Is Matt Ryan becoming must-start option? 

November, 29, 2010
The 9-2 Atlanta Falcons currently boast the best record in the NFC, and while wide receiver Roddy White and running back Michael Turner are the ones making the greatest contributions to fantasy football, certainly some credit must go to third-year passer Matt Ryan. I'm occasionally asked why I don't rank Ryan better on a week-to-week basis, especially for home games, and I generally answer that he's just not one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy football. His formidable career win-loss record at home notwithstanding, fantasy owners judge players statistically. So let's take a closer look. The question: When Matt Ryan plays at the Georgia Dome, should fantasy owners consider him a must-start?

Ryan is 19-1 in his career at the Georgia Dome after Sunday's impressive 20-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers; the last quarterback since 1966 to win 19 of his first 20 home starts in a career was Danny White, for the 1980-82 Dallas Cowboys. That said, Ryan's career statistics at home aren't exactly extravagant, with 29 touchdowns in those 20 games and an average of 217.9 passing yards per contest. Those rates/numbers are better this season, with 12 touchdowns in six games and 257 yards per game. If you, the savvy fantasy owner, knew you could get 250 passing yards and a few scores from your quarterback, you'd be confident in using him. Of course, Ryan has reached 250 yards and two touchdowns in only two of those six home games.

[+] EnlargeMatt Ryan
Dale Zanine/US PresswireMatt Ryan and the Falcons are 6-0 at the Georgia Dome in 2010.
Perhaps the timing of this blog isn't helping Ryan's case, because he produced only 11 fantasy points (197 yards, one touchdown) in Sunday's win, hardly a stalwart game for fantasy owners. Turner was the game's offensive star with 110 rushing yards and a touchdown, while tight end Tony Gonzalez caught the lone touchdown pass. Ryan is currently tied for 19th in standard quarterback scoring for the week, with the Monday night game still pending. The point here is that despite his home-field "heroics," there's just no evidence to suggest that Ryan is in the top tier of fantasy quarterbacks, even at home. If his numbers were better at home and he was still somewhat average overall, that would say quite a bit about his reliability on the road, too.