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Fantasy Football News 2023

Most Recent Fantasy Football News & Updates

The Falcons have released QB Marcus Mariota. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the move saves the team $12 million in 2023 cap space. It's no surprise after Atlanta finished 2022 with rookie Desmond Ridder in the lineup. Will the former third-round pick open 2023 behind center? That may depend on whether the Falcons draft a QB with the eighth overall pick (or move up for someone). Mariota, meanwhile, hits the open market for the second straight offseason. He completed 61.3% of his passes at 7.4 yards per attempt across 13 starts last year. His 5.0% TD rate marked his best number since 2016, Mariota's second year in the league. We're not betting that a team will plan to start Mariota in 2023, but the 29-year-old (until Oct. 30) should land somewhere as at least insurance. That landing spot will determine whether he belongs on fantasy football rosters in any format. He should not be in your plans for current best-ball drafting.

Falcons HC Arthur Smith confirmed on Monday that rookie QB Desmond Ridder will take over as the starter going forward. He called the decision to bench QB Marcus Mariota "performance based," but added that Mariota is likely heading to IR with a knee injury. Mariota can be dropped from all redraft rosters. Ridder is unlikely to climb beyond QB2 status in Atlanta's run-heavy offense.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Falcons will start QB Desmond Ridder in Week 15, after this week's bye. The 3rd-round rookie has yet to play a snap this year, with veteran QB Marcus Mariota piloting Atlanta to its current 5-8 record. The Falcons rank a decent 15th in scoring but just 28th in total yards. It's likely a 4-game trial for Ridder to help the franchise know whether it needs to prioritize QB early in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft. It's tough to bet on strong fantasy stats from Ridder in his 1st NFL action. But he was an efficient college passer (87 TDs, 28 INTs) and effective runner (2,180 yards, 28 TDs rushing career). Ridder should be claimed where available in 2-QB and superflex leagues.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that Marcus Mariota will remain the Falcons' starting QB for the "foreseeable future." Atlanta still has a shot to make the playoffs, and it sounds like Mariota will remain under center until that's no longer the case. A source does tell Rapoport that the Falcons "love the development" they've seen from QB Desmond Ridder. There's still a good chance we see the rookie in the final game or 2 of the season.

Anyone with Falcons TE Kyle Pitts on their fantasy teams knows just how disappointing a 2nd season he's been having. QB Marcus Mariota says he carries some of the blame. "Well, first and foremost, I can do a better job of giving Kyle more opportunities with the ball," Mariota said Wednesday, according to "I think sometimes I've been a little too safe, a little too conservative where I'm putting the football, so giving him a chance to go get it. I think that'll help some of his target numbers." That acknowledgement could portend some extra opportunities for Pitts on Thursday night against a Panthers defense that Football Outsiders rates 28th in pass-defense DVOA. Mariota delivered 9.0 yards per pass attempt and a 71.4% completion rate in the Week 8 meeting with Carolina. See where Pitts sits in our Week 10 fantasy football rankings.

Falcons TE Kyle Pitts caught 2 of 7 targets for 27 yards in Week 9. And…we’re back to reality. After a huge Week 8, Pitts posted fewer than 5 PPR points for the 5th time this season. He dropped 1 pass, but the poor output wasn’t all his fault. He shook free for what could have been a 72-yard TD, only to get overthrown by Marcus Mariota. He was slightly overthrown on an end zone target later in the game, too. He’ll look to rebound against the Panthers in Week 10. Pitts posted 80 yards and a score against Carolina in Week 8.

Falcons QB Marcus Mariota attempted 13 passes in a blowout loss at Cincinnati. It’s official — nobody is more committed to the run than HC Arthur Smith. And with only 45 total offensive plays, it’s no surprise Mariota finished with just 124 yards and 1 score. His lone score came on a 75-yard deep ball to Damiere Byrd. Mariota added 31 yards rushing but remains a superflex option only. Next up is a home matchup with Carolina.

Falcons QB Marcus Mariota went 13-of-14 passing for 129 yards and 2 TDs in Sunday's win over the 49ers. He also ran for 50 yards and a TD on 6 attempts. The San Francisco matchup looked worse ahead of time than any other opponent before the Week 14 bye. So Mariota is potentially usable at any point during that stretch.

Falcons TE Kyle Pitts (hamstring) is out for Sunday's game vs. the Bucs. We'll see if he can make it back for Week 6. His absence leaves Parker Hesse as Atlanta's top TE, with Anthony Firkser behind him. Avoid that situation in fantasy lineups. The Falcons figure to lean on their run game for as long as they can on Sunday. When they do take to the air, WR Drake London should dominate targets.

Falcons TE Kyle Pitts had his best receiving line of the season so far, with 5 catches for 87 yards in Sunday's win over the Seahawks. His 8 targets led the team and accounted for 40% of QB Marcus Mariota's total pass attempts. The downside: Pitts saw his playing time decrease in 2-WR sets. He played in 64 of 74 such snaps through the first 2 games (86.5%). That rate dipped to 54.3% at Seattle, according to Pro Football Focus numbers. WR Drake London followed with 6 targets, the only other Falcon to draw more than 2. Mariota threw for 229 yards and a TD to London on his 20 attempts. He added a 1-yard TD on the ground in the 1st quarter.

