Over the course of the year, I’ve been penning a column looking at the fantasy football stud (Falcons player who had a great performance in fantasy football and did the most to help his fantasy teams win) and dud (Falcons player who largely disappointed in fantasy football), each week.
With the conclusion of many fantasy leagues after Week 16 (yes, I know that some leagues have their championships in Week 17 but those are fewer and further between), the column has come to a close for this season.
We can’t just leave it be the way it is, however. A fitting season finale for it is deserved, and that finale will come in the form of a stud and dud named for the entire season.
The Falcons largely disappointed this year, with injuries and questionable coaching paving the way for the first losing season in the Dan Quinn era.
With the offense ranking in the top 10 in yardage (and 11th in scoring, as of Week 16), however, there were a few worthy fantasy players who met or exceeded their ADP (average draft position) expectations, while there were a few who disappointed.
Fantasy Stud/Dud 2018 History:
Past Studs: Matt Ryan (4), Julio Jones (3), Calvin Ridley (2), Mohamed Sanu (2), Giorgio Tavecchio (1), Matt Bryant (1), Austin Hooper (1), Atlanta D/ST (1)
Past Duds: Austin Hooper (4), Mohamed Sanu (3), Calvin Ridley (3), Atlanta D/ST (2), Tevin Coleman (2) Devonta Freeman (1)
Season Stud - Matt Ryan
Stats: 4546 passing yards, 33 passing touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 118 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 2 2-point conversions, 5 fumbles lost: 325.64 standard league/PPR points
Julio Jones staked a very good claim to this honor himself, leading the league in receiving yards (1539) and finishing as the WR5 in standard leagues. Jones, however, had an ADP at around the turn of the first and second rounds of fantasy drafts, so that was expected.
What wasn’t as predicted was Matt Ryan’s explosion this season, following a year where he finished as the overall QB15 in fantasy. Ryan was largely overlooked in drafts — I suggested rolling the dice and taking him in the 10th, in an article back in August, and those who did end up with Mattie Ice in the double digit rounds were rewarded for it.
Ryan finishes a 16-week fantasy season as the QB3 in all of fantasy football. Patrick Mahomes (who was in a tier of his own) and Ben Roethlisberger were the only quarterbacks to outscore Ryan in fantasy football this year.
Ryan finished with over 30 passing touchdowns, single digit interceptions, a very healthy yardage total and a career high in rushing scores. He had a year in line with his 2016 season which won him the MVP award.
Devonta Freeman: 68 rushing yards, 5 catches, 23 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns: 9.10 standard league points/14.10 PPR points
It’s not Devonta Freeman’s fault that he never seemed to fully recover from his offseason surgery and that the problem compounded with more injuries. However, fantasy owners who made the second round ADP investment in Freeman don’t get a reprieve or a re-do on that pick, so Freeman is a no-brainer as the dud for the season.
Devonta Freeman appeared in two games all year, and he combined to score less than 10 total standard league points in those two contests. He didn’t have a start-worthy performance (of at least 6.0 fantasy points) in either game, and didn’t suit up for a single game outside of the state of Pennsylvania.
Austin Hooper was the most frequently named dud of the season with four selections, however he finished as a top 10 scoring TE in fantasy football this season (ahead of even Rob Gronkowski), with his performances just being largely hit or miss.
Hopefully Freeman is fully recovered and ready to go for next season.