstarted a transition under center for the Falcons, who signed Marcus Mariota in the offseason and drafted Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder in the third round of the NFL Draft. Atlanta will look to the future as they head into the new season.
Falcons depth chart 2022
- Marcus Mariota
- Desmond Ridder
- Cordarrelle Patterson
- Tyler Allgeier
- Damien Williams
- Drake London
- Bryan Edwards
- Olamide Zaccheaus
- Auden Tate
- Damiere Byrd
- Kyle Pitts
- Anthony Firkser
- Younghoe Koo
Biggest offseason changes
When you make a transition at arguably the most important position in football it tends to be the most significant roster move. After trading Ryan to the Colts, Atlanta is effectively handing the reigns to Mariota. Mariota holds his first starting job since his days with the Tennessee Titans, after serving as the backup with the Las Vegas Raiders the past two seasons.
The Falcons also locked in their leading rusher from a season ago after signing Cordarrelle Patterson to a two-year, $10.5 million deal to remain in Atlanta. The team also drafted USC’s Drake London with the eighth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, making him the first wide receiver taken.
Conversely, the Falcons will also head into the new season with a few noteworthy absences. Their second-leading receiver, Russell Gage, agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason. The Falcons will also be without veteran receiver Calvin Ridley who is serving a season-long suspension.
Biggest question marks for fantasy football
Kyle Pitts finished as the leading receiver for the Falcons in 2021 and enters his sophomore season as their undisputed best player on offense. With Mariota now under center the question remains as to how much of a leap will Pitts take in 2022. He finished in the top five among tight ends in fantasy scoring as a rookie, but to build on that success will require newfound chemistry with Mariota in the pocket.
Speaking of Mariota, time will tell if he’s comfortable throwing the ball downfield consistently, which will affect the fantasy output of London as well. Patterson should still be heavily involved on the ground but given Mariota’s mobility, there is a chance that he could steal some red zone scoring opportunities throughout the season. And of course, there will be the underlying question regarding Ridder’s playing time.
Mariota was understandably signed as a transition quarterback, helping pave the way until Ridder proved himself ready to take starting snaps. If Atlanta struggles and is staring at a top draft pick in 2023, do the Falcons give Ridder some starting opportunities to close out the season? Could injuries play a factor in Ridder being on the field earlier than expected? The trajectory of the season will have an effect on multiple fantasy players but most certainly on the status of those throwing in the pocket.