Fantasy Draft Strategy: Quarterbacks By Platoon, Part 1 - Matt Ryan

Jason BraineContributor IJune 9, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 03:  Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass in the NFC Wild Card Game against the Arizona Cardinals on January 3, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Falcons 30-24.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

There is a chance that you might not land one of the top quarterbacks in this year's fantasy draft. Despite what some might believe, all is not lost. Taking a low end No. 1 QB can prove to be beneficial to your team.

Taking a low end No. 1 QB means that your other key positions have more depth, since you did not spend an early pick on a quarterback.

Last year if you drafted quarterbacks like Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler there is a good chance you went deep into the playoffs. 

The top three quarterbacks for last year are the same for this year.  The difference is the order they will be taken.  Last year's first was Tom Brady, second Payton Manning, and third Drew Brees. 

This year drew Brees is projected to be the No. 1 while Payton Manning is second and Tom Brady is third on most projections sheets. 

We will throw Tom Brady's season from last year out of this equation.  No one could have predicted that he would have a season ending injury in the first game.

Drew Brees was the top QB last year with 5,069 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.  Brees put up 370 fantasy points in a standard scoring league.

Payton Manning, who is projected to be the number two QB taken this year, had 4,002 yards passing, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions totaling 308 fantasy points in a standard scoring league. 

Philip Rivers, Jay Culter and Aaron Rodgers were all projected to be low end No. 1 options for the 2008 season. All three of these quarterbacks out performed the number two overall QB Payton Manning. 

Philip Rivers had 4,009 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and 11 interceptions totaling 316 fantasy points last year.

Aaron Rodgers had 4,038 yards, 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Rodgers ended up with 345 fantasy points last season.

Jay Cutler, had 4,526 passing yards 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, ending the season with 327 fantasy points. 

If you decide to go with a low end No. 1 QB this season as your first pick, he might not end up as big of fantasy studs as Rodgers, Cutler and Rivers did last year. So how about a quarterback by platoon strategy for the 2009 season.  But who are the best Quarterbacks to pair with the choice that you made?

In the upcoming weeks I want to take a closer look at schedules, bye weeks and a few history lessons so that you can already know who the best options are in a QB by platoon strategy.

Matt Ryan had an impressive rookie season leading the Falcons to the playoffs. Ryan had 3,440 Yards 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. For the 2009 season look for these numbers to increase. With the addition of Tony Gonzales at TE the Falcons could become a very high powered offenses this year.

Matt Ryan should be consider a low end No. 1 option at the QB spot. He will be about the 10th quarterback taken in most drafts this summer. This makes him a perfect candidate for a QB by platoon strategy. 

If you draft Ryan this year  as your number one option, you will probably start him more weeks than not. The week that you are guaranteed that you will need someone else to start is Week 4, the Falcons bye week. 

Other quarterbacks that have the same bye week as Ryan are: Kurt Warner, Donavon McNabb and Jake Delhomme.

Outside of the bye week the Falcons will play four teams that ranked in the top 10 against the pass last year. Week 7 they will play at Dallas (ranked 8th). In week 9 they play Washington (ranked 6th) at home. In week 12 the Falcons will host Tampa Bay (ranked 3rd). And, in week 13 they will play against Philadelphia (ranked 5th) at home. 

The two teams in this list that we can get a history lesson from are Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. 

Ryan has struggled against Tampa Bay. He has yet to throw a touchdown in their previous two meetings. In the first game Ryan had 158 yards and two interceptions.  The second game he had 206 yards and 2 interceptions.

Ryan did fare better against Philadelphia last season. Ryan had 277 yards with 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.

Looking at weeks 4, 7,9,12,and 13. My top choice to pair with Matt Ryan is Eli Manning.

Eli had his second worst season as a Giant in 2008. He passed for 3,238 yards, 21 touchdowns, 18 interceptions.  Last season for Eli was a tail of two halves as well; With Plaxico Burress and without.  The loss of Plaxico for this season puts him ranked as around the number 15 QB. Manning could fall further than that in some drafts.

Looking at Eli's Schedule in weeks 4,7,9,12,and13.

   Week 4   Kansas City Chiefs who ranked 26th against the pass last year.

   Week 7  Arizona Cardinals  who ranked 21st against the pass last year.

   Week 9 San Diego Chargers who ranked 31st against the pass last year.

   Week 12 Denver Broncos who ranked 30th against the pass last year.

   Week 13 Dallas Cowboys who ranked 8th against the pass last year.

Out of these matchups, week 13 against Dallas is the least favorable for Eli. However Dallas is a division rival, and they play in New york. Last year when these two teams met in New York, Eli had 147 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Also week 13 is when the Falcons host the Eagles. Last year in Philadelphia Ryan still produced good numbers. 

Other quarterbacks to consider when drafting Matt Ryan.

Ben Roethilsberger

 Week 4 San Diego Chargers (ranked 31)

 Week 7 Minnesota Vikings (ranked 22nd)

 Week 9 Denver Broncos (ranked 30th)

 Week 12 Cincinnati Bengals (ranked 11th) 

 Week 13 Oakland Raiders (ranked 10th)

Trent Edwards

 Week 4 Miami Dolphins (ranked 27th)

 Week 7 Carolina Panthers (ranked 17)

 Week 9 Bye

 Week 12 Miami Dolphins (ranked 27th)

 Week 13 New York Jets (ranked 29th)

Jay Cutler

 Week 4 Detroit Lions (ranked 28th)

 Week 7 Cincinnati Bengals (ranked 11th)

 Week 9 Arizona Cardinals (ranked 21st)

 Week 12 Minnesota Vikings (ranked 22nd)

 Week 13 St Louis rams (ranked 19th)


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