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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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