News & Analysis

Players with better PFF grades than fantasy outlooks

By Mike Castiglione
Jun 13, 2018

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Nov 20, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes the ball against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half at CenturyLink Field. Atlanta defeated Seattle 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

As anyone who has ever streamed Blake Bortles can attest, “the film never lies” is hardly a phrase that correlates to fantasy football. Notoriously one of PFF’s poorest-graded quarterbacks since entering the league, Bortles has finished between fourth and 13th among fantasy QBs in each of the last three seasons (it’s not just us, by the way – his career-best passer rating was 88.2 in 2015, good for 23rd that year).

Bortles isn’t alone, of course. So with that in mind, below are a few players for each position who are of more value to their respective coaches and teammates than to fantasy owners.


Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

2017 grade: QB2
2017 fantasy finish: QB14
2018 fantasy rank: QB16

Despite former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaving to take the head coaching job at San Francisco last season, Ryan still finished sixth in passing yards (4,095). Sure, his stats were off the pace from his 2016 MVP season, but Ryan did still manage to tie Drew Brees for the second-best overall PFF grade among QBs.

The biggest difference? His touchdown rate was slashed nearly in half, from a career-best 7.1 percent in 2016, down to 3.8 percent. While some negative regression was to be expected, Ryan’s 20 TDs were actually his fewest in a season since his rookie year. Despite the Falcons investing a first-round pick in WR Calvin Ridley, we project Ryan as a QB2 as he’s been for most of his career. Interestingly, he’s posted top-five fantasy finishes in 2012, 2014, and 2016.

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