Matt Ryan 2022 Fantasy Outlook: Sneaky Upside as the Consistent Presence in an Ascending Colts Offense

Matt Ryan has the ability to give this offense the massive fantasy boost it needs.

To put it lightly, the Colts have been in quarterback purgatory since Andrew Luck shocked the world over five seasons ago. Somehow, the Colts have remained competitive despite a revolving door of mostly below-average starting quarterbacks. Subpar quarterback play has been propped up by elite roster building from GM Chris Ballard, but now it’s time for veteran Matt Ryan to bring stability to the most important position.

Carson Wentz’s horrific performance last year caused frustrations to boil over, ushering in the Matt Ryan era in Indianapolis. While the Wentz-Ryan swap was met with some disappointment from Colts fans hoping to land a more premier quarterback, such as Russell Wilson, reports were positive regarding Ryan’s minicamp performance. So positive, that I’m ready to say that the Colts faithful should begin to believe Matty Ice is the answer to their QB woes and fantasy managers should lock in Ryan as a priority “safe QB2” draft pick. 

PAST PRODUCTION

Ryan has been a very good real-life quarterback and an above-average fantasy quarterback for over a decade.

He has an MVP to his name and has seven seasons with over 17 FPPG, including two peak seasons averaging over 21.5 FPPG. He’s also very durable, AKA the anti-Wentz, playing 14-plus games in every season of his career. Not to mention, Ryan was on quite a tear last season before Calvin Ridley left the team.

The Falcons have had an up-and-down roster and below-average coaching staff for the majority of Ryan’s tenure (excluding Kyle Shanahan’s year and Julio Jones). It’s almost the opposite situation the Colts have had since 2016. The Falcons have had stability at the quarterback position and nowhere else.

I’m getting excited just thinking about the potential for Ryan to thrive on the Colts similarily to how he was able to elevate his game and the team during the 2016 season.

ASCENDING SURROUNDING TALENT

The Colts’ weapon cabinet will afford Ryan a luxury he hasn’t had since the 2016 season. He has a top offensive line, arguably the best running back in the league, and a set of receivers that are ready to break out.

Colts 2022 Fantasy Football Projections: Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman, Matt Ryan, Alec Pierce

Despite an underwhelming season from the offensive line, the Colts are ranked 10th by Pro Football Focus — with room to grow. The core of Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, and Braden Smith is as solid as any offensive line in the league. The hogs up front will also get a boost from Ryan’s veteran leadership, pocket awareness, and ability to get rid of the football — something that Wentz has struggled with throughout his career.  

Similarly, Jonathan Taylor should have an even better season due to opposing defenses having to respect the team’s passing game. It’s scary to think of what Taylor can do with a less-stacked box. Conversely, the strength of the running game will open up the play-action pass, Ryan’s bread and butter. Last season, Wentz wasn’t able to capitalize on the play-action windows that JT created, but Ryan will be sure to devastate defenses on crossing routes to his playmaking receivers.

Michael Pittman should benefit most from having a smart, accurate quarterback. Despite having an incompetent quarterback last season, Pittman was still able to snag 88 receptions for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. The sky is the limit for the third-year wideout with Ryan throwing him the rock.

Outside of the alpha, the Colts have a few question marks at receivers who are dripping in upside. They drafted speedster Alec Pierce out of Cincinnati, who brings an elite-level athletic profile to the receiver room. Parris Campbell is also in a make-or-break fourth season. He has the potential to be a YAC machine, but he’s been unable to stay healthy. The tight end room is also full of elite athletes, such as Mo Alie-Cox and rookie Jelani Woods. Health is vital for these pass-catchers, but if the upside is tremendous.

REICH ON THE HOT SEAT?

Frank Reich is starting to see his seat warm to uncomfortable levels after the Wentz debacle. Reich was the driving force behind the Colts acquiring Wentz and in retrospect, his confidence in the success of the pairing left a bad taste in the mouths of Colts’ fans and more importantly, Jim Irsay.

While Reich has had a strong tenure in Indianapolis, elevating less-talented rosters to Wild Card spots, the Colts also haven’t won a division title since 2013. It may seem rash, but Reich’s seat is hotter than it appears. The Colts roster is ready to win now and Reich wasted a year going on the Wentz rollercoaster. Reich knows that he has to do everything in his power to make Ryan look like a multi-year solution more than a one-year rental.

If Reich can’t make it work with Ryan and get the Colts offense humming to its full potential, he could be on his way out. That’s the sort of incentive that encourages a coach to get his quarterback to play to a high level.

SUMMARY

At the end of the day, Ryan is not an elite fantasy quarterback, and he never will be due to his limited mobility. However, fantasy players are so blinded by his lack of perceived upside that people forget that Matt Ryan can absolutely sling the rock.

Rather than being disgruntled by his inability to capitalize on Konami Code quarterbacks, relish the ability to punt on the QB position, and draft Ryan as a safe QB2 with true fantasy QB1 potential. The Colts’ offense is full of talent and embarrassed by their performance last year, it’s a great bounceback spot for the whole passing offense. Matt Ryan isn’t a sexy pick, but he’s going to outperform his 157 overall ADP (QB20) and have a strong weekly floor.

The Wolf is higher than the experts and currently slides Ryan in at QB16 on his 2022 Fantasy Rankings.

Author

  • I'm currently a college student with a passion for football and I strive to deliver the fantasy football takes that people need to hear. Strong advocate for hook & ladder plays in the NFL. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy!

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