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.
Falcons QB Desmond Ridder completed 19 of 31 passes for 191 passing yards and a TD in Sunday’s loss vs. the Jaguars. The second-year player struggled with turnovers in the game, including a lost fumble in the fourth quarter and a pair of INTs. This is now the fourth game in a row that Ridder has failed to throw multiple TDs, and he really shouldn’t be considered outside of 2QB or superflex leagues in Week 5 against the Texans.
Falcons QB Desmond Ridder completed 19 passes on 32 attempts for 237 passing yards with 1 TD and 1 INT in Sunday’s win vs. the Packers. He also ran the ball 10 times for 39 rushing yards with 1 TD on the ground. The second-year signal-caller's fantasy day looks better in the box score than his actual play reflects. Ridder struggled for much of the first half to push the ball downfield. To his credit, both he and the Falcons’ offense fared much better to end the game. 4 of their final 5 drives (excluding kneeling the ball to end the game) extended at least 44 yards and resulted in a scoring play. Ridder will look to continue progressing in Week 3 on the road against the Lions.
Falcons QB Desmond Ridder has teammates fired up about his leadership heading into his second season. “When he talks, you listen,” TE Jonnu Smith told The Athletic. “Having leadership qualities is the most important trait you should have as a quarterback. He has that. He’s been coming in here and working his butt off. I have nothing but great things to say about Desmond.” Those words come from a seventh-year veteran heading into his age-28 season and in his first offseason with the Falcons. Others had similar praise for Ridder, who has not only led on-field work but reportedly been organizing events with teammates away from the field. All of this could mean nothing for his in-game performance. And Taylor Heinicke stands in wait as Ridder insurance. But all signs point to the Falcons hoping that Ridder will be their guy for at least the near future. He’s a fine late shot to take in superflex drafts. Check out his spot in our superflex rankings.
When asked about the team's QB situation on Tuesday, Falcons HC Arthur Smith shared the plan is for Desmond Ridder to open training camp as the starter. Smith also spoke about QB Taylor Heinicke, the former Commanders signal-caller who inked a two-year deal with the Falcons in free agency. "The chemistry in the quarterback room is important, as we expect Desmond to take the next step," said Smith. "But we also have [Heinicke] who can go in and win you football games and be ready to play." Reading between the lines a little bit, it sounds as though this could be a camp battle in which Heinicke would have an opportunity to win the job if Ridder slips. That said, we can't put too much stock into vague statements like this in late March. We'll surely have our attention on this situation should it evolve into something more into the summer. If nothing else, dynasty managers could consider throwing out some feelers to acquire Heinicke on the cheap in superflex leagues, but that's about all there is here.
The Falcons might already have their starting QB for 2023, if owner Arthur Blank's assessment is meaningful. "We're very excited about Desmond Ridder," Blank said this week, according to NFL.com. "I think from the time he came into training camp, he showed great capabilities as a leader amongst the rookies and then amongst the vets." We're not talking these words to signal that Ridder will definitely lead Atlanta for the coming season. But he's the current favorite to open Week 1, just by virtue of already being on the team. If you're taking the 2022 rookie in early fantasy football drafts, though, you shouldn't do so until late. The Falcons carry the 8th overall pick in the NFL Draft and could be in range for one of the top incoming QBs.
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