Matt Ryan is wearing a new jersey for the first time in his career. He spent 14 seasons playing for the Atlanta Falcons but was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason. He leaves the Falcons with a chip on his shoulder, looking to prove that he still has one more productive season left before he hangs up his cleats.
Ryan is coming off his first season since 2010 that he didn’t surpass 4,000 passing yards in a season. He tied the second-lowest touchdown numbers of his career with double-digit interceptions. Gone are the days of Julio Jones in his prime, but Ryan is going to look to rely on a dominant run game from Jonathan Taylor to help set him up in the passing game.
2021 season statistics & fantasy finish
Passing: Ryan completed 375 of his 560 attempts for a 67% completion percentage. He threw for 3,968 yards with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Rushing: Ryan is far removed from being a rushing quarterback. He had 40 rushing attempts for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Fantasy: Ryan finished as the overall QB20 in fantasy with 234.8 fantasy points. He averaged 13.8 fantasy points per game, the 26th most on a point per game basis among quarterbacks that played in at least eight games.
Indianapolis Colts offseason moves
The Colts had three big offseason moves. In the first, they traded quarterback Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders for draft picks. After this, they acquired Matt Ryan from the Atlanta Falcons. The final move won’t affect fantasy football much, but they signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a two-year deal.
Indianapolis used its second-round pick on Cincinnati WR Alec Pierce and followed it up by selecting Virginia TE Jelani Woods in the third. They did re-sign tight end Mo-Alie Cox to a three-year deal, but they definitely made strides to improve around Ryan.
2022 best case scenario
The best case for Ryan is that he clicks in his new offense and develops a fast rapport with his new pass-catchers. Having Taylor in the offense should take the pressure off Ryan, and he has a good shot at getting back to 4,500 yards passing with an increase in touchdowns and a decrease in interceptions. If he can get back to the land of QB1s in fantasy football, it would be a best-case scenario for Ryan.
2022 worst case scenario
The worst case scenario for Ryan is that last season was just the beginning of his slide. Maybe his new offense on a new team doesn’t suit him, and he can’t pick up the offense on games where Taylor struggles. If Ryan finds himself throwing for fewer than 3,500 yards, throws fewer than 15 touchdowns and tallies at least 16 interceptions.
I think Ryan will bounce back, but not that highly. The offense should suit him with reliable pass-catchers and a solid tight end, not to mention that Taylor will likely rush for over 1,500 yards. Ryan should be able to adapt to his new team and have one more productive season. I think he will finish as a low-end QB1 in the 10-12 range with his new team.