Note: Free agency and salary data is from

Atlanta Falcons (11-5; 1st in NFC South)


Matt Ryan – After one of the most impressive quarterback seasons in history, the Falcons’ season ended in utter and blatant despair. The world watched as the Falcons’ slowly bled away a 28-3 lead with a little less than one and a half quarters left to play in Super Bowl 51. Atlanta’s fall from a 25-point lead was like watching a train-wreck in slow motion while onlookers have zero power to stop the tragedy in motion. Now without their mastermind OC Kyle Shanahan and still licking the wounds from their failure in Super Bowl 51, Matt Ryan and Co. will have to pick the pieces off of the ground in 2017. Atlanta has a new OC in Steve Sarkisian and Ryan himself will have an extremely tall task of not necessarily repeating his greatness of 2016, but to at least remain a top-3 passer in the league in 2017 and beyond. Whether or not Ryan can maintain his efficiency is a totally separate question for another article—but there is no denying Ryan’s 2016 season was nothing short of epic. Starting from the top, Matt Ryan’s 10.1 adjusted yards per pass attempt blasted past his career average (7.4 AY/A) was the third-best mark for a single-season all-time. Ryan, too, posted a league-leading 7.1% touchdown rate and threw for 309.0 yards per game – by far a career-best. With Shanahan and an extremely multiple passing attack, Atlanta formed one of the most lethal offenses of all-time in 2016. Julio Jones, Tevin Coleman, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, and Austin Hooper all have two or more years left on their respective contracts while Devonta Freeman is signed through 2017 only. In theory, the Falcons’ can keep the same offense and carry over their multiple scheme into 2017 without Shanahan. Of course, Shanahan was one of the best play-callers in the league and Sarkisian and Matt Ryan have never worked with each other. With all of this being said, Ryan is a strong candidate to be over-drafted in 2017 fantasy leagues. Ryan had one of the single-best passing seasons ever, but 7.1% touchdown rates simply do not carry over year-over-year. While Ryan was the QB2 in fantasy points/game in 2016, his four prior finishes are as follows: QB7, QB19, QB11, and QB30. Ryan may have reached new heights as a passer and he’s certainly improved in virtually every category, history should tell us Ryan is a strong regression candidate in 2017. Ryan could very well post another top-5 quarterback season in 2017, but fantasy drafters will likely have to pay a fairly early premium and buy-high on Ryan coming off...