Matt Ryan: Falcons QB Shines in Preseason Versus Cincinnati

Chris Peterson@@ThePPRExpertsAnalyst IAugust 16, 2012

Matt Ryan was sharp against the Bengals
Matt Ryan was sharp against the BengalsKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

For a while now Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been an under the radar fantasy football sleeper, but if he keeps playing the way that he did against the Cincinnati Bengals in his second preseason outing, then he may not be a sleeper much longer.

The Boston College product is blessed to have a very talented group of playmakers surrounding him, and it seemed that he was determined to get every single one of them involved in the action, completing passes to nine different receivers in just a half of football.

Ryan was extremely efficient against the Bengals, converting 85 percent of his pass attempts, as he went 18-of-21 for 174 yards to go along with a touchdown pass in the second quarter to fullback Lousaka Polite with 5:57 remaining in the first half.

In all, Ryan led the Falcons on three nine-play scoring drives. In the first quarter, the Falcons, down 3-0, tied the game on a 20-yard field goal by Matt Bryant after a nine-play 80-yard drive. Ryan’s touchdown pass completed another nine-play drive that covered an impressive 88 yards to tie the game at 10.

The 27-year-old also led the Falcons on a nine-play 55-yard drive that ended in another Bryant field goal to give the Falcons a 13-10 heading into the half.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, Ryan was extremely sharp in his outing and looked to be taking more chances downfield than ever before. And who can blame him when you have the likes of Julio Jones (three catches, 41 yards) and Roddy White (four catches, 54 yards) to throw the ball to on the outside, as well as Harry Douglas (three catches, 27 yards) and Tony Gonzalez (three catches, 44 yards).

Jones and White both had the look of No.1 fantasy wide receivers, and the seemingly ageless Gonzalez also looked like a TE1, even at 36 years of age. There is no question that many Falcons shined against the Bengals. but in the end, no one shined as bright as Matt Ryan, who is showing everyone why he might just be a top-10 fantasy quarterback in 2012.