Falcons QB Marcus Mariota was Atlanta's 2nd-leading rusher in Sunday's narrow loss to the Saints, taking 12 rushing attempts for 72 yards. That trailed Cordarrelle Patterson's 22-120-1 rushing line, but no other Atlanta player carried more than twice. Mariota even scored from 2 yards out in the 3rd quarter. That strong rushing line accompanied just 215 passing yards with no TDs. So Mariota will need to do more on the passing side to make him truly fantasy viable. But the rushing will be key if he is to work his way to starter consideration.

Ted Nguyen of The Athletic believes Falcons rookie QB Desmond Ridder is "mentally ready to handle being an NFL starter." Nguyen calls Ridder "a poised, polished prospect who played in a Cincinnati offense that utilizes many drop back concepts that translate to the pro game." He lauded Ridder's reading of defenses and decisive downfield throws in the preseason. Nguyen also acknowledged that the Falcons "seem set" on starting QB Marcus Mariota in Week 1. And it's worth noting that the veteran finished the preseason with the highest Pro Football Focus passing grade in the league (albeit on just 12 attempts across 15 dropbacks). Unless Mariota has the team surprisingly in contention, though, it would make sense for the Falcons to give Ridder a shot this season to see if he can be the future or if they need to pursue a 1st-round QB next April.

Falcons QB Marcus Mariota played just 13 snaps in the 1st preseason game, attempting only 2 throws (he completed both). He then gave way to rookie Desmond Ridder for triple the playing time in that one. Mariota played just 15 snaps in Monday night's 2nd exhibition, against the Jets, but he went 6-of-10 passing for 132 yards, 1 TD and a 137.5 passer rating. “I’m pleased with Marcus,” HC Arthur Smith told reporters afterward, according to Pro Football Talk. “He got into a good rhythm. The only drive I thought wasn’t very good was where we tried to simulate a two-minute situation, we got backed up and it wasn’t really clean there, but other than that I thought he was really cleaned when he was in there. I think he got into the offense, got into a rhythm, made a big-time throw.” Expect Mariota to hit the regular season as the starter. We'll see about Ridder's progression and whether he's in for a shot this year.

Josh Kendall of The Athletic says the "Falcons seem to have [Marcus] Mariota firmly penciled into that starting role now." He adds that he expects to see rookie QB Desmond Ridder get a shot before the end of the season. "Firmly penciled in" seems like deliberate language in that it points to Mariota being the heavy favorite at the moment -- but also that Ridder could change things if he simply outperforms the vet. We'll keep watching the competition, though the fantasy impact is minimal given what should be 1 of the league's worst offenses.

Falcons QB Marcus Mariota has been working with the 1st team in the first few days of training camp, per The Athletic's Josh Kendall. Rookie QB Desmond Ridders has been with the 2s. "Obviously, we’ve got a plan for each of them. Marcus is the starter,” QBs coach Charles London said. “I expect those guys to compete. Right now, Marcus is the starter, and he’s doing a great job.” Consider Mariota a comfy favorite to open the season as Atlanta's starter -- but there's still a good chance we see Ridder at some point.

Per ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, Falcons QB Marcus Mariota “appears to be far ahead” of QB Desmond Ridder. Unsurprisingly, Rothstein says it would be “a stretch” for Ridder to start the opener. Our current QB projections have Mariota for 12 games; the rookie for 5. Note that Atlanta’s bye week doesn’t arrive until Week 14.

Falcons HC Arthur Smith has been impressed by QB Desmond Ridder's football IQ. “He’s very intelligent,” Smith said of Ridder. “There are a lot of things that go into playing quarterback that we ask him to do. Behind the scenes, the things that he has done that have really impressed me are from the neck up. You’re betting on the physical things that you have seen at times to catch up, but he’s light years ahead of most young quarterbacks I have been with from the neck up. I will give him that compliment publicly.” QB Marcus Mariota will head to training camp as Atlanta's starter, but it sounds like Ridder is in position to push him for the Week 1 nod.

Falcons HC Arthur Smith left open the possibility that rookie QB Desmond Ridder gets some starts this season. “As with any position, the best guy is going to play,” Smith said. “With Marcus [Mariota] being the veteran, that’s the way it’ll go for now.” So Mariota will head to training camp atop the depth chart and should be considered the favorite to start Week 1. But it'd certainly make sense for the Falcons to get a good look at Ridder before deciding whether they want to dive back into the QB market in 2023. Ridder was the best player on Atlanta's board when they selected him 74th overall on Friday night. “There was never a time where Arthur Smith and I said we have to come out of this draft with a quarterback,” GM Terry Fontenot said. “He was the best player on the board at that time, and that’s why we took him.”

The Falcons selected QB Desmond Ridder in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. At 6’3, 211 pounds, Ridder’s on the thin side for the QB position. But his lack of special arm talent and inconsistent accuracy likely led to his slide. Still, he enters the pros with 49 career starts and the 3rd most QB wins in FBS history (43). The 22-year-old adds plus mobility, pocket poise and high character. He has a chance to make some 2022 starts, but Marcus Mariota will enter the summer as the clear favorite. Longer term, you have to like Atlanta's current 1-2 punch of Kyle Pitts and Drake London.

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