The Falcons will likely hand the keys to second-year player Desmond Ridder next season under center. However, that doesn’t mean he should be anywhere near a high fantasy pick. Team owner Arthur Blank recently stated, “We’re very excited about Desmond Ridder.” But the question remains, will he put up legit fantasy numbers next season, where he should be the starter in Week 1? I would say no. He didn’t light things up last season in limited action and he plays under Arthur Smith, who is a run-first head coach. Last season the Falcons ranked third in the NFL in rushing yards and they led the league in attempts.
If you look at the early futures odds at US-licensed sportsbooks, where there are a lot of betting promotions, you’ll see they aren’t giving much love to the Falcons, as they are sitting at 81/1 to win the Super Bowl next season.
Ridder was forced into action last season when the third-round pick out of Cincinnati had to take over for the injured Marcus Mariota. He played in the last four games and passed for 708 yards and while he only had two touchdowns, he didn’t have any interceptions. He has a strong arm and completed 63.5% of his passes but his season high was only 224 yards and in three of the four games he didn’t have a QBR over 52. We see him as a valuable depth option or for insurance for injury according to our Dynasty Rankings: The 2022 Quarterbacks Rookie Class, but not a high fantasy pick.
Will Ridder Be the Starter?
With the season just over, it looks like Ridder will be given the chance to be the Week 1 starter next season but there is a lot of time until training camp. The Falcons have the #8 pick in the next NFL Draft and while there are three QBs that are projected to go high in Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Will Levis all are projected to be off the board before the eighth pick. Atlanta may trade up but there haven’t been any rumblings about that to date. One intriguing option is Anthony Richardson from Florida because while he may be on the board when Atlanta picks and has a high ceiling, all draft experts agree that he needs to go to a team where he won’t play right away.
Mariota’s time with the Falcons is likely over, as he was a disappointment last season and it would be surprising if the team keeps him past the time where he will be guaranteed a $3 million roster bonus. Still, there are several legit QBs that are free agents including Derrick Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, Baker Mayfield, and Teddy Bridgewater.
Ridder has latent and a big upside but with his situation on the team, we see him as putting up QB2 numbers. He may be a good sleeper pick in the fantasy draft but not a high one, as he is not projected to put up big numbers, and with good reason.