I’ve rifled through the rolls of players in mock drafts, studied ADPs the way the NSA scrutinizes your cell phone data and have come up with five guys who have simply been forgotten by drafters.
These five guys are going to provide their owners with a tremendous return and prove to be exceptional value on draft day. They aren’t sexy names—no one will be envious of you when you selected them—but they will get the job done and allow you to have flexibility when it comes to your fantasy draft.
Matt Ryan is the first in our series of the Forgotten Fantasy Football Five.
Matt Ryan threw 26 touchdowns last regular season. That was good for 10th-best in the NFL.
You may have read those two sentences and thought, “so what?” But I wrote those sentences in amazement. Let me tell you why.
Matt Ryan played every single game in the 2013 season without a healthy set of wide receivers.
Roddy White suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason and was battling a Week 5 hamstring pull for several weeks afterwards. White’s sprain and pull were tugging back and forth on him for the first eleven weeks of the season.
White was nothing more than a decoy from Weeks 1-5, and sat out Weeks 7-9 (Week 6 was Atlanta’s bye).
Julio Jones started the season with a bang but departed in Week 5 with a thud. Actually, it was a break (foot bone), but what does it really matter. Either way, Jones was in sweats each of the final eleven games.
So that left Ryan with Harry Douglas as his No. 1 wideout most games.
And let me tell you, I like Harry Douglas as much as the next guy, but he ain’t getting Julio-type numbers. Hell, he’s not even going to come close to Roddy’s numbers.
Douglas saw career numbers in targets (133), catches (85), yards (1,067) and touchdowns (2). Like I said, he ain’t no Julio.
That’s why it’s shocking Ryan not only threw the 10th most touchdowns in the NFL last season, but he also logged another top-5 passing yards performance (his third consecutive season).
Savy drafters will key in on Ryan and reap the benefits of waiting on a quarterback, one who throws to, arguably, the best wide receiver tandem in the league.
And with the Falcons’ defense looking like it would be a pretty good defense in the Big Ten, Ryan has a top-3 pass attempt and top-5 passing yard-season on lock.
Don’t reach for Luck in the 5th when you can get more production from Ryan in the seventh round